River Symposium “A River Through Time” | October 25-27, 2023
Abraham Francis is Kanienkehaka (Akwesasne) and Wakeneniothro:non (Deer Clan) from Akwesasne. He has a BSc in Microbiology, 2014, and MSc in Natural Resources, 2019, from Cornell University. Recently, they became a Ph.D. student at Clarkson University studying Environmental Science and Engineering. Previously, Abraham was the Environmental Services Manager for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. The position allowed him to develop and implement projects inspired and directed by community needs and influenced by his research interests. His research interests are at the intersection of environmental studies, Indigenous methodologies, community engagement, education, health, social services, law, and cultural foundations as a means for empowerment and healing within Indigenous Communities. He hopes to bring all his research interests and passions together within his dissertation, targeted at creating tools to support other Indigenous Communities to care for their environments from their biocultural contexts. Abraham has cultivated their expertise around their research and grown an extensive network of Indigenous Scholars/Knowledge Sharers, and Allies that carry a variety of expertise. Their expertise and network inspired the founding of the Aronia Collective, which seeks to align Indigenous Communities with experts to meet their unique needs and non-Indigenous organization to engage Indigenous peoples meaningfully.
Acacia is a PhD candidate at Carleton University in the Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory. She completed her undergraduate degree in Honours Life Science at McMaster University in 2019, and then went on to do a Master’s degree at Carleton in 2020. She is passionate about the environment, science communication and environmental stewardship.
Adeyemi, an Assistant Professor at York University’s Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, is a dedicated researcher with a profound fascination for the intricate dynamics of fluvial processes, extreme events, and sociohydrology. His unwavering passion lies in understanding the profound impact of human activities on river systems. He is committed to safeguarding the vitality of our precious river ecosystems.
Althea is a second year student studying biology at the University of Ottawa. She is passionate about the connections we create, and erode, when we interact with our natural world. Her particular interests are species distribution, population genetics, and biodiversity. Althea wants to research the future conservation of natural ecosystems by nurturing sustainable human interaction with the environment. By educating people who want to learn, Althea aspires to expand environmental consciousness.
Amber Abrams has more than 15 years’ experience in field research (environmental and medical anthropology), public health policy and research, and just as many years of experience teaching and supervising in higher education. She is currently a multidisciplinary research fellow at the University of Cape Town Future Water Institute, where she leads a number of projects across a wide range of disciplines, for example one explores health vulnerability to extreme weather events, and another aims to create ‘A Museum of Watery Relations and Values’.
Arman Haghighi is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Ottawa, specializing in Civil Engineering. With a foundational background in Civil Engineering and a Master’s in Environmental Engineering from the University of Tehran, Arman has accumulated diverse work experience in the civil and coastal sectors. Over the years, he has contributed to various projects, ranging from construction and design to in-depth coastal studies. Currently, as a consultant, Arman is channeling his expertise to address the challenges posed by ship-induced waves on bank erosion, particularly along the St. Lawrence River. Beyond his technical endeavors, Arman holds a deep appreciation for the environment and is committed to promoting sustainable solutions for our waterways.
Barry is a researcher with over 20y of experience in animal physiology, biology, ecotoxicology and environmental science. Barrys work aims to understand how changing environmental conditions and contaminants are impacting the resistance and resilience of local aquatic biodiversity. To do so he uses interdisciplinary approaches rooted in molecular, cellular and endocrine underpinnings using animal models. Barrys research laboratory focuses mainly on fish but also on aquatic research at large, including environmental nucleic acids (eNAs), cyanobacteria, algae, and invertebrates. Current research is focused on local watersheds in Western Manitoba, including the City of Brandon and the surrounding areas of the larger Assiniboine River basin.
Benjamin J. Kapron
Benjamin J. Kapron is a Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Studies at York University. He is exploring how he might develop and inform his decolonial and ethical praxes, as a settler, through understanding Land to be a decolonial agent and teacher. Ben’s research is interdisciplinary, bringing Indigenous Studies and Settler Colonial Studies into conversation with Environmental Humanities, including Environmental History and Environmental Philosophy. He holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from York University, and an Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto, where he majored in Zoology and Philosophy. Ben’s Ph.D. research is supported by an SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship.
