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Current members

Justine Karst – PI

Justine is a restoration ecologist who studies linkages between above and belowground components of forests. Her interests include mycorrhizal ecology, community ecology, disturbance ecology, rhizosphere carbon dynamics and molecular biology.

Justine Karst full bio


Paul Metzler - MSc student

Paul is a Masters student interested in plant and fungal interactions, above/below ground relationships, and restoration ecology. He worked as a biological science technician for the US Army Corps of Engineers while completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon. He has been involved in projects relating to biological soil crusts in the American southwest, tropical fungal endophytes, and threatened Kincaid’s Lupine in the remnant prairies of western Oregon. He will be working on establishing DNA based methods to identify plant roots in northeastern Alberta.

Joseph_small Joseph Cooper - MSc student 

Joseph is pursuing an MSc in Forest Biology & Management. He is interested in mycorrhizal topology, restoration ecology, and forest structure/composition. Prior to starting at the University of Alberta, he received his undergraduate B.S. degree in Conservation and Restoration Ecology from Utah State University located in his hometown of Logan, Utah. Previous work and research experience focused on old-growth forests within the western United States. Joseph is co-supervised by Suzanne Simard. 

Evan_smallEvan Fellrath -  MSc student 

Evan is interested in fungal-plant associations, including mycorrhizae, endophytes and pathogens, as well as community and disturbance ecology. He earned his bachelors in Environmental Biology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He has worked for the United States Forest Service in southeast Alaska, as well as for various New York State research projects such as the American Chestnut Foundation. Evan is currently studying communities of mycorrhizal fungi in beetle killed lodgepole pine stands across various landscapes, and is assessing the efficacy of inoculation of pine seedlings with fungi from healthy pine stands to counteract the effects of detrimental fungal taxa often occurring in high-mortality beetle-killed stands. Evan is co-supervised by Nadir Erbilgin. 

GregGregory J. Pec - Postdoc

Greg is an ecologist with broad research interests on the role of natural and human-caused disturbance, environmental heterogeneity, plant-soil interactions and biotic interactions in shaping the structure, and, in turn, the functioning of ecological communities. Greg is currently working on examining the role of ectomycorrhizal fungi in boreal forest restoration. Greg is co-supervised by Simon Landhäusser. 



Jean Carlos Rodríguez-Ramos - MSc student

Jean Carlos will determine whether soil fungal communities vary in composition among forests impacted by individual and cumulative disturbances (i.e., fire, mountain pine beetle outbreak or harvesting).  As part of this project, he will also assess if lodgepole pine seedling growth improves when grown in soils amended with undisturbed soils and primer plantings. Jean Carlos is co-supervised by Nadir Erbilgin. 

Marc_smallMarc La Fleche - MSc student

Marc is exploring the relationships between tree growth and rooting behaviour in reclaimed oil sand sites when compared to naturally occurring oil sand outcrops. Since graduating from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, he has developed extensive field experience conducting biological surveys across the Albertan boreal forest from the foothills of the Rockies to Wood Buffalo National Park. Stepping back into the academic world, he is hoping to deepen his understanding of ecology and its importance in improving our current reclamation practices

Josh photoJosh Wasyliw - Field technician

After working for years as an archaeologist in northern British-Columbia, Josh has returned to university with an interest in plant biology and mycorrhizal ecology. Josh’s current research project is focused on fine root distribution and its relation to stand age in jack pine stands. The abundance, diversity and distribution of ectomycorrhizal fungi will also be examined to see how it compares between