Dr. Jessica Forrest
Associate Professor | Professeure agrégée
Office | Bureau : DRO 207
E-mail | Courriel : jforrest “at”
Vous pouvez me contacter en français ou en anglais.

I am interested in the causes and consequences of variation in species’ life histories and seasonal phenologies—particularly as these traits relate to species interactions. A primary application of my research is in understanding ways that climate change and other forms of global change affect pollinators (especially native solitary bees) and pollination. My work so far has focused mainly on bees and plants in natural habitats, but I am also interested in how better knowledge of native bee ecology can benefit agriculture.

I am not currently accepting new graduate students.

Dr. Colleen Smith
Post-doctoral fellow since 2020
Office: GNN 353
E-mail: colleensmith91 “at”

Colleen is interested in how species are affected by anthropogenic change, in how species’ responses to anthropogenic change are affected by their niche breadth – or the extent to which they specialize on the resources in their environment – and in the reasons why species have evolved to specialize in the first place. As a postdoc in the Forrest lab she is testing hypotheses about the evolution of pollen specialization in the bees inhabiting forests of southern Ontario and the northeastern United States.


Cécile Antoine
Doctoral student since 2017
Office: GNN 353
E-mail: cecile.antoine.31 “at”

Cécile is interested in the factors that limit populations of wild bees and hence the pollination service provided by these bees, in an agricultural environment. She is working more specifically on populations of solitary ground-nesting bees in the margins of farms fields that differ in farm management.

Sebastien Rivest

Sébastien Rivest
Doctoral student since 2018
Office: GNN 353
E-mail: srive028 “at”

Sébastien is interested in the defense mechanisms used by plants to protect their pollen. He is examining the causes of the presence of plant defense compounds in pollen by comparing their effect on pollinators, pollen thieves, and pollen microorganisms, and evaluating their consequences by looking at their role in the evolution of the genus Osmia.


Michelle Hotchkiss
Doctoral student, co-supervised by Prof. Alex Poulain, since 2018
Office: GNN 353
E-mail: mhotc015 “at”

Michelle is interested in bumble bees and the microbes that call their guts home. Her Ph.D. research investigates how pesticides alter the structure of bumble bee gut microbiomes, how a pesticide-exposed gut microbiome affects bumble bee fitness, and if pesticide-exposed microbiomes can recover after pesticide exposure.

Lydia Wong
Doctoral student since 2018
Office: GNN 353
E-mail: lwong014 “at”

Lydia is investigating the effects of drought on Colorado bees. In the past, she has worked on figuring out why solitary bee species nest when they do, and on which native and non-native plants are favoured by native bees in the city of Toronto.

Evelyn Bragion
Doctoral student, co-supervised by Prof. Risa Sargent, since 2019
Office: GNN 353
E-mail: evelyn.alecrim “at”

Evelyn is interested in how climate change can affect spring ephemerals by altering their interaction with pollinators and overstorey plants. She is working in Gatineau Park.

Madhupreeta Muralidhar
Doctoral student since 2020
E-mail: mmura051 “at”

Madhupreeta is interested in the evolution of diet strategies in bees. Her research investigates factors that determine floral host selection by cavity-nesting solitary bees and the influence of anthropogenic change on these selections.  

Tovah Kashetsky
Doctoral student since 2022, co-supervised by Nigel Raine at Guelph
E-mail: tkash084 “at”

Tovah is studying learning, memory, and decision-making in wild bees, and how these cognitive abilities vary across species and environments. She is interested in applying a cognitive perspective to conservation.    

Batoule Hyjazie
MSc student since 2020
E-mail: bhyja038 “at”

Batoule is exploring the relationship between pollinators and floral resources in different ecosystems using meta-analytical techniques. In addition, she will investigate how the presence of nesting habitat in apple orchards affects the behaviour, diversity and abundance of bees. With a background in environmental science, Batoule’s goal is to cultivate a better understanding of the impacts of agriculture on pollinators as well as the ways in which pollinators can support the global need for more efficient and sustainable agricultural practices.

Ben Aubrey
Research assistant, summer 2021, and Honours student, 2021-2022

Ben is studying for his BSc in Biology with a focus in evolution and ecology. His honours project involves comparing local and landscape predictors of urban bee and wasp abundance and diversity.

Sarah Leppinen
Co-op student, winter-summer 2021, and Honours student, 2021-2022

Sarah is an Honours BSc student in Biology. Her interests include collecting insects and understanding the ways that insects contribute to the well-being of humans, animals, and plants. After working as an assistant in the lab, she is now starting her honours project on the relationship between pollen usage and fungal infection in solitary bee nests.

Lauren Loada
Co-op student, autumn 2020, and Honours student, 2021-2022

Lauren is a fourth-year Honours student in Biopharmaceutical sciences. She is interested in the microbes associated with plants. She is doing her honours project on the effects of the floral microbiome on plant attractiveness to pollinators.

Erica Kabotoff
Lab volunteer, winter-autumn 2021

Erica is a fourth-year Honours BSc student in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. She is helping Colleen with her post-doctoral research on bees and pollen specialization.

Julie Pan
Lab volunteer, spring-autumn 2021

Julie is an Honours BSc student in Translational and Molecular Medicine. She’s very interested in evolutionary biology and she’s excited to develop her microscopy skills while identifying pollen. She enjoys exploring different fields and widening her knowledge in matters related to biology.