Bo-jian completed his B.Sc. in Pharmacy and Psychology at Wuhan University and Huazhong Normal University, respectively. He did his master’s in aquatic biology at Chongqing Normal University and graduated with a Ph.D. in Ecology at Beijing Normal University in China. He is interested in understanding the physiological and behavioural strategies of animals (fish, turtles and rodents) to environmental stressors and interactions between native and invasive species. He is also interested in the impact of human activity and climate change on biodiversity in the aquatic ecosystem. His current research aims to integrate GIS, niche modelling and sedimentary environmental DNA to monitor species of concern and assess amphibian diversity.
Britney is the Environmental Projects and Remedial Action Plan Coordinator for the Northern portion of Akwesasne. Before joining the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Britney worked for local conservation authorities and angling/hunting agencies. She has helped develop and deliver a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial environmental projects, and is looking forward to incorporating this knowledge into future initiatives in Akwesasne.
Charles Levkoe is the Canada Research Chair in Equitable and Sustainable Food Systems, a Member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada, Director of the Sustainable Food Systems Lab, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Lakehead University. His community engaged research uses a food systems lens to better understand the importance of, and connections between social justice, ecological regeneration, regional economies and active democratic engagement.
Charlotte is a Data Specialist at DataStream, The Gordon Foundation. She completed her Master’s degree in Biology at the Université de Montréal in 2022 and is based in Montreal, Quebec. Charlotte is passionate about environmental education, collaborative science and open data. She collaborates with water monitoring groups to share water quality data through DataStream, a free open-access platform for sharing and accessing water quality data collected by groups across Canada.
Chloe is the Natural Edge Program Manager at Watersheds Canada. She graduated in 2013 with an honour’s degree in Environmental Biology and Technology from Nipissing University and has a diploma from Canadore College in the Environmental Technician – Protection and Compliance Program. Chloe joined the team at Watersheds Canada in 2015 and now manages the Natural Edge Program, working with landowners, municipalities, and partner organizations across Canada to create resilient shorelands to better withstand the impacts of climate change.
Christine Beaudoin is an assistant professor in transdisciplinary research methods and intervention at the Université de l’Ontario français (Toronto). She was a postdoctoral fellow at Carleton University in the Department of Biology. She has a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Ottawa and a Master’s in anthropology. She studies relations between humans and non-humans in ecological systems. Christine mobilizes mixed methods to study collaborative processes in research, management and governance related to the environment. She works with a variety of methods including qualitative interviews and observation, collaborative workshop facilitation, survey design and analysis, expert elicitation and network analysis.
Courtney Holden, Ph.D., is a Research Scientist at the River Institute whose work primarily focuses on experimental field biology in the upper St. Lawrence River. She currently leads projects on understanding the impact of dams on American Eels, acoustic telemetry, climate impacts on nearshore water temperatures, and monitoring of mercury levels in fish as part of the Cornwall Sediment Strategy. Courtney is also a Freshwater Ecology instructor at St. Lawrence College.
Cristina got her B.Sc. in Marine Biology at the Université du Québec à Rimouski. She completed an M.Sc. in Aquatic Ecology from Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). She joined the River Institute as the Education Coordinator in 2015. In addition to working at the River Institute, she is currently a Ph.D. candidate at UQAM in Dr. Alison Derry’s lab in partnership with the River Institute. Cristina’s Ph.D. research addresses the impacts of invasive species on the St. Lawrence River food web. Her favourite workshops are Fish Ecology and Aquatic Invertebrates. In her free time, you will find Cristina out fishing, playing with her dog or reading.
David Bruce Conn
Dr. David Bruce Conn is a Gund Professor of Biology at Berry College near Atlanta, USA and Associate of Invertebrate Zoology at the Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology. He is a Senior Scientific Advisor for the U.S. State Department and serves on editorial boards of several international scientific journals. He has been president of three international scientific societies and is currently Vice President of the global INVASIVESNET organization. Conn’s research on the St. Lawrence River began in 1985 and continues today as he studies topics ranging from waterborne microbial pathogens to the biology of native and invasive insects, molluscs and parasitic worms.
