Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph

Dr. Mehrdad Hajibabaei

Associate Professor
Centre for Biodiversity Genomics & Department of Integrative Biology

Dr. Mehrdad Hajibabaei’s research has focused on the application of genomics information to biodiversity analysis, ranging from the elucidation of deep branches of the tree of life to the development and application of DNA-based tools for species identification (e.g., DNA barcoding, DNA metabarcoding). Mehrdad is one of the pioneers using high-throughput genomics technologies such as Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) for the assessment of biodiversity in samples. These samples vary from bulk environmental water, soil, and sediments. He has played a leadership role in establishing and managing large-scale research projects and collaborative networks such as the Canadian Barcode of Life Network and the International Barcode of Life (iBOL)

In 2011, Mehrdad established Biomonitoring 2.0, a large-scale applied genomics project funded by Genome Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and Parks Canada. Since October 2018, he has been leading project STREAM, a $2.6 million project funded by Genome Canada in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada and ECCC. This ambitious project will apply genomic tools to the assessment of ecological health of major Canadian watersheds and will involve the engagement of citizen science community groups.

Office: Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, Rm 108
Lab: Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
Phone: 519-824-4120 x52487
Fax: 519-824-5703

Tamanna Kohi

Field, Outreach & Communications Coordinator

Tamanna received her Bachelor of Environmental Sciences/Studies from Trent University. She is the current Chair of the Board for the non-profit, Water Watchers and has five years of experience in environmental non-profit (ENGO)-based development and communications. As the Field, Outreach and Communications Coordinator, Tamanna works to utilize the Hajibabaei lab’s research to engage in initiatives that work towards improving and maintaining watershed health across Canada.

Room: 016 CBG
Lab: Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
Phone: 519-824-4120 x56007

Carley Maitland

Research Technician

Carley joined the Hajibabaei Lab in 2017 as a volunteer in her first year as an undergraduate student at the University of Guelph in Wildlife Biology and Conservation. Carley completed her undergraduate thesis investigating alternative sampling methods for diatom biomonitoring.

Since graduating in 2020, Carley has continued to foster her interests in molecular ecology and conservation as a full-time Research Technician. Her time is focused on project STREAM, testing new ways to optimize field and lab workflows for eDNA research, and supervising the lab’s undergraduate students.

Room:016 CBG
Lab:Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
Phone:519-824-4120 x56007

Dr. Teresita Porter

Research Associate 
Centre for Biodiversity Genomics

Terri’s research background is in ecology and evolution, mycology, and bioinformatics. Her current work focuses on using genomics methods to monitor water quality, soil health, and sustainability from environmental DNA (eDNA).  Terri has a special interest in how methodological bias affects the analysis of biodiversity and biomonitoring data.  With project STREAM, she will be focusing on using genomics methods to monitor benthic macroinvertebrate communities in streams.

Michael Wright

Laboratory Manager 
Hajibabaei Lab

Mike obtained his Master of Science degree in 2016 working under Dr. Hajibabaei, during which he investigated patterns in benthic invertebrate communities identified through DNA metabarcoding that were collected as part of the project, Biomonitoring 2.0. As part of the #STREAMteam, Mike works in collaboration with Dr. Robinson to receive and process all samples collected for DNA metabarcoding — from DNA extraction to sequencing.

Room: 016 CBG
Lab: Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
Phone: 519-824-4120 x56007

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)

Laura Maclean

Director of Environmental Science & Technology Laboratories  

Laura is based in North Vancouver, BC, at the Pacific Environmental Science Centre. She has worked for ECCC for 19 years, mostly on environmental assessment of major resource projects. Laura sees the potential and power of genomics to detect environmental change, to understand cumulative effects, and to support regulatory and enforcement programs. Along with her dedicated team, Laura is working to grow the capacity of ECCC’s water labs to provide genomic services to support the Department’s research, monitoring and enforcement obligations. 

Adam Martens

Technologist/Advisor, Scientific Support

With 15 years of invertebrate taxonomy experience, Adam has been involved with the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) since his studies at the University of New Brunswick. CABIN fieldwork has brought him to all corners of the country and with the recent launch of project STREAM, Adam has completed multiple seasons collecting DNA benthic samples. Streams, rivers, wetlands, lakes — he’s kicked them all.

Living Lakes Canada

Kat Hartwig

Founder & Executive Director

Kat has been involved in international, national and regional environmental advocacy issues relating to sustainable tourism, endangered species, corporate social responsibility and water based ecosystem health since 1983. Kat continues to advocate for land and water policy and protection mechanisms necessary to support biodiversity, source water protection and climate resilient communities.  She is an advisor for the Lake Windermere Ambassadors; BC water leaders consortium; Small Change Fund; Vancouver Foundation Environmental advisory; Canadian Freshwater Alliance advisory and the Columbia Basin Trust Climate Resilience Advisory.  

Kat is currently on the board of The Keepers of the Water, the Columbia Basin Water Stewardship Network and Global Nature Fund. She facilitates cross sector-corporate, academic, government and NGO partnerships and collaborations for water stewardship. She lives with her family near the headwaters of the Columbia River. Kat supports project STREAM through overseeing community-based water monitoring program development and fundraising.

Raegan Mallinson

Program Manager

Raegan has a foundation of experience in education, conservation and Indigenous relations with particular interest in water quality, biodiversity, experiential education and program development. She received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Calgary in Environmental Science, Biology concentration, has a certificate in Aboriginal Relations Leadership and is a CABIN certified Program Manager and Trainer. She has worked across Canada and internationally in Colombia to support communities set up water monitoring programs. She currently resides in Squamish, BC.

Raegan supports project STREAM through leading the community-based water monitoring training and data collection. She supports the team with the co-development of study design, online tools and website.

University of New Brunswick

Dr. Wendy Monk

Research Scientist (ECCC) & Visiting Research Professor 
Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management

Wendy’s interdisciplinary research focuses on ecohydrology, bioassessment index development and environmental flows. With the GAPP project, Wendy will be focusing on deploying statistical tools using the eDNA metabarcoding data to isolate individual and multiple stressor complexes that drive benthic macroinvertebrate community structure at local, regional and national scales.

Dr. Donald Baird

Research Scientist (ECCC) & Visiting Research Professor

Donald’s research focuses on the development of new tools and approaches to understand multiple stressor impacts in aquatic ecosystems, including rivers and wetlands. He has extensive experience working and advising on applied water issues both within and outside Canada. With Dr. Hajibabaei, he has pioneered the Biomonitoring 2.0 approach which fuses DNA metabarcoding technologies with geospatial approaches to provide rapid assessment tools for ecological risk assessment.

Founding Partner:
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada

The Hajibabaei lab and STREAM recognize the contributions of WWF-Canada as a founding partner.