Laurence Godin
Lab volunteer, autumn 2021

Laurence is a second/third year Honours BSc student in Biology – ecology/evolution and behaviour. She is passionate about the environment and conservation, and she hopes to one day conduct research on whether native plants on our lawns can help support pollinators and other native animal species to prevent extinction. 

Mélodie Laniel
Lab volunteer, autumn 2021

Mélodie is an Honours BSc Student in Biology. She is very interested in climate change and its consequences for interactions between pollinators and plants. She loves the outdoors and her favourite activities include hiking and photography. 

Madeleine Larocque
Lab volunteer, autumn 2021

Madeleine is an Honours BSc student in Biology with a minor in Health Sciences. She is interested in the effects of pesticides and other chemicals on pollinators. She loves camping and hiking! 

Lab dog

Oscar helps carry equipment to field sites and alerts us to any bicycles or livestock that may be threatening the lab vehicle.

Lab Alumni, and What They Are Doing Now


  • Dr. Emily Austen, post-doc 2015-2018 – Assistant Professor, Mount Allison University


  • Shang-Yao (Peter) Lin, Ph.D. 2019 – Ecology instructor, Aurora College, Northwest Territories
  • Gail MacInnis, Ph.D. 2019 (McGill, cosupervised by Chris Buddle) – Mitacs post-doctoral fellow in Carly Ziter‘s lab at Concordia University


  • Adam Groulx, M.Sc. 2015 – Ph.D. student with Paul Martin at Queen’s University
  • Charlotte Walinga, M.Sc. 2016 – Industry Analyst, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Stephanie Haas, M.Sc. 2016 – Ph.D. student at York U.
  • Jessica Guezen, M.Sc. 2017 – Ph.D. student with Madhur Anand, University of Guelph
  • Megan McAulay, M.Sc. 2018 – Biologist, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Manuel Sevenello, M.Sc. 2018 – Starting a Ph.D. with Margaret Mayfield and John Dwyer at the University of Queensland in April 2020 (now delayed due to COVID-19…)
  • Gabriel Gauthier, M.Sc. 2019 – Joining the Companions of the Cross
  • Amanda Davidson, M.E.S. 2021


  • Gareth Watt, B.Sc. 2014 – High School Science Teacher (French Immersion) and M.Ed. student at Mount St. Vincent University
  • Sarah Silverman, B.Sc. 2014 (McGill; co-supervised by Chris Buddle) – Instructional Designer, University of Michigan-Dearborn
  • Camille Roberge, B.Sc. 2015 (Carleton) – M.Sc. student with Karl Larsen at Thompson Rivers University
  • Ramie Qaisar, B.Sc. 2015 – Sales Representative for Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • Brett Culbert, UROP student 2014–15 – Ph.D. student with Nick Bernier at University of Guelph
  • Sarah Chisholm, B.Sc. 2016 – M.Sc. student in Jeremy Kerr‘s lab at uOttawa
  • Vinko Culjak Mathieu, UROP student 2014 and B.Sc. 2016 – M.Sc. student with Chris Buddle at McGill
  • Stephanie Rivest, B.Sc. 2016 – Ph.D. student in Heather Kharouba‘s lab at uOttawa
  • Thuong (Anna) Tran Nguyen, B.Sc. 2016 – M.Sc. student with Charles Francis and Lenore Fahrig at Carleton University
  • Regan Cross, B.Sc. 2016 – Ph.D. student with Chris Eckert at Queen’s
  • Katie Baillie-David, B.Sc. 2017 – M.Sc. student with Jason Fisher at U. Vic.
  • Natalie Litwinska, B.Sc. 2017 – travelling before starting a Master’s
  • Madison Marshall, B.Sc. 2017 – M.Sc. student with Scott MacIvor at University of Toronto – Scarborough
  • Philippe Tremblay, B.Sc. 2017 – Recently completed his M.Sc. with Heather Kharouba at uOttawa
  • Rebecca Janacek, UROP 2017-18 – continuing her BSc at uOttawa
  • Miriam Grenon, B.Sc. 2018 – J.D. candidate, uOttawa
  • Abbie Hudson, B.Sc. 2018 – Biologist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Genevieve George, B.Sc. 2019 – M.Sc. student in Geography, University of Ottawa
  • Marie-Ève Corbin, B.Sc. 2019
  • Leo Gutierrez, B.Sc. 2019
  • Charlotte Cahill, UROP 2016-2017, B.Sc. 2019, Mitacs 2019 – Front of House Manager at Alimentari Italian Grocery
  • Sherry (Xiaoyue) Wu, B.Sc. 2020
  • Daniel Pelletier, B.Sc. 2021
  • Sarah Knoerr, B.Sc. 2021
  • Erin Francispillai – Erin completed her honours thesis in spring 2021, and she’s just finishing up her B.Sc. at uOttawa before moving on to grad studies somewhere else (TBD!)

Lab dog:

  • Roscoe (2008-2018) helped keep our field sites free of motorcycles and mammalian herbivores from 2010 to 2018. He was a happy dog.
Roscoe at VB 21Aug2018
Roscoe at Virginia Basin, Colorado, 21 August 2018