Join our lab

Amy Angert

amy.angert at
Professor, University of British Columbia

Amy joined the faculty at UBC in 2012. Previously she was an assistant professor at Colorado State University, completed two years of postdoctoral research at the University of Arizona, and attended graduate school at the University of Washington and Michigan State University.

Amy's CV

Current students and postdocs

Courtney Collins

Courtneygrace125 at
Postdoctoral Fellow

Courtney is a 'BRITE' Postdoctoral Fellow in the Biodiversity Research Centre at UBC. Her research interests include alpine ecology, global change biology, plant-soil interactions, plant species range shifts, and soil microbial ecology! Previously, she was a post-doc with Katie Suding and Sarah Elmendorf at CU Boulder (INSTAAR). Courtney completed her PhD in Plant Biology in the Diez Ecology lab at UC Riverside in 2019 and her Master's in Conservation Ecology in the Wurzburger lab at the University of Georgia in 2013.

Courtney's website

Micah Freedman

micah.freedman at
Postdoctoral Fellow

Micah is broadly interested in species interactions and contemporary evolution, with an emphasis on chemically-mediated interactions between insects and their host plants. Much of his research focuses on monarch butterflies and their milkweed host plants. For his PhD, he studied the ecological and evolutionary consequences of the recent global range expansion and loss of seasonal migration in monarch butterflies. As an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago, he studied the functional genomics of toxin sequestration in monarch butterflies. At UBC, he plans to use cardenolide fingerprinting to study how migration patterns of western North American monarch butterflies have changed over the last 25 years.

Micah's website

Katie Goodwin

katie.goodwin at
PhD Candidate

Katie is interested in disentangling the relative importance abiotic and biotic factors play in shaping species’ distributions. Using experimental demography, she aims to investigate how temperature and herbivory impact population dynamics across an altitudinal gradient for Lupinus latifolius in the North Cascades, WA. Katie completed her M.Sc. at Memorial University where she studied how demographic niches and suitable microsite availability influence latitudinal treeline advance in the Yukon.

Juliet Kiester

juliet.kiester at
PhD Student

Juliet is a new Ph.D. candidate in the Angert Lab. She earned her Biology B.Sc. at the University of Washington in 2014. Post-grad, she studied at Xiamen University and volunteered at Peking University Chongzuo Biodiversity Research Center. Returning to the U.S., she spent a year with the Washington Conservation Corps. She spent the past six years teaching high school science in Shenzhen, China, focusing on the International Baccalaureate curriculum. Juliet has now returned to the Pacific Northwest, where her research centers on ecological restoration and land stewardship amid climate change. She's surveying Vancouver's restoration projects and planning innovative ecosystem-healing experiments for the 21st century.

Emma Menchions

emma.menchions at
MSc Student

Emma is broadly interested in how climate change will affect species distributions, community assembly, and ecosystem function as well as how these insights can be applied to conservation and restoration. For her thesis she is using duckweed as a model system to study eco-evolutionary resident-invader dynamics; specifically, how invaders may influence the evolutionary trajectory of resident populations and the success of proceeding invasions. She is also continuing undergraduate research that seeks to improve climate threat assessments for the conservation of rare species in heterogeneous environments through ecological niche modelling.

Mackenzie Urquhart-Cronish

murquhart at
PhD candidate

Mackenzie's PhD research focuses on understanding the demographic pathways and genetic consequences of range expansion. She is interested in expanding on current evolutionary theory that predicts negative fitness consequences resulting from range expansion--or expansion load--by developing new models and conducting empirical investigations using natural populations of Erythranthe lewisii along contrasting spatiotemporal scales (e.g., latitudinal and elevational gradients). Specifically, she aims to identify when and where we would expect the accumulation of expansion load to negatively impact long-term persistence of edge-populations in nature, which has implications for population-level responses to climate change.

