BIObus Crew

Allison Brown

Allison BrownAllison completed her BSc in Biological Science at Brock University, where she took several insect diversity and behaviour courses. It was during this time where her interest for insects, and amphibians, grew. She undertook a thesis project in larval anuran behaviour and this spurred her to pursue a Master’s degree in Integrative Biology at Guelph. After completing her MSc work on behavioural plasticity and personality of larval damselflies, she took a position in the Archives of the Collections department at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario. She really enjoys interacting with and sending specimens to taxonomic experts from museums around the world and even visiting museums to collect specimens to add to the International Barcode of Life project. She is excited to be a part of the BIObus team this year and get out to the field!


connor warne

Connor WarneConnor grew up within a minute’s walk of the Dundas Valley Conservation Area, a place where, admittedly, games of football or manhunt were more common than animal observation. However it was in this place where his appreciation of the natural world took root. Connor completed his BSc at the University of Waterloo before joining Alex Smith’s Integrative Biology lab at the University of Guelph to complete a master’s thesis. This project included field seasons in the Área de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG) in Northwestern Costa Rica. Within the backdrop of lush tropical rainforests and cool, misty cloud forests, Connor’s interest in biodiversity and ecology expanded greatly. After completing his MSc on the community structure and diversity patterns of tropical ants, Connor joined the Collections department at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario and is looking forward to a rewarding field season on the BIObus.


Crystal Sobel

Crystal SobelCrystal grew up exploring the Kawartha’s in Ontario collecting butterflies, catching frogs and playing in the forest. Her interests in nature followed with obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology at the University of Guelph. Crystal first took notice of DNA Barcoding from a class project on improper labeling of market fish. From there she pursued a job at BIO and joined the team in 2010. She loves the concept of DNA Barcoding and can’t wait for the hand-held device to identify animals in the field with barcodes to be invented so she can merge her two loves, nature and Star Trek! In addition to her position at BIO, she has also worked as a tropical plant gardener at the Toronto Zoo and a Bird of Prey handler at African Lion Safari.


Elizabeth Darling

Liz SearsElizabeth grew up in a small town on the outskirts of Ottawa, Ontario and spent most of her childhood years outdoors. She completed her BSc. in Marine and Freshwater Biology as well as her MSc. in Comparative Animal Physiology at the University of Guelph. After going on the Marine Biology field course during her undergraduate degree, Elizabeth acted as Teaching Assistant on the course twice more during her graduate work. Her love of the field and of biological systems led to a full time position at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario in September of 2014. She has previously worked at the University of Ottawa on mercury pollution levels in several aquatic habitats as well as at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada on modifying corn to increase green fuel production. Elizabeth has also enjoyed volunteering with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority in Ottawa as well as Let’s Talk Science in Guelph.


Jaclyn McKeown

Jaclyn is the Imaging Facility Lead at the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics. She was introduced to DNA barcoding while taking the Arctic Ecology field course for her BSc degree at the University of Guelph. After graduating in 2007, she had a short stint in northern Alberta working at an environmental consulting firm but came back to Guelph to join the collections team in 2008. While at CBG, she has photographed hundreds of thousands of specimens and has been involved in a few collecting trips in the USA and Australia. Her favourite specimens to image are spiders and beetles.


Jayme Sones

IMG_4452-e1399899782249Jayme’s life-long fascination with nature led her to pursue a degree in Wildlife biology at the University of Guelph. It was here that she participated in an Arctic Ecology field course in 2006 and was introduced to the emerging technology of DNA barcoding. Following completion of her degree in 2007, Jayme was hired as a technician at the newly opened Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO). As BIO grew from a handful of staff to multiple departments, Jayme was promoted to Collections Manager and has since been involved with the numerous collecting expeditions in Canada, the US, and Australia. Currently Jayme works with the collections team to collect and process large quantities of specimens for the International Barcode of Life project and oversees daily operations.


Kate Perez

Kate PerezKate began working for BIO as a summer student after her first year of undergraduate studies in the University of Guelph. Little did she know that this summer job would open doors to so many exciting experiences and spark her interest in something unlikely, the world of invertebrates. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences taking various zoology, genetics, and human health courses. Kate was privileged enough to be able to go on two BIObus expeditions as a student in 2009 and 2010. After experiencing field work, she decided to switch up her interests by pursuing a Master’s degree in Human Health and Nutrition performing diet experiments on mice with genetically-induced breast cancer. Ultimately, the call of field work and the outdoors brought her back to BIO this time as the BIObus Coordinator. While it’s a big change from her past BIObus experiences, having a big part in planning the expedition herself, Kate is looking forward to the field season more than ever.


Monica Young

Monica YoungMonica completed her BSc Honors in Ecology at the University of Guelph in 2010. After attending the Arctic Ecology field course she developed an interest in mite biodiversity and pursued this topic through an MSc in Evolutionary Biology, also at the University of Guelph. Since completing her MSc in 2013, Monica has continued her research as the Taxonomic Lead at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario.


Renee Miskie

IMG_20151118_112503384_HDRAs a child, Renee developed a fascination with grasshoppers, spending most summers catching the marvelous jumping creatures. Renee’s subsequent interest in biology led her to the University of Guelph where she completed a Bachelor of Science with a major in Biological Sciences. During her undergrad, Renee took several entomology courses which developed her current interest in beetles. After volunteering for the 2009 BIObus expedition to Eastern Canada, Renee was employed full time as a collections technician with BIO. She now enjoys the opportunity of working with insect specimens from all around the world.


Valérie Lévesque-Beaudin

Valerie LBValérie grew up in Rimouski, a small city in eastern Quebec, surrounded by the sea, forests and wildlife. From there she developed an interest towards biology, directing her to do a Bachelors degree in Biology, major in Ecology, at Université du Québec à Rimouski. Throughout her degree, her enthusiasm for insects continued to grow, leading her to start a Masters in Entomology at McGill University specializing on Diptera diversity. From there she took a position in Fall 2009 at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario as a Collections technician to start a career pursuing her life-long passion for insects.