Friday, May 14, 2010

Featured Student or Postdoc: Michelle Farwell

Michelle Farwell is a Ph.D. student at the University of Windsor investigating the effects of aquatic contaminants on reproductive traits. In one study, Michelle is testing whether contamination in the Detroit River elicits adaptive responses in wild populations of brown bullhead. She is also testing whether synthetic estrogen present in birth control pills (and consequently also in municipal waste water effluents) affects gamete quality and reproductive success in fathead minnows, and similar to the bullheads, whether wild populations adapt to chronic exposure.

Michelle started her academic career as an undergraduate working with Michael Fox at Trent University studying hypoxia tolerance in sunfishes. She then completed her M.Sc. with Robert McLaughlin at the University of Guelph where a keen interest in animal behaviour began. Her M.Sc. thesis focussed on how personality traits in young-of-the-year brook charr relate to large-scale differences in the migratory tactics of adults.

Michelle was excited to join the field of ecotoxicology with Dr. Pitcher as her Ph.D. supervisor to broaden her research scope and apply research to local conservation efforts. Michelle was recently awarded a prestigious NSERC scholarship to support her studies!