Mackenzie's website

Former lab members

Takuji Usui

usuitakuji at
Currently: Post-Doc at University of Toronto

Takuji is interested in the eco-evolutionary processes that govern changes to species distributions. In response to environmental change, he is interested in the role of: (1) selective and stochastic evolutionary processes; and (2) species interactions in determining population dynamics at both the leading edge (e.g. range expansion) and trailing edge (e.g. evolutionary rescue) of the species range. In addition to these disequilibrial dynamics, he is further interested in the demographic and genetic processes that shape equilibrial (i.e. fitness and niche limited) range limits. To explore these themes, Takuji is currently setting up a novel, lab replicated species ‘range’ using multiple coexisting species of duckweed. Through utilizing experimental evolution, he will run lab experiments to study the effects of evolution on range dynamics in real time.

Lauren McBurnie

NSERC USRA student 2022

Lauren is pursuing her BSc in Biology at UBC, and is broadly interested in how ecological factors influence evolutionary processes of species across landscapes. During the summer of 2022, Lauren will be studying the relationships between soil microbial composition, soil carbon sequestration and climate change-related variables across elevational gradients in the North Cascade Range, supported in part by an NSERC USRA.

Nathalie Isabelle Chardon

nathaliechardon at

Nathalie seeks to understand what drives species geographic distributions and how these will shift with global change. She is particularly interested in species distribution questions in arctic, alpine, and montane systems. In her current work with the Angert Lab, she is using data from a seed transplant experiment and mechanistic models to answer what will limit species range expansion in the Washington Cascade Range with climate change.

Nathalie's website

Haley Branch

haley.branch at
Currently: NSF Post-Doc at Yale University

Haley completed her MSc at the University of Toronto, where she studied the effects of heat stress on reproductive development in Trianthema portulacastrum, a desert plant. She is interested in how plant communities will respond to changes in environmental stresses due to climate change. She is particularly interested in the role plant physiology plays in determining community assemblage under novel stresses. For her PhD, she is studying the physiological and morphological responses of Erythranthe cardinalis after generations of exposure to the California drought.

Juniper Malloff

NSERC USRA student 2021 & 2022, Thesis student 2021/22

Currently: PhD student at U of T

Juniper is currently completing a combined honours degree in Chemical Biology at UBC. Their main interests are how climate change and other anthropogenic proceses will affect species interactions and community compositions, as well as how chemistry plays a role in insect-plant interactions. Juniper will be working with Lupinus latifolius and the associated insect communities in the Northern Cascade mountains, supported in part by an NSERC USRA for two summers (2021 and 2022).

Graydon Gillies

NSERC USRA student 2020, 2021; WorkLearn student 2020 - 2022

Currently: CGS-M MSc Student, Eckert Lab @ Queens University

Graydon is currently completing his BSc in Honours Environmental Sciences at UBC and is primarily interested in how climate warming impacts plant physiology and floral diversity. He was supported in part by NSERC USRAs in the summers of 2020 and 2021, during which he studied the effects of nutrient limitations across genotypes and temperature gradients in common duckweed Lemna minor. Currently, he is funded in part by UBC’s Work Learn program, and is working with PhD candidate Takuji Usui on studying microevolution in L. minor.

Xianyu Yang

Visiting PhD Student

Xianyu is a visiting Ph.D. student from East China Normal University. Based on forest and biodiversity inventory networks, he is interested in relating demographic strategies of tree species to climatic change and species distribution dynamics. Specifically, he focuses on the effectiveness of demographic compensation on helping species to maintain distributional range boundaries, and the role of demographic buffering in understanding species coexistence in tropical and subtropical forests.

Rassim Khelifa

rassimkhelifa at
Postdoctoral Fellow 2018 - 2021

Currently: Assistant Professor at Concordia University

My general interest lies at the interface of environmental sciences and evolutionary biology and involves life history plasticity, dispersal ecology, sexual selection, and conservation biology. My current research focuses on changes in the distribution range of odonates across latitude and elevation in Europe. My main questions are: what drives the variability in the range shift of species? How can we predict future range dynamics of communities? How species respond to climate change across different geographic gradients.
My previous postdoc research, which was conducted with Prof. Stefan Lüpold at UZH, focuses on understanding whether female choice depends on intrinsic male quality or male-female genetic compatibility. I am also interested in how toxins (pesticides) change female choice, male performance, genetic compatibility and ultimately sexual selection. To this end, I use laboratory experiments on Drosophila melanogaster. With my team consisting of postdocs and PhDs in Algeria, we carry out regular surveys to characterize the odonatological and avian fauna of the country and identify the threats that endanger the persistence of species. We also use citizen science and take into account the cultural aspect of society to effectively come up with solutions to establish effective conservation plans.

