Some of the diverse faces of ACE Lab: Our on-campus members gather for a group photograph on campus at a Fall 2016 lab meeting. Not all are able to attend; several are off-campus on various projects and professional engagements.
Staff & Students
Zachary MacDonald, Ph.D. candidate
Angelo Filicetti, Ph.D. candidate
Laureen Echiverri, Ph.D. Candidate
Melanie Routh, M.Sc Student
Yinghang Li, M.Sc Student
Diana Stralberg, Research Associate
Federico Riva, Post-Doctoral Fellow
Thea Carpenter, M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Connor Nelson, M.Sc student
Joseph Silva, M.Sc student
Michael Thomson, M.Sc Student
Rob Belanger, Research Assistant
Caroline Franklin, Post-Doctoral Fellow
Clayton Lamb, Ph.D. candidate
Emily Cicon, M.Sc. student
Tobias Tan, Research Technologist
Catherine Denny, Research Assistant
Sean Coogan, Postdoctoral Fellow
Courtney Hughes, Ph.D (Conservation Biology)
Caroline Franklin, Ph.D. (Conservation Biology)
Jacqueline Dennett, Ph.D. (Conservation Biology)
Federico Riva, Ph.D. (Conservation Biology)
Charlie McLellan, M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Zoltan Domahidi, M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Michelle Knaggs, M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Rob Belanger, M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Caroline Martin, M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Ryan LaPointe, M.Sc (Forestry)
Lingfeng Mao, Post-Doctoral Fellow
Matt Robinson, M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Caitlin Willier, M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Eleanor Stern, Summer NSERC student
Claudia Castillo-Ayala, M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Catherine Denny, M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Jian Zhang, Post-Doctoral Fellow
Andrew Braid, M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Aaron Bell, M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Jennine Pedersen, M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Quinn Barber, M.Sc. (Forest Biology)
Tyler Bateman, B.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Nikhil Lobo, Post-Doctoral Fellow
Claudia Lopez, Ph.D. (Wildlife Ecology)
Krista Fink, M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Cassidy van Rensen, M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
David Roberts, Graduate Research Associate
Kristine Teichman, M.Sc. (Ecology)
Carl Morrison, M.Sc. (Ecology)
Sarah Rovang, M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Ruth Greuel, Research Assistant
Aaron Shafer, Post-Doctoral Fellow
James Glasier, M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Kim Ives, M.Sc. (Wildlife Ecology)
Sean Coogan, M.Sc. (Wildlife Ecology)
Qiting Chen, B.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Kelsey Bernard, B.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Faculty & Staff
scoejay[email protected]
Scott Nielsen
Professor (2008-)

Scott is a professor of conservation biology in the Department of Renewable Resources. He has a BSc in biology and MSc in natural resources from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a PhD in ecology from the University of Alberta. His lab studies biodiversity conservation and endangered species issues by integrating field and geospatial data with landscape modeling approaches to assess and predict biotic responses to rapid environmental change. We use this information to understand the impacts of environmental change and to guide mitigation and management actions. When he's not working on his research projects, Scott enjoys canoeing, woodworking, experimenting with perennial agriculture, woodlot management and prairie restoration on his northwest Wisconsin farm, enjoying time at his cabin in NW Ontario, and of course spending time with his family.

Current Students
chrejay[email protected]
Christopher Souliere
Ph.D. candidate (2017-)
Thesis Project
Assessing landscape carrying capacity in grizzly bears to forest harvests and wildfire through modeling and simulation

Christopher Souliere is a PhD student in the Applied Conservation Ecology (ACE) Lab at the University of Alberta. He obtained his Masters in Biology at Carleton University, which focused on simulating the detection patterns of birds flying past marine radars. His PhD research focuses on modeling and simulating grizzly bear food resource supply, distribution and behavior in the Alberta Foothills. In particular, he is examining the effects of fire and forestry clearcuts on bear food supply, as well as exploring optimization analyses that consider bottom-up factors within forest harvest planning tools. He is also interested in investigating methods that estimate population size; and developing agent-based models to simulate grizzly bear population dynamics and behavior in changing landscapes, with the aim of answering questions that remain pertinent to management objectives. Apart from research, he enjoys climbing, skiing, golf and flying RC aircraft. Prior to graduate school, he worked as a research assistant at the National Wildlife Research Centre (NWRC) in Ottawa.