Erin is a freshwater ecologist, she completed her Ph.D. in the Kirkwood Lab at Ontario Tech University in 2022. Erin currently works at the River Institute as a postdoctoral researcher, she is working on the Great River Rapport project – a holistic ecosystem health report on the upper St. Lawrence River. Within the Great River Rapport, Erin is working on technical reports for the nutrients (N & P), benthic macroinvertebrate diversity, and zebra + quagga mussel’s indicators. Erin is passionate about the environment, science communication and working collaboratively.
Fan Qin has been working as a Research Scientist at the St. Lawrence River Institute since 14 Dec. 2022 for the technical report on the temporal trends of contaminant levels in herring gulls and its comparison to the great blue heron in the St. Lawrence River. He completed his Ph.D. in environmental science at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivieres (UQTR) with a project concerning the roles of zooplankton in mercury cycling in boreal lakes. Fans’ wider research interests include the cycling of various metallic and organic pollutants in a changing environment and the co-transfer of organometallic pollutants and fatty acids in the food webs in aquatic ecosystems.
Georgia is the Remedial Action Plan Coordinator at the River Institute. She has a B.A. in Geography with a minor in Biology and has spent several years working in the environmental field. In her role, she works closely with various organizations to protect and restore the St. Lawrence River. She is originally from North Glengarry, Ontario and enjoys spending her time outdoors.
Hanna is a 4th year Marine and Freshwater Biology Co-op student at the University of Guelph, currently working as a Research Technician at Environment and Climate Change Canada under Dr. David Depew. She is interested in aquatic ecosystems, ecology and conservation. Hanna is looking to pursue graduate school after completing her undergraduate degree next year.
Haolun (Allen) Tian
Allen is a 3rd year Ph.D. candidate supervised by Dr. Stephen Lougheed and Dr. Yuxiang Wang in the Department of Biology at Queen’s University. His project uses environmental DNA metabarcoding to examine relationships between invasive mollusk species, biodiversity, and algal blooms. He is broadly interested in developing molecular techniques in ecological monitoring and examining interactions between invasive species and the environment. In his spare time, Allen is a drone pilot, photographer, and creates 3D prints.
Isaac is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate at Queen’s University. His research focuses on the effects of cumulative anthropogenic stress on invertebrate dynamics in Great Lakes Areas of Concern. Specifically, he uses sediment cores to understand how invertebrate communities have changed both temporally and spatially to assess ecosystem recovery and inform management outcomes. Isaac has been involved with the River Institute and studying contaminated sediments in the Cornwall waterfront since the summer of 2019. He also enjoys rock climbing, craft beer, and hanging out with his cat.
Jamie is a Master’s student at Carleton University working under the supervision of Dr. Steven Cooke and Dr. Andy Danylchuk. Her research centers around recreational fisheries and best practices in catch-and-release fishing, specifically looking at barotrauma mitigation techniques for freshwater fish. She completed her undergraduate degree in Wildlife biology at McGill University in 2022.
John Pineau is the Executive Director of the Ontario Woodlot Association and Eastern Ontario Model Forest. John has worked in several leadership roles across the Canadian forestry sector including FPInnovations, the Canadian Institute of Forestry (CIF), Tembec Inc., Millar Western Forest Products Ltd., and the MNR. John has a BSc. in Biology from Trent University and a diploma in GIS Application Development from Fleming College. He volunteers his time on the board of multiple forestry organizations and enjoys golf, canoeing, and strumming his guitar around the campfire in his family’s backyard near Mattawa, Ontario.
Jordan is a 2nd year PhD candidate at Queen’s University under Dr. Tassos Anastassiades and Dr. Daniel Lefebvre where she is doing her thesis on the mass production of chemically altered medical compounds in plants. She did her MSc in bioremediation at Queen’s under Dr. Daniel Lefebvre and Dr. Yuxiang Wang on cyanotoxin bioremediationm, which is what she will be presenting on. She was also fortunate enough to do her undergraduate degree at Queen’s where she did her thesis on plant biochemistry under Dr. William Plaxton.
