Current students (jump to past students or MSc interns)
Élisée Emmanuel DABRÉ
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) form a symbiosis with nearly 80% of plant species in a win-win partnership; they are sometimes used as living fertilizers in agricultural systems because of their effects on plant growth and nutrition. By modifying the physiology and chemistry of plants, the fungus can indirectly influence higher trophic levels, in particular the performance of phytophagous insects and their natural enemies (parasitoids and predators), pollinating insects, and more generally the composition of the insect community in ecosystems. Élisée’s PhD project is to measure the effects on insect diversity in an agricultural system inoculated with AMF. He will (i) make an inventory of insects on carrot and soybean inoculated with AMF in the field; (ii) evaluate the effects of AMF on the soybean aphid, Aphis glycines Matsumura and (iii) assess the impact of AMF on predators and parasitoids of the soybean aphid.
- Dabré ÉE, Lee SJ, Hijri M, Favret C. 2021. The effects of mycorrhizal colonization on phytophagous insects and their natural enemies in soybean fields. PLoS ONE, 16(9)(e0257712): 15 pp. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0257712
For her MSc project, Malek is developing high-throughput DNA barcoding methods to treat hundreds of specimens at a time. In particular, so-called next-generation sequencing methods allow the treatment of a mixture of liquid samples and then the later de-multiplexing of the sequences on the computer (in silico). These methods will be useful to Malek to quantify and compare the insect diversity of different habitats.
Adwa ABDOU ALI
Date palm cultivation is a national agricultural priority in Djibouti but, new palm plantations have been subject to a growing number of pest species of insects and mites. Adwa’s MSc project saught to evaluate and compare the insect fauna of Djibouti’s traditional and modern date palms. She found that modern, monocultural palm groves harbour more potentially harmful insects specialists of date palm, but that traditional, polycultural palm groves harbour a greater abundance of generalist potential pests. She also studied the diversity of beneficial insects in the two types of orchards. There, the results were more nuanced, but she still found that the Hymenoptera communities of monocultural palm groves were more homogeneous among themselves than those of traditional palm groves. Adwa’s thesis is available on Papyrus.
Thomas’s PhD dissertation examines the evolution and speciation of Essigella, an aphid genus found on conifers, especially true pines. All the species are North American, but one, Essigella californica (Essig), is now established in several other countries causing significant loss in plantations. Among other methods, Thomas used mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data, as well as that of the obligate bacterial symbiont, Buchnera aphidicola (Wikipedia). He finished in 2018 with three nice publications, but along they way, Thomas also distinguished himself in many ways, including winning the University of Montreal’s Chancelor’s prize for excellence in teaching.
- Théry T, Kanturski M, Favret C. 2018. Molecular data and species diagnosis in Essigella Del Guercio, 1909 (Sternorrhyncha, Aphididae, Lachninae). ZooKeys, 765: 103-122. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.765.24144
- Théry T, Kanturski M, Favret C. 2018. Molecular phylogenetic analysis and species delimitation in the pine needle-feeding aphid genus Essigella (Hemiptera, Sternorrhyncha, Aphididae). Insect Systematics and Diversity, 2(4):1;1-15. DOI: 10.1093/isd/ixy006
- Théry T, Brockerhoff EG, Carnegie AJ, Chen Rui, Elms SR, Hullé M, Glatz R, Ortego J, Qiao Gexia, Turpeau É, Favret C. 2017. EF-1α DNA sequences indicate multiple origins of introduced populations of Essigella californica (Hemiptera, Aphididae). Journal of Economic Entomology, 110(3): 1269-1274. DOI: 10.1093/jee/tox026
Received his MSc at the end of 2016, on the ecology of parasitoids (Wikipedia) and hyperparasitoids (Wikipedia) of the soybean aphid. His primary research advisor was Jacques Brodeur. His thesis is available on Papyrus.
MSc interns in special programs
Sabrina ST-PIERRE is currently working on a master’s in quantitative and computational biology.
Zachary BÉLISLE is currently working on a master’s in quantitative and computational biology.
Mehdi OUAZZANI TOUHAMI received his master’s in environment and sustainable development in 2022. He undertook a research internship in summer and fall 2021 on the diversity of Phoridae in the Laurentians. He sorted and identified the specimens, analyzed their temporal alpha and beta diversity, and sequenced DNA sequences to validate his morphological determinations.
Vincent LESSARD completed his master’s in quantitative and computational biology in 2018. To do so, he pursued two internships in our lab. First, he studied the alpha and beta diversity of the insects of the Laurentian forest. His work contributed to a nice publication on which Vincent was among the authors. For his second internship, Vincent a modeled and mapped the distribution of several Quebec odonate species. He contributed to developing a nice dataset that was published in 2020.