hilejay[email protected]
Ashley Hillman
PhD student & Research Assistant (2017-)
Thesis Project
Estimating ground lichen biomass using UAVs in support of caribou habitat monitoring
Blue Ridge Lumber Lodgepole Pine Genetics Tree Plot UAV Survey Trails

Ashley has been working as the ACE lab's research assistant, and started her PhD in 2020. She has a broad background in field research, and has spent many seasons in the boreal trudging through peatlands and swatting away insects. She spends most summers conducting plant surveys and measuring forest characteristics. Previously, Ashley focussed on surveying lichen biomass in caribou ranges, to map important caribou winter forage habitat. She has also worked on numerous other projects, including establishing long term warming plots to observe the effects of climate change on terrestrial lichens, transplantation of terrestrial and arboreal forage lichens within Central Mountain caribou range in BC, and quantifying populations of disjunct alpine and arctic plant species that occur on the north shore of Lake Superior. Her PhD work focusses further on these disjunct species, and on understanding how large boreal lakes can moderate the effects of climate change by providing refuge for cold-adapted species on their shorelines. When she's not in the field, Ashley enjoys botanizing, photography, and climbing mountains. 

lheejay[email protected]
Lee Hecker
Ph.D. candidate (2017-)

Lee is a PhD student who is investigating the ecology of the Ronald Lake herd of wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) in northeastern Alberta. This small herd roams a home range that expands from the oils sands north to the south eastern tip of Wood Bison National Park, putting them at the front lines of conversation biology. Specially, Lee is exploring the herd's response to anthropogenic and natural (i.e., wild fires) disturbances, the selection of specific calving grounds, and the how wood bison transform their landscape. In his spare time, Lee enjoys backpacking, diving, skiing/snowboarding, playing basketball and soccer, photography, and biking. When he is adventuring, Lee is happy.

knaejay[email protected]
Michelle Knaggs
Ph.D. Student (2019-)

Michelle is researching how peatlands and other landscape factors may influence the persistence of upland boreal forest in the face of climate change (increasing drought and fire). The project is part of the new 'Alberta Refugia and Vegetation Transitions' group and the work will take place in northern Alberta using a combination of field sampling and remote sensing techniques. 

sheejay[email protected]
Aidan Sheppard
PhD student (2021-)

Aidan is a PhD student at the University of Alberta and Yukon University, co-supervised by Drs. Fiona Schmiegelow and Scott Nielsen. He grew up in Edmonton and completed his BSc in Environmental and Conservation Sciences with a major in Conservation Biology at the University of Alberta in 2021, and has since moved to Whitehorse, Yukon. His thesis focuses on working collaboratively with First Nations in Yukon South Beringia to map climate refugia for priority wildlife species through the weaving of Indigenous and Western knowledges. Aidan is also an illustrator and enjoys creating research graphics, cards, custom prints, and stickers. He loves teaching, roaming around in the bush, skiing, fly-fishing, playing guitar, and reading. 

sutejay[email protected]
Colleen Sutheimer
PhD student (2022-)

Colleen is a PhD student who is researching passive and active recovery of seismic lines for caribou habitat restoration in the northeastern oil sands region of Alberta, as part of the Boreal Ecosystem Recovery Assessment project. While her graduate research has focused on forest and disturbance ecology, Colleen spent many years on the wildlife and research technician circuit doing everything from prescribed burning to assisting in elk captures. Outside of her research, Colleen enjoys hiking, birding, fishing, listening to live music, drinking barley pop, and munching on squeaky cheese curds. 

gnoejay[email protected]
Graeme Nordell
M.Sc Student (2018-)