Dr. Jyoti Verma, an Assistant Professor at CMP Degree College, Allahabad, holds an MSc and a PhD in Zoology from the University of Allahabad. She specializes in Environmental Science and focuses her research on the river ecology of the Ganga in the Himalayas and Bundelkhand-Malwa Plateau. Her diverse interests encompass E-flows, Diatom biogeography, Biomonitoring, and Water Quality Monitoring. Dr. Verma’s remarkable contributions have earned her numerous accolades, including the UGC-Women PDF Fellowship, CSIR-International Travel Fellowship, and Young Scientist awards. She boasts a prolific research record with over 40 publications and has presented extensively at National and International seminars. As a dedicated member of prestigious scientific societies, she serves as a reviewer and an editorial board member. Dr. Verma is also actively engaged in supervising PhD students and managing research projects funded by UGC and UPCST.
Karen Douglass Cooper
Karen is an environmental communicator and advocate for positive change. She began her career in communications and outreach with the Canadian Coast Guard and has subsequently worked with and for a variety of municipal, provincial, federal and tribal government departments and agencies in both Canada and the United States. Karen has specialized in community outreach, environmental education, and capacity building focusing on freshwater protection throughout the upper St. Lawrence River Watershed. She has worked to build a collaborative of knowledge holders to establish the Great River Network, the St. Lawrence River Cleanup, Science and Nature on Tap, Fresh Water and Shoreline Education Workshops, and the Akwesasne River Forum.
Kathleen Vaughan (MFA, PhD) is an artist-researcher who integrates visual art and storytelling in studio- and community-based projects on social and environmental themes related to the dynamic ecosystems of rivers, forests and skies. Kathleen leads the interdisciplinary multi-year arts-science research project, Learning With the St. Lawrence, which explores the River as environmental entity and imaginary, via artists’ works and community outreach. Initially trained as an artist in painting, drawing and photography, she is increasingly promoting sustainable art-making and earth-friendly materials choices. Her own practice now emphasizes textiles both to explore diverse cultural and industrial histories and to create art that can eventually ‘rot’ – subside into the earth with limited environmental footprint. A lifelong knitter, Kathleen is also exploring wool as a sustainable, beautiful material that can improve our lives and our world. She holds the Concordia University Research Chair in Art + Education for Sustainable and Just Futures, is Professor of Art Education and feels happiest with her hands in materials, walking wildish pathways with her standard poodle, and collaborating with others for the love of our beautiful planet.https://www.akaredhanded.com/ and http://re-imagine.ca/
Kristen is Assistant Professor in the School of Environmental Studies at Queen’s University. Her community-engaged research program is oriented around building just and sustainable food systems in rural and coastal settings.
Larissa Holman is the Director of Science and Policy with Ottawa Riverkeeper. She enjoys the challenge of understanding complex river systems such as the Ottawa River and learning about the watershed collaboratively with other freshwater organizations, Algonquin Communities, various authorities, researchers, and community scientists. She feels strongly that helping to build a stronger insight of rivers and watersheds is a key way to engage with people and encourage action that protects water and waterways. Larissa holds a BSc.H in Environmental Science from Concordia University and a Masters in Resource and Environmental Management from Dalhousie University.
Laura Mantz (she/her)
Laura Mantz is the Sustainability Associate with the Office of Sustainability at Western University in London, Ontario. Her work focuses on engaging with the campus community (students, staff, and faculty) across all the areas of sustainability. She received her Master of Environment and Sustainability in 2021 from Western University where she was able to apply her studies to focus on social sustainability and eventually apply her learning to the work she does today.
Lawrence Gunther is a conservationist, outdoor writer, podcaster, blogger, film maker and TV personality. Having earned his master’s in environmental studies from York University, Lawrence went on to establish the charity Blue Fish Canada, dedicated to conserving Canada’s water quality and fish health. Despite being registered blind at age eight, Lawrence has leveraged his visualisation and storytelling skills to open people’s minds to Canada’s underwater worlds. His work has been recognized with numerous awards including the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal.
