Incorporating traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) together with scientific information for conservation management has increasingly been shown to be valuable, and Dr. Ella Bowles uses this wealth of knowledge to inform her research monitoring fisheries. Tying together TEK, and her knowledge of genomics and bioinformatics, she is working with the Cree Nation of Mistissini to monitor fish populations in Quebec’s largest lake: Mistassini. Ella utilizes tissue samples from walleye, northern pike, brook trout, and lake trout to investigate unique questions for each species. Questions range from investigating concerns raised by the community, to determining baseline biodiversity information to lay a foundation for future monitoring, to figuring out if modern genetic techniques can resolve stock structure better than historical, to assessing whether genomics and TEK can be used to arrive at common conclusions regarding the life history of a species.
Born on a mountainside in British Colombia, Ella came to the Fraser Lab from the west after working with stickleback for her PhD in Alaska. In addition to her work as an ecologist, Ella has been a strong advocate for access to education and science for people who are visually impaired. In her spare time Ella enjoys rising to new heights rock climbing and enjoying music and people through swing dancing.