Dr. Liette Vasseur

BSc Honours from University de Sherbrooke, MSc from University du Quebec a Montreal and Ph.D. at Queen's University

Having grown up on a farm in Québec I have learned early the importance of sustainability of rural communities. While I have been trained as a biologist, I rapidly realized the importance of social sciences in doing research on environmental issues. This led me to integrate both worlds in order to better understand the social-ecological system in which we live.  So, my students are in both faculties either in biology or in sustainability science!

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Heather VanVolkenburg

BSc Honours in Biological Sciences and Physical Geography and MSc in Biology- Ecology and Evolution

I joined Dr. Liette Vasseur’s lab in 2014 and very quickly fell in love with ecology as a result. After completing an undergraduate and graduate thesis in agroecology with Liette, I found the lure of the lab and its diverse array of projects too much to resist. It seemed only natural to stay on as research manager. Through my affiliation with the lab, I have developed interests that are highly interdisciplinary in nature, and I feel privileged to continue to learn and work in such a dynamic environment. I enjoy spending my free time with my family or a good book and feel that nothing is more rejuvenating for the soul then a paddle through nature on a secluded waterway.

Current Grad Students

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Diana Tosato

PhD candidate in Biology

I am Brazilian and I am a PhD candidate in the Biological Science program at Brock University under the supervision of Dr. Liette Vasseur. For my thesis I am developing an integrated ecosystem approach to assess climate change adaptation in organic Canadian Vineyards. My undergraduate degree was also in Biological science and my master’s degree in Regional development and environment, both in Brazil. Apart from my research, I am also a TA and a Brock graduate influencer. I am passionate about nature, understanding climate change, environmental conservation, social justice, politics, and feminism.

Kasia Zgurzynski

MSc candidate in Biology

I’m currently a MSc student, with a background in botany and horticulture. In choosing Brock, I was immediately drawn to Dr. Vasseur’s lab, and have been volunteering and working there since my first year as an undergraduate student. During my undergrad, I studied native plants in vineyards, and how they attract beneficial insects in perimeter plantings. Currently, I’m looking at the potential of native plants as cover crops in the vineyard agroecosystem. I’m interested in how a more ecological approach to agriculture can benefit both the crop and its environment. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, nature photography, reading, and practicing yoga.

MSc candidate in Biology

Alysha Gullion

I am a Masters student in Biological Science at Brock University. My supervisor is Dr. Liette Vasseur and my research focuses on the effect of in-row cover crop planting and how it is influencing invertebrate species. My undergraduate degree was taken at Canisius College, located in Buffalo, New York. Here, I studied in a Freshwater Biology lab and focused a lot of my studies on environmental issues. I enjoy talking about the ecology and evolution of various species as well as behaviour changes in organisms. In my free time, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and spending time with my family and friends. 

Tasha Gunasinghe

MS candidate in Sustainability Science and Society

My passion for the environment and conservation has guided me throughout my life. My undergraduate degree is from Queen’s University in Biology. Currently I am a Masters student in the Sustainability Science and Society program and am supervised by Dr. Liette Vasseur. My major research paper will focus on ethical space and Indigenous engagement in conservation and sustainability practices. In my free time I love to read, hike, and explore Niagara! 

Ariana Forand

MS candidate in Sustainability Science and Society

Hello! My name is Ariana, and I am a student in the Master of Sustainability program at Brock University. Under the supervision of Dr. Liette Vasseur, my project is focused on the development of a matrix to assess the sustainability of farms implementing the practice of conservation agriculture. Prior to coming to Brock University, I received a MSc in Plant Science from the University of Saskatchewan and a BSc (hons) (major in Biology) from Queen’s University. I am passionate about food security and ensuring the success of the agriculture industry. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my partner, cooking, and being outside.