Daniel Anstett

daniel.anstett at
Postdoctoral Fellow 2017 - 2021

Currently: Postdoctoral Fellow, Michigan State University

Daniel is broadly interested in the biogeography of species interactions. For his PhD he studied how herbivory and plant defence vary across a latitudinal gradient in common evening primrose. He also has an interest in landscape genetics, especially when considering adaptive traits. At UBC he is spearheading a rebrrection study to investigate evolutionary rescue in the scarlet monkeyflower.

Daniel's website

Rylan McCallum

NSERC USRA 2019 & Directed Studies student 2020

Rylan is interested in understanding how species interactions and local diversity will be impacted by climate change. He was supported in part by an NSERC USRA in 2019 and completed a study comparing the relative strengths of biotic interactions across elevational gradients in the North Cascades. He recently conducted a directed studies project in the lab looking at the generational effects of drought on Mimulus cardinalis.

Olivia Rahn

SURE student & Directed Studies 2019, NSERC USRA student 2020
Currently: CGS-M MSc Student, Hargreaves Lab @ McGill University

Olivia held a research position in the lab funded in part by a Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) during summer 2019, and recently completed a directed studies project. Her research so far has focused on how traits related to fitness and adaptation in pink monkeyflower Mimulus lewisii populations change during the process of range expansion.

Megan Bontrager

mgbontrager at
PhD 2012-2018
Currently: Assistant Professor, Univeristy of Toronto

Megan began her PhD in the Angert Lab in September 2012. She is
interested in factors shaping species distributions and the adaptation of species to marginal habitats. She is particularly interested in the genetic and demographic contributions of pollinators to processes that limit species' ranges. During her thesis, she investigated how gene flow and genetic structure across heterogeneous landscapes contribute to shaping ranges. She pursued these research directions using the annual wildflower Clarkia pulchella as a focal species. Her thesis work utilized field experiments in natural populations, common gardens at the range edge, and population genomics.

Megan's website

Rachel Germain

rgermain at
Biodiversity Postdoc, 2016-2018
Currently: Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia

Rachel studies historical contingencies in ecology; how events that have occurred few, tens, or tens of millions of years in the past can have persistent effects on present-day ecological dynamics. Her current research tests how species' histories of competitive interactions have driven evolutionary divergence through the phenomenon of character displacement (CD). She aims to reinvigorate CD research by using methods that (i) have more power to detect CD, and provide (ii) a clear mechanistic understanding of how CD manifests, (iii) its strength relative to other evolutionary drivers, and (iv) its consequences for competitive outcomes among competing species.

Rachel's website

Qin Li at
PhD 2012-2017
Currently: Associate Professor at East China Normal University

Qin's research interests are generally in macroecology, evolution, and biogeography. Qin received her B.Sc in Biology and M.Sc in Ecology from Beijing Normal University where she studied wildlife monitoring (e.g.
infrared-camera trap for Amur tiger and other mammals) in boreal forest in northeastern China, as well as species distribution modeling for plants. Qin's thesis work focussed on niche divergence across the Mimulus genus, considering phylogenetic relatedness, evolutionary processes, and
geographic distribution attributes, using a combination of techniques (modeling, field work, and greenhouse experiments).

Chris Muir

cdmuir at
Biodiversity Postdoc, 2013-2016
Currently: Assistant Prof at U Wisconsin Madison

Chris is an evolutionary biologist who uses ecophysiology as a way to connect fitness tradeoffs to local adaptation and speciation. The goal of Chris's research is to renew and advance an evolutionary physiology synthesis in plants using comparative methods, genetics, field studies, and theory.

