People

Max Spiess

My name is Max Spiess, I am from Upper Tantallon, Nova Scotia. I am going into my 3rd year at StFX University looking to complete an Honours degree in biology with a minor in Chemistry. I love spending time near or on the ocean, as well as playing sports and training at the gym. This summer I am getting my first experience with research as part of the Wyeth Lab’s Lobster Foraging group. I am very grateful for this opportunity to be involved in research and I am very excited to see how it goes as I love groupwork and I love biology! Getting this research experience is very beneficial to me as it opens up a lot of career opportunities for my future, and it allows me to further my biological knowledge.

Makayla Butorac

My name is Makayla Butorac and I am from Peterborough, Ontario. I am going into my third year at St.F.X. University, with hopes of graduating with a Joint Honours in Biology and Psychology. I love spending time in nature and have a great passion for animals. This summer I will be working with the Wyeth Lab and exploring the behaviour of the freshwater snail, Lymnaea stagnalis. I am excited for this opportunity because it beautifully combines my interests of biology and psychology. It will also show me what research is like and provide me with further insight into potential career options I would enjoy. 

Kylie Curnew

My name is Kylie Curnew and I am from Hughes Brook, Newfoundland. I am going into my second year at StFX where I am studying health. I enjoy being outside, around animals and collecting plants. I am working with the Wyeth Lab in the biofouling project this summer. This is my first experience in research but I am a curious person with a passion for biology and I am so excited to get involved! 

Grace Walls

Grace Walls is a first year PhD student in the St. FX and Memorial University joint program looking to unravel the mysteries of lobster foraging ecology. She completed her B.S. in Biology with minors in Natural Resource Conservation and Psychology from University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2013. From there she developed 6 different marine education programs for different NPOs and school systems of her native Cape Cod. Drawn to research, she went aboard the NOAAS Henry B. Bigelow which started off the adventure of hundreds of sea days spent on both fishing and research vessels around the globe. The majority of her time was spent with the Alaskan fishing fleets based the Aleutian Islands, sailing in the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska. Migrating to the Baltic Sea for her masters in Biological Oceanography her thesis monitored the effects of changing environmental conditions on plastic ingestion and feeding ecology of benthopelagic fish. Now switching gears once again and settling benthically to work with invertebrates, Grace is excited to see where the next 4 years will bring her.

Donica Larade

My name is Donica Larade and I am from Halifax, Nova Scotia. I just graduated May 2021 with a degree in biology at StFX. This is my second year working in the Wyeth lab as a research assistant. In the gastropod neuroanatomy group, I am currently working on two projects analyzing neurotransmitter distribution in the gastropod nervous system. Using immunohistochemistry, I’ve been labelling catecholamines in sea slug Tritonia exsulans and pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis, and I am thankful to help with furthering our understanding. I’m happy for the opportunity to have this experience, and will hopefully continue my work on invertebrates in the future.  

Katherine Purvis

My name is Katherine Purvis, and I recently graduated from Saint Mary’s University with a BSc and Honours in Biology. I am working for the Wyeth Lab as a Research Technician with the support of the Career Launcher internship program. This summer will be my third year in research, however it is my first summer with the Wyeth Lab. In my previous work experiences, I have worked as a Research Assistant at Saint Mary’s University in a molecular genetics lab and a physical chemistry lab. During my internship, I will be assisting a project on the development of environmentally conscious antifouling treatments. I am very excited about this opportunity, and I am looking forward to my time at StFX. 

Laura Brady

My name is Laura Brady and I am from Ottawa, Ontario. I just graduated from StFX this past spring with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. This will be my second summer conducting research with the Wyeth lab on the lobster foraging project. The goal of the project is to test bait preferences of the American lobster in the hopes of gaining more knowledge on one of the most important fisheries in Canada. On this project, I will continue my role in data management as well as assisting the field crew with data collection. I will also be working to collect data for another project on the acoustic behaviour of American lobsters. The findings from these projects may also allow us to provide advice for lobster harvesters to make the fishery more sustainable. I am happy to be working with a great team once again and excited to spend the summer learning and challenging myself.

Ally Hunter

I am from New Providence in The Bahamas and I’m going into my fourth year at St. Francis Xavier University. I am doing an advanced major in Biology and hope to do directed studies in the fall. I enjoy reading, spending time near the water, and making observations about my environment. In intending to become a marine biologist, I feel doing research and getting experience in situ will help me to better navigate the path I would like to take to achieve my goals. I am excited and grateful for this opportunity to participate in the research project on biofouling this summer.

Carmen Ucciferri

My name is Carmen Ucciferri and I am from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. I am going into my second year at StFX University, with the hopes of graduating with a Joint Honors in Biology and Math. I was always interested in participating in some type of research before I was done my undergraduate degree, and so this summer, I decided to become a part of the Wyeth Lab and to take on the task of studying the behavioural response to predator odours in the species of snail Lymnea stagnalis. I will be testing the snail’s responses in both flow and no flow condition using crayfish, which are a natural predator to this species of snail. While snails may not sound very exciting to some, I can’t wait to spend the summer working with them to further understand their behaviour!

Rachel Webber

I graduated from Oregon State University with B.S. degrees in wildlife science and psychology, interested in animal cognition and using wildlife behaviors to help solve conservation problems. I’ve worked on projects with wild rodents, mule deer, elk, tree swallows, violet-green swallows, captive gray wolves, drafting a Conservation Efforts Assessment Plan, and investigating canine understanding of probability.

 I have also worked for the US Forest Service as a summer wildlife technician for two seasons, USGS and BLM as a feral horse and burro research technician, and contracted with the Oregon Department of Forestry as a marbled murrelet surveyor. I was accepted into the StFX Biology MSc program, and will be investigating lobster bait preferences and behavior around food sources. After I complete my master’s degree, I hope to move on to a Ph.D. in wildlife behavior and conservation.