Felicity Ni

PhD Student, University of Toronto


Predator-prey dynamics in a metabolomics driven model

Supervisors: Professor George Arhonditsis and Dr. Gurbir Perhar
University of Toronto (2014-Present)

Using an earlier model developed by Perhar and Arhonditsis (2014), we have added a predator-prey component to see how the internal processes of a Daphnia can interact with factors at the population-level to drive predator and prey populations.

Kowie River system ecology

Supervisors: Professor George Arhonditsis and Dr. Gurbir Perhar
University of Toronto (2013-Present)

We are developing an Ecopath model to analyze the trophic interactions in the Kowie River system of South Africa. Our model will be based on gut content analysis; analyses involving fatty acid and stable isotope analysis will be used to validate the model. We will be quantifying the relative contributions of allocthonous and autochthonous inputs to the system, as well as evaluating the systematic differences caused by spatial heterogeneity in this estuarine system.


Assortative mating of artificial flowers imposed by bumblebees

Supervisor: Professor James Thomson
University of Toronto (2012-13)

Using an artificial flower system we investigated pollinator-mediated selection, specifically the preferences of the common Eastern bumble bee, Bombus impatiens, for corolla tube lengths. We looked at whether or not corolla tube preferences areinvolved in assortative mating. We used a novel system of artificial dioecious flowers with food dye as an analog for pollen. Using spectrophotometry, we were able to analyze dye deposition and use it as a measure of male fitness in a controlled, hypothetical setting. We found that flowers with long corolla tubes had higher dye deposition, suggesting preferences for deeper corolla tubes. We also found more dye transfer within morphs than between morphs; female flowers of a certain tube length received a significantly higher proportion of dye from male flowers of the same “phenotype”. This finding supports our hypothesis of positive assortative mating between flowers of similar corolla tube lengths.

Risk-Benefit Analysis of Lake Erie Sport Fish

Supervisors: Dr. Satyendra Bhavsar and Dr. Margaret Neff
Ontario Ministry of Environment (2012)

Historically, Lake Erie has had numerous issues with water quality and contaminants, impacting fish health. We performed a risk-benefit analysis of fifteen fish species found in Lake Erie, comparing PCB and mercury levels against the health benefits of EPA and DHA fatty acids.