As the former Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper, Lee collaborated closely with other freshwater advocacy organizations and elected officials throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Region advocating for Plan 2014, a new water levels management plan for Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River to protect these unique waters. In 2016 Lee was named a Freshwater Hero as a Citizen Advocate by Freshwater Future for “persistent and passionate advocacy on complex policy issues.” He remains actively involved in efforts to protect the St. Lawrence, serving on the Steering Committee for the St. Lawrence River Institute’s River Strategy collaboration and as a member of the Great River Network. He is also counsel to the New York State Tug Hill Commission. He serves on the board of Talking Rivers, a not-for-profit working to secure defendable rights for the St. Lawrence River, its tributaries and watershed. Acknowledging that rivers have a right to exist, to be free of pollution, and to evolve naturally is to accept responsibility to do everything we can to protect those rights, a responsibility he is proud to accept and work to fulfill.
Leigh is an ecologist who currently leads the ‘Great River Rapport’ – an ecosystem health report on the Upper St. Lawrence River. Leigh’s career started as a biologist working on krill in Antarctica, invasive mussels in Africa, and shellfish in Australia. A Phd in ecological modelling in Canada was followed by a postdoctoral fellowship with the European Commission in Italy as a Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Analyst. Work with the Commission involved developing ecological indicators for conservation and fisheries initiatives combining satellite remote sensing with ecological models. Leigh’s global perspective though past work experience in research and government agencies is now rooted locally in eastern Ontario, and along with an exceptional team, is now focussed on making scientific findings accessible to the public through the Great River Rapport project.
Loren Michael Mortimer
Loren Michael Mortimer is a historian, digital humanist, and community-engaged scholar. He currently holds the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in Native American History at Emory University. With intersecting research interests in Native American history, early American studies, political ecology, historical GIS, and transnational border studies, Mike’s interdisciplinary scholarship centers on histories of Indigenous survivance and sovereignty rather than decline and dependence within historically colonized spaces. He received his PhD in History with a designated emphasis in Native American Studies from the University of California, Davis in 2019.
Lucas completed his Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Waterloo in 2021. Currently, Lucas is a MSc (Biology) student at Carleton University. Lucas’ research interests fall under the broad category of conservation policy, specifically in species at risk legislation, illegal wildlife trade, and private land conservation. Lucas’ current research focuses on engaging with private landowners to identify how land management can be optimized to support the conservation of species at risk in Ontario.
Mackenzie Wylie-Arbic is a Research Assistant at the St. Lawrence River Institute. Starting in this position in the summer of 2021, she had just completed her Bachelor of Science at Queen’s University with a specialization in Environmental Biology. Her knowledge and curiosity for freshwater species/interactions grew as she was a part of the Fish Identification Nearshore Survey (FINS) and had the chance to observe and document the varying habitats along the Upper St. Lawrence River. Mackenzie is currently working as a researcher for the Great River Rapport, focusing on fish populations and invasive species ecology in the river. In addition, Mackenzie is also involved in communications and outreach to aid in broadening public knowledge on River Institute projects. Her passion for the environment is not limited to work as she uses any opportunity to spread awareness on individual action and innovative solutions to influence others to make positive change.
As the National Director of Science, Education and Planning for Ducks Unlimited Canada, Mark oversees DUC science activities across Canada. Prior to assuming this position, Mark oversaw the delivery of the conservation actions of DUC in the six eastern provinces and BC.
Matt Windle is a biologist with experience in environmental science, freshwater ecosystem ecology, spatial analyses, contaminant analyses, and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). He completed a BSc in environmental science from Queen’s University, and a M.Sc. in Biology at Memorial University of Newfoundland. In addition to his work as a Research Scientist at the River Institute, he is also a professor in the Environmental Technician Program at St. Lawrence College. Matt possesses certifications for open water SCUBA, the Ontario Stream Assessment Protocol (OSAP), Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) fish identification workshops, advanced operations and flight reviewer status for RPAS from Transport Canada, and the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System (OWES).