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Dr. Robert Hanner

I'm the Associate Director for the Canadian Barcode of Life Network, headquartered at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, University of Guelph. I currently Chair the Database Working Group of the Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL) and also serve as Campaign Coordinator for the Fish Barcode of Life (FISH-BOL) initiative, a project of global scale that aims to assemble a standard reference sequence library for the molecular identification of all fishes. I'm a Past President of the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER). Prior to my arrival in Guelph (August of 2005), I served as the Scientific Program Director for the Coriell Cell Repositories (at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research) and prior to that, I was a Curatorial Associate at the American Museum of Natural History where I spearheaded the establishment of the Ambrose Monell Collection for Molecular and Microbial Research.

Jarrett Phillips

Postdoctoral researcher


My research interests span multiple domains, including bioinformatics, computer science, data science, machine, learning, and statistics---all under the purview of molecular biodiversity and species identification. Much of my work revolves around the development of R packages and Shiny web apps to facilitate knowledge mobilization and comunity uptake within academic and applied regulatory fields. I have developed quantitative methods to estimate sample sizes for DNA barcoding using stochastic optimization, to assess PCR and sequencing error rates in DNA sequence alignments using very low frequency variants, and to predict rates of seafood mislabelling in the supply chain and classify samples with unknown mislabelling status using Bayesian inference methods in Stan. In the future, I hope to expand development to address standing questions in enviromental DNA (eDNA) research.

I am interested in freshwater microbial biodiversity and its impacts on larger ecosystems. My PhD thesis focusses on developing reference libraries to enable high-throughput screening of harmful algal blooms using aquatic eDNA. My publication record spans targeted detection of fish SAR, calls for increased engagement with Indigenous communities in biodiversity research, microalgal growth modelling, and development of photobioreactors for nutrient removal in recirculating aquacultural systems. Throughout my PhD, I have received several scholarships including the Morwick Scholarship in Aquatic Biology, the OGS QEII-GSST, and the NSERC PGS-D award. Outside of my research, I have been involved in several campus organizations at UofG including CUPE 3913, the UofG Graduate Coalition, the Graduate Students' Association, and the Integrative Biology Mental Health and Wellness Committee.

Xueqi (Sharon) Wang

PhD Candidate


I am a PhD candidate in the department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph. Born and grew up in China, I came to Canada as an international undergrad student in 2008 and graduated with a BSc in biological science and a minor in mathematical in 2013. After a few years of working in the private section, I returned to the University of Guelph to further my education. I am passionate about environmental sustainability and wildlife conservation. As a theoretical ecologist with advanced training in various molecular techniques, I have developed an interdisciplinary set of skills that will allow me to succeed in a scientific environment. My PhD research aims to optimize molecular methods to better facilitate and supplement current biodiversity and long-term population monitoring programs in the aquatic environment. As a first-generation university student, a landed immigrant, a woman, and a visible minority, I am a strong advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) through involvements within my home institution, community, and world renowned conferences. I was the first graduate student co-chair for the Integrative Biology Departmental EDI committee and have been a student representative of the University of Guelph GenEq Advisory group since Fall 2019. I have successfully organized several local and international conferences including the 2018 and 2019 Symposium for Women in Ecology and Evolution that attracted over 300 attendees from various international institutions in the US, Asia and Europe. These involvements have promoted my successful election to be one of the two 2019 - 2021 Graduate student/Post-doc councillors to serve on the board of the Canadian Society of Ecology and Evolution. I am dedicated to make science more accessible through Students Communicating Research in Biology Education(SCRIBE), STEM 4K outreach, mentorship and youth engagement program MsInfinity, as well as participation in community events.

Ryan Kar-Long LEUNG

PhD Candidate


I specialize in ecotoxicological study and biodiversity survey to investigate anthropogenic impacts on aquatic ecosystems.
I have a solid foundation in chemical analyses (heavy metals, PAHs, OCPs, PCBs, fatty acids and amino acids), shotgun proteomics, western blots and bioassays (LysD, MN, SOD, CAT, GSH, MDA, AChE). I also have vast experience doing line-transect surveys, sampling, and identifying species (juvenile fish and intertidal organisms in mangroves and rocky shores).
My current project is to investigate the pollution effects of solid waste deposition from net-pen aquaculture on benthic invertebrates in freshwater lakes in Ontario. It involves ecotoxicological studies with lab-based sediment bioassays on benthic invertebrates and ecological studies of the in-situ benthic communities using eDNA metabarcoding and traditional method. The project aims to contribute to sustainable development of net-pen aquaculture in Ontario.

Kayley Head

MSc Candidate


My interests include conservation of species at risk, scientific research diving, and aquatic ecology as a whole. My research focuses on using environmental DNA (eDNA) to monitor the habitat occupancy of the endangered Topeka shiner in native freshwater ecosystems throughout the Midwestern United States. This research is in collaboration with USFWS and Iowa Soybean to aid in the conservation of the species by providing insight into recovery plans, management, and habitat protection. I am proud to be supported by NSERC, the Morwick Scholarship in Aquatic Biology, iTrackDNA and Syngenta.

Eric Bonk

MSc Candidate

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My research interests are broad; however, they mainly involve interspecific and intraspecific fish dynamics, habitat usage, abiotic relationships, and climate change. Moreover, I am interested in topics such as fish population structure, fish migration, and reproductive behaviors and patterns. My research interests are often highly statistical in nature and encompass a wide variety of statistical and ecological theory. My graduate research focuses on developing community level perspective climate change projections for fish communities in Ontario.

