The ECAB Team
Josh Kurek, Principal Investigator
I’m an Assistant Professor at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada. I lead the Environmental Change & Aquatic Biomonitoring (ECAB) Laboratory in the state-of-the-art Gairdner Building. My research program is interdisciplinary and includes aspects of aquatic science, paleolimnology, and monitoring of freshwater ecosystems. I am interested in research questions that contribute to understanding how lakes, rivers, and wetlands respond to stressors and how the structure and function of freshwaters has changed across time. One of my favorite job perks is mentoring undergraduate and graduate students and helping to develop their abilities, knowledge, and interest related to environmental science.
andrew labaj, Post-doctoral fellow
I am currently investigating the extent and impacts of microplastic pollution in the Saint John River. My background and research interests focus on the use of paleolimnology and paleoecology to understand the impacts of anthropogenic activities on the environment. Before arriving at the ECAB laboratory, I completed my BScH, MSc, and PhD at Queen’s University, with projects focusing on the impacts of fish introduction to lakes, recovery from acidification and metal contamination, and anthropogenic climate change. I am looking forward to participating in—and contributing to—the rapidly-advancing field of microplastics research in Canadian freshwaters!
Current ECAB Lab Students
Alexandra Di Lonardo, MSc Biology, 2019-2021
I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and completed my BSc in Marine Biology and Sustainability at Dalhousie University. After taking time off following undergraduate studies to explore career options and define my interests, I decided to pursue a MSc with a research focus on long-term environmental change and its accompanying ecological impacts in lakes from British Columbia, Canada. For my MSc research, I will use a paleolimnological approach to investigate potential drivers of benthic algal blooms in several remote watersheds of Vancouver Island. Additionally, I will study trends in dissolved oxygen within an important Sockeye salmon nursery lake.
Julia Campbell, MSc Biology, 2018-2020
I am from Summerside, PEI, and completed a BSc in Biology & Environmental Science at Mount Allison University. My MSc project investigates the long-term impacts of mink farming on lakes in SW Nova Scotia using a paleolimnological approach. Specifically, I study midge assemblages and their response to environmental changes, including deep-water oxygen declines. After my MSc I’d like to continue working on freshwater and/or marine ecosystems through monitoring and conservation efforts. Either way, you will find me near water and hopefully putting my dive certifications to use.
Jacob Demers, MSc Biology, 2018-2020
I am from Allumettes Island in western Québec. I am currently pursuing a MSc at Mount Allison University where I also completed a BSc in Environmental Science. My thesis focuses on investigating wetland senescence. The study area comprises dozens of restored wetlands in the Cumberland Marsh Region. I am investigating the relationship between macroinvertebrate assemblages and water quality as a function of wetland age. The findings of my study will prove to be transferable to the field of freshwater wetland ecology. My lifelong passion has always been geared toward preserving the environment on which we so highly depend. It is without a doubt that my future enterprises will incorporate this.
Links: [Personal Website]
Casey Doucet, BSc Env Science, 2019-2020
I am from Pictou County, NS, and pursuing a BSc in Environmental Science at Mount Allison, in addition to Fine Arts and Biology minors. My honours research in the ECAB Lab will examine microplastic uptake by freshwater mussels in the Saint John River, NB. Specifically, I aim to determine if the acquisition of microplastics on or within mussels varies in relation to ambient concentrations of microplastics in the water. Point sources of microplastics, such as waste water treatment plants, and non-point sources related to catchment characteristics will be integrated into my study design. The findings of this research will be valuable in determining if this emerging contaminant is retained in freshwater food webs at appreciable levels.
Amber Leblanc, BSc Env Science, 2019-2020
I am from Winnipeg, MB, and majoring in Environmental Science. For my Honours research, I plan to study microplastics within benthic invertebrate communities from the Saint John River, New Brunswick. My goal is to determine if microplastic concentrations within organisms vary based on amounts within the surrounding water and sediment environment. I also want to examine the relationship between point sources of microplastics, such as waste water treatment plants, and biological uptake of these contaminants. Ultimately, I hope to contribute to a greater understanding of how this stressor is impacting freshwater ecosystems and its benthos.
Allison Clark, BSc Biology/Env Science, 2019-2020
I am from the South Shore of Nova Scotia. I am pursuing a BSc in Biology with minors in Environmental Science and Geography. For my honours project, I will study the long-term ecological impacts of legacy contaminants from an abandoned gold mine in an urban area of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Specifically, I will use dated lake sediment cores to study zooplankton assemblages and their responses to contaminants such as arsenic and mercury, common legacy contaminants from historic mining activities. My goal with this project is to contribute to a greater understanding of the long-term effects that gold mines have on Nova Scotia’s lakes. I am also excited to work with collaborators from SMU and Dalhousie universities.
Abbie Gail Jones, BSc Biology/Env Science, 2018-2019
I am a fourth-year Biology major completing my honours thesis here in the ECAB Lab. My project seeks to quantify the community and size changes in Cladoceran assemblages of Nova Scotian lakes as affected by increased eutrophication from the surrounding mink farming industry. After graduation, I am looking to complete a Master’s program in quantitative ecology with an ultimate goal of completing a PhD to go into academia- but who knows what the future holds!
ECAB Lab Alumni
Abbie Gail Jones, BSc (Hons), 2019
Thesis: A PALEOLIMNOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION OF THE IMPACTS OF MINK FARMING ON LAKES IN SOUTHWESTERN NOVA SCOTIA
Cara MacKenzie, BSc, 2016-2018
Aquatic Biomonitoring Assistant
Amelia MacDougall Fleming, 2018
Aquatic Biomonitoring Assistant
Taylor Crosby, BSc (Hons), 2018
Thesis: MICROPLASTIC EXPORT NEAR WASTE WATER TREATMENT PLANTS IN NEW BRUNSWICK RIVERS
Marley Caddell, BSc (Hons), 2018
Thesis: PALEOLIMNOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION OF ORGANOCHLORINE IMPACTS ON BENTHIC INVERTEBRATE COMMUNITIES IN NEW BRUNSWICK LAKES
Caeleigh Marshall, BSc (Hons), 2018
Thesis: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LITTORAL CLADOCERA AND HABITAT IN ACIDIC AND CIRCUMNEUTRAL LAKES
Paul MacKeigan, BSc (Hons), 2017
Thesis: LEGACY EFFECTS OF DDT ON CLADOCERAN ASSEMBLAGES FROM NORTH-CENTRAL NEW BRUNSWICK LAKES
Zoe Armstrong, BSc (Hons), 2016
Thesis: INVESTIGATING THE IMPACTS OF ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE ON NEW BRUNSWICK LAKES USING CLADOCERA AS BIOINDICATORS
Margaux Daly, BSc (Hons), 2016
Thesis: USING CLADOCERANS TO ASSESS 20TH CENTURY CHANGES IN NEW BRUNSWICK LAKES