Graeme is working to compile data on invasive plant species in the fragmented forests of northern Alberta. Through existing vegetation counts and his own examination of soil seed banks, he hopes to demonstrate the extent to which these linear disturbances may act as corridors of invasion. When Graeme isn't stretching his nature-legs, he loves board games, craft beer, and going to the movies. If anyone can't remember the name of "that one actor who was in that movie about the thing", he's the guy to ask!

ldeejay[email protected]
Lindsey Dewart
M.Sc. student (2018-)

Lindsey’s research takes place between Wood Buffalo National Park and the Alberta oilsands investigating the top-down limiting factors of the genetically unique Ronald Lake wood bison herd.  She will be developing a wolf predation risk model relative to seasonal bison habitat use, quantifying wolf predation on the herd relative to associated environmental conditions and analyzing wolf diet content within the Ronald Lake bison home range.  Lindsey also guides wildlife trips, dabbles in photography and in her spare time, enjoys the outdoors with her trusty four-legged sidekick fishing, skiing, biking, running or climbing.


rawejay[email protected]
Garrett Rawleigh
M.Sc Student (2019-)

Garrett is studying wood bison selection of wetlands in northeastern Alberta. This will involve classifying the diverse wetlands used by the Ronald Lake bison herd and modelling their preferences based off of GPS location data. Outside of research, Garrett enjoys watching and playing hockey, camping, and reading.

lanejay[email protected]
Alex Lanti-Traikovski
M.Sc Student (2020-)

Complementary to Michelle's project, Alex is researching the role that peatlands play in maintaining hydrologic climate-change refugia for upland boreal tree and shrub species. His research involves studying structure, composition, and productivity, using field methods, in regenerating upland forests adjacent to peatlands that have experienced post-fire drought. Upland forest responses will be related to their hydrological connectivity to peatlands and hydrologic position on the landscape. Alex hopes to acquire knowledge of where and when the eventual northward retreat of upland boreal tree and shrub species are likely to lag behind the rest of Alberta's boreal forest with climate change.

Collaborators & Co-supervisors
John Acorn
Faculty Service Officer
Areas of Expertise: Entomology & Environmental Communication
Lu Carbyn
Adjunct Professor
President, Nature Alberta
Areas of Expertise: Wolf & Bison Ecology
Mark Edwards
Adjunct Professor
Curator of Mammalogy, Royal Alberta Museum
Areas of Expertise: Population & behavioural ecology of mammals; wildlife conservation & management
Jacqueline Dennett
Research Associate
Christine Kuntzemann
M.Sc Student
Zachary MacDonald
Ph.D. candidate
Angelo Filicetti
Ph.D. candidate
Laureen Echiverri
Ph.D. Candidate
Melanie Routh
M.Sc Student
Yinghang Li
M.Sc Student
Federico Riva
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Thea Carpenter
M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Connor Nelson
M.Sc student
Joseph Silva
M.Sc student
Michael Thomson
M.Sc Student
Rob Belanger
Research Assistant
Caroline Franklin
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Clayton Lamb
Ph.D. candidate
Sean Coogan
Postdoctoral Fellow
Jacqueline Dennett
Ph.D. (Conservation Biology)
Federico Riva
Ph.D. (Conservation Biology)
Rob Belanger
M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Ryan LaPointe
M.Sc (Forestry)
Lingfeng Mao
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Eleanor Stern
Summer NSERC student
Claudia Castillo-Ayala
M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Catherine Denny
M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Jian Zhang
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Andrew Braid
M.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Quinn Barber
M.Sc. (Forest Biology)
Tyler Bateman
B.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
David Roberts
Graduate Research Associate
Carl Morrison
M.Sc. (Ecology)
Ruth Greuel
Research Assistant
Aaron Shafer
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Sean Coogan
M.Sc. (Wildlife Ecology)
Qiting Chen
B.Sc. (Conservation Biology)
Kelsey Bernard
B.Sc. (Conservation Biology)