Reanna Moore

MSc Candidate


My research interests include ecological restoration, plant ecology, and reclamation in northern boreal ecosystems. My current focus is on the developement of reclamation strategies for improving early plant survivorship on a post-mining landscape. I am investigating the incorporation of native bryophytes into a soil amendment strategy and exploring the influence of co-planting native plant species for improving revegetation success and supporting biological complexity.

Nathan Zeinstra

MSc Candidate/ Lab Manager


My research involves using Environemtal DNA (eDNA) to asses and model the distribution of native lamprey species in the Great Lakes tributaries. Invasive sea lamprey control efforts include the addition of general lampricides to these streams which often have uninetended negative consequences for populations of native lampreys, making their conservation a priority. When I'm not in the field or lab you'll find me hunitng, fishing, or doing anyhing outdoors!

Morgan Humphrey

B.Sc. Biodiversity student


I have been a member of the Hanner Lab since 2022. I am currently completing my Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biodiversity. My research interest centres around non-invasive methods for integrative biomonitoring, including eDNA-based methods and camera trapping. I have a background in terrestrial camera trapping, and recently my focus has been on aquatic camera trapping paired with eDNA sampling to survey SAR in freshwater lotic systems.

Former Memebers


  • Ema Iwatsuki - 2017/9 - 2018/4 - (BIOM 4521) - Computational approach to designing optima qPCRassays for eDNA surveys

  • Jasmine Sollen - 2017/9 - 2018/4 - Biological soil crust literature review 

  • Jarrett Blair - 2017/9 - 2018/4 - Using environmental DNA to model site occupancy of the Jefferson Salamander (Ambystomajeffersonianum) along the Niagara Escarpment

  • Sarah Yoshida - 2017/9 - 2018/4 - Ruraland urban coyote (Canis Latrans) dietary compositions: insights from DNA analysis

  • Emma Kassam - 2021-2022 -  Validation of high-throughput isolation method for phytoplankton from the environment

  • Gordon DeJong - 2022/9-2023/4 - Developing a workflow to build a freshwater microalgae barcode library

  • Josh Lannan- 2022/9-2023/4 - Comparing active filtration of eDNA and passive adsorption in a lotic environment 

  • Lauren Janke 2017-2018

Masters (Thesis)

  • Eugene Wong 

  • Maleeka Singh - 2018 - 2020

  • Kamil Chatila-Amos - 2017-2020

  • Ian Thompson - 2019-2020

  • Kevin Morey - 2016-2018


  • Jeff Strohm - 2012/9 - 2015/1 - The influence of agricultural tillage practices on soil diversity

  • Sonja Andrekovic-2019-2021-

  • Steven Rogers-2019-2021-

  • Sujani Kanchana Rathnayake-2019-2021-


  • Taryn Athey - 2012/6 - 2013/9 - Assessing errors in barcode sequence records

  • Anibal Castillo- 2018 - 2021 -

  • Erika Myler-2021-2023 -

Masters (Course)

Principal Supervisor

  • Kevin Romanick - 2017/9 - 2018/7 - 

  • Louis Gasparini - 2017/9 - 2018/7 - 

  • Tinson Wang - 2016/9 - 2017/7 - 


  • Torie Murphy - 2017/9 - 2018/6 - 


Principal Supervisor

  • Amanda Naaum - 2009/1 - 2014/1 - Novel methods of species and product authenticity and traceability testing using DNA analysis for food and agricultural applications


  • Jennifer Gleason- Sep 2017 - May 2022- Sequencing Streams: a Molecular Approach for Monitoring Macroinvertebrate Biodiversity and Metacommunity Dynamics in an Agricultural Landscape

  • Yashu Song- 2018 – 2022- Investigation of the Global Gene Expression Changes in Major Wine Grapes Infected with Grapevine Leafroll-associated Virus 3

  • Lauren Overdyk - 2011/6 - 2015/6 - Effects of environmental conditions on the ecology of larval lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) at Douglas Point, Lake Huron

  • Andrew Frewin - 2011/1 - 2015/1 - The application of DNA barcoding to enhance integrated pest management

  • Tim Bartley - 2008/9 - 2017/6 - 

  • Joao Lima - 2007/9 - 2012/1 - Species richness and genome size diversity in hymenoptera with different developmental strategies: A DNA barcoding enabled study

  • Adam Faller - 2016-2021- Improvement and Implementation of Molecular Authentication Techniques in Natural Health Products


  • Steve Crookes - 2016/11 - 2017/11 - NSERC

  • Hanan Shehata - 2016/5 - 2017/5 - Canadian Food Inspection Agency

  • Amanda Naaum - 2016/5 - 2017/5 - Canadian Food Inspection Agency

  • Rafiq Ahad - 2016/5 - 2017/5 - Canadian Food Inspection Agency 

Research Assistants

  • Brianna Collis 

  • Danielle Bourque 

  • Lauren Janke 

  • Kevin Morey 

Undergraduate Students and Volunteers

  • Andrew Kiely 2020 - 2021 - Volunteer

  • Reese Solomon- Undergraduate Student-2019

  • Maya Persram- Undergraduate Student- 2020 

  • Amane Baba- Volunteer-2021

Lab Managers

  • Kate Lindsay

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