Chris's website

Rachel Wilson

rachelnora.wilson at
MSc student, 2014-2016
Currently: Ecology instructor, UBC

Rachel backpacked all over the North Cascades to resurvey legacy vegetation plots and assess changes in species' distributions along elevation gradients. She found that most species have not shifted their ranges over the past 30-40 years, despite substantial increases in winter temperatures. However, many species decreased in abundance within their historic ranges.

Chris Kopp

ckopp at
Teaching and Research Postdoc

Chris is interested in how plant species in mountain environments have responded to recent climate change and how they will respond to future climate shifts. This interest includes understanding direct responses to climate as well as outcomes of novel species interactions. To test these responses he employs techniques such as resurveys, repeat photography, species removal and warming experiments.

Devin Gamble

Honors thesis, 2017
Currently: PhD candidate at UC Santa Barbara

Devin looked at mating system variation among populations across the range of a mixed-mating wildflower (Clarkia pulchella). His work examined why populations differ in their reproductive strategy and which climatic factors drive selection for self or cross-pollination.

Anna Hargreaves

alhargreaves at
Biodiversity Postdoc Fellow, 2014-2016
Currently: Associate Professor, McGill University

Anna is interested in the ecology and evolution of species interactions, species’ range limits, and their interface. Her research uses field experiments, theoretical and empirical syntheses, and simulation models to explore the evolutionary ecology of range limits and biotic interactions, especially pollination. She focuses on the relative importance of the abiotic environment, biotic interactions, and dispersal in limiting ranges, and how variation in fitness, selection and adaptation towards range limits might impact future evolution of niche breadth and dispersal.

Anna's website

Barb Gass

barbgass at
MSc student, 2014-2016
Currently: Research Technician @ Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Barb worked on the physiolgoy and conservation of Limber pine (Pinus flexilis). She measured needle traits and quantified their variation and distribution along a latitudinal gradient to determine if they can be used as predictors of resistance to an invasive rust (Cronartium ribicola).

Matthew Bayly

bayly at
MSc student, 2013-2015
Currently: Data analyst, EcoFish Consulting

Through field translocation studies, Matt investigated dispersal limitation at
the northern range boundary of Mimulus cardinalis and conducted experimental tests of the predictions from ecological niche models.

Matt’s Blog

Seema Sheth

Seema_Sheth at
PhD, Colorado State University, 2008-2014
Currently: Assistant Professor, North Carolina State

Seema is interested in understanding the processes that shape the geographic distributions of species. She examined how species' traits influence the limits and sizes of species' ranges across the genus Mimulus.

Seema's website

Sam Pironon

samuel.prionon at
Visiting scholar, Fall 2013
Currently: PhD student, CSIC-Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología, Spain

Sam's website

Anna Mária Csergő

anna.maria.csergo at
Research Associate, University of British Columbia, 2012-2013
Currently: Associate Prof at Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Anna asks: How are population dynamics are affected by environmental variability? What are the mechanisms linking traits, environment and biotic interactions to spatial population dynamics? Can the variation in
demographic rates be predicted from the position of populations
within the geographic range and within ecological niche space? Which demographic rates may signal persistent or shifting geographic ranges? She answers these questions by linking range-wide variation in population dynamics to spatially explicit predictions of habitat suitability.

Anna's website

John Paul

jrpaul at
Post Doc, Colorado State University, 2008-2012
Currently: Associate Professor, University of San Francisco

John uses a coalescent framework to infer demographic histories across species' ranges and test competing range limit hypotheses. His prior work examined species distribution and abundance from a phylogenetic perspective, asking if age is related to range size and how phylogenetic relatedness structures assemblages.

John's website

Erin Borgman

erin.meier at
M.Sc., Colorado State University, 2011-2013
Currently: Ecologist - Field Coordinator, National Park Service

Erin's project involved examining maternal effects in long-lived plant species
to better account for the impact of the maternal environment during offspring development on early seedling growth. She also explored the degree of genetic differentiation among limber pine populations in the Southern Rocky Mountains to help improve the success of conservation actions.