Allison McManus

    Allison McManus

    MSc student (completed in 2016), Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Biology (Supervisors: Jennifer Baltzer and William Quinton)

    Thesis topic: Implications of galling herbivory on ground thaw in Canada’s northern boreal forest

    Plant-herbivore interactions are extremely variable, making it difficult to predict potential impacts on the surrounding ecosystem. Shrub proliferation and increased herbivore pressure through climate warming, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere, increases the potential for plant-herbivore dynamics to impact ecosystem function; yet no research has examined whether herbivore-plant dynamics can affect permafrost conditions. Thus, there is a need to better understand the impacts of these arthropods on the plants and their environment to predict future abiotic conditions. This study examined the effects of the gall-inducing Eriophyoid mite, Vasates oldfieldi, on Betula shrub physiology and associated energy inputs to the ground surface. Results from two consecutive field seasons indicate decreased thaw below galled shrubs driven by a compensatory response via shift in aboveground structure and increased transpirational water loss. These results suggest gall-inducing mites have the ability to decrease the rate of thaw, in an environment that is experiencing rapid permafrost loss.


    • In preparation: Galling herbivory alters ground thaw processes in a high latitude boreal peatland

    Awards and Scholarships

    • CGU Eastern Student Conference Best Biogeosciences Oral Presentation (2015)
    • CCRN-ECRN AGM Outstanding Poster Award (2014)
    • Ontario Graduate Scholarship, $15000 (2014-2015)
    • Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Scholarship, $5000 (2014)
    • WLU Graduate Scholarship, $3000 (2013-2014)
    • Field Assistant Scholarship, $6000 (2013)
    • Dean’s Honour Roll, Wilfrid Laurier University (2011-2012)
    • In-Course Scholarship, Wilfrid Laurier University, $500 (2012)                     

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