Alexandra Engler
PhD Candidate

Laboratory of Community and Quantitative Ecology & Fraser Lab
Biology Department
Concordia University

Supervised by Dr. Pedro Peres-Neto & Dr. Dylan Fraser

Functional redundancy and phenotypic integration in lake fish communities: insights on their assembly mechanisms 

Understanding how species coexist is one of the core challenge of ecology. Many approaches have been developped to answer to this question, the one I am using in my research project is the functional approach: instead of focusing on the species identity, I am more interested in the characteristics (e.g. morphology, diet, behaviour…) of species. My project focuses on patterns in the similarities between coexisting fish species in Ontario’s lakes and how those patterns change across a large scale environmental gradients. I will also study how those patterns have changed between 1960 and 2012. This project is mainly theoretical ecology, but studying the functional component of biodiversity is important to understand how this biodiversity is structured, change with environmental conditions and help conservation efforts.