The Rollinson Lab 

Evolutionary ecology, long-term data, environmental change

Principal Investigator

Njal Rollinson

I am interested in maternal effects and the evolution of life histories among ectothermic vertebrates that inhabit time-constrained environments, and how ectotherms are responding to climate change. Previously I worked with Dr. Ron Brooks (MSc. U. Guelph), Dr. Jeff Hutchings (PhD. Dalhousie U.), and Dr. Locke Rowe (PDF University of Toronto). Much of my work has focused on understanding the evolutionary ecology of early life stages and parental investment patterns, particularly in reptiles and fish. My research has taken me to some far off places, including Africa and Nicaragua, but my current research program is based out of Algonquin Park here in Ontario.

Post Docs

2017- Megan Greishar (co-supervisor Nicole Mideo)

Megan is broadly interested in the strategies parasites use to make a living within a host. She focuses on malaria parasites because they show some very curious behavior, including synchronized cycles of blood stage infection (where parasites invade red blood cells, develop, and burst out in unison) and reproductive restraint, meaning that parasites seem to invest preferentially in proliferating within the host (growth) rather than transmitting to new hosts (reproduction). Megan will be working on life-history evolution in malaria, and on theoretical models of parental provisioning under time constraints.

PhD Students

2019- Jessica Leivesley

Jessica hails from Scotland, where she studied at the University of Stirling and the University of Glasgow. Her previous work looked at the trade-off between reproduction and survival in wild Soay sheep. Here in Toronto, she aims to explore variation in life history strategies between individuals, focusing on the impact of temperature on life history traits and sex ratios of snapping turtles. In her free time, Jessica enjoys listening to Bob Dylan, playing tennis and softball, and driving race cars.

2016- Hollis Dahn (co-supervisor Bob Murphy)

Hollis is interested in how organisms diversify and evolve in dynamic geographic arrangements and environments. She holds a long-time enthusiasm for herpetology as well as Chinese culture and language. An advocate for scientific outreach, cultural exchange, and international scientific collaboration, she will continue to travel to China and collaborate with researchers there.

2016- Patrick Moldowan

Patrick is interested in evolutionary ecology, herpetology, conservation, and natural history. His research is based at the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station where he focuses on the sensitivity to environmental change in the spotted salamander and the long-term life history study of turtles. Patrick is the recipient of several awards, including Canada’s New Noah Scholarship, and he is a strong proponent of scientific research, evidence-based policy, and stewardship programming to raise public awareness for conservation.

MSc Students

2018- Katie Ziebarth (co-supervised by Marie-Josee Fortin)

Katie has a passion for the natural world and is interested in herpetology, ecology, conservation, and GIS. She will be collaborating with Ontario Nature to create species distribution models for reptiles and amphibians found across Ontario. When she’s not studying, she loves spending her time outside and can usually be found hiking and exploring conservation areas. On rainy days, she enjoys making things by hand, from crocheting blankets to building bookshelves. Katie also plays double bass guitar for a punk rock band.
2018 Melanie Massey MSc (now - PhD student at Dalhousie University)

Melanie's interests lie in the exciting field of "eco-evo-devo", which is concerned with the interactions between environment, genes, and development of organisms. Having spent months at the Redpath Museum, mapping embryonic traits of chickens onto dinosaur phylogenies, Melanie moved to the deep woods of Algonquin Park to work on temperature dependent sex determination in snapping turtles, producing a wonderful thesis published in J. Exp. Biol., as well as various other side projects on a variety of topics. Melanie is also a talented artist, creating everything from paleontological drawings, t-shirt designs and logos, and even a children's book about geckos! Read more about Melanie here.
Recent Undergraduate Students & Research Topics

2018 Daire Crawford - REP - Condition-dependent reproductive timing in toads
2018 Mariel Terebiznik - EEB498/REP - Phenotypic and environmental correlates of sex in turtles
2018 Lauren Lawson - EEB498 - Incubation regimes in turtle conservation programs
2018 Natalia Hrynko - EEB498 - Reproductive biomass of amphibians in Algonquin Park
2017 Carter Rouleau - REP - Evolution of thermal reaction norms in turtles
2017 Deborah Hawkshaw -
EEB498 - Evolution of sexual weaponry in turtles
2017 Ann Francis - REP -
Nest site selection in natural vs anthropogenic sites in snapping turtles
2017 Christopher Reid - CGCS scholar - Climate change and early growth of turtles
2017 Dana Berg - CGCS scholar - Climate change and phenology of turtles
2017 Vivian Shum -
NSERC USRA - Evolution of senescence in Daphnia
2016 Jessica Santilli - EEb498 - Bergmann's Rule in Turtles
2016 Lucian Wang - EEB398 - Evolution of maternal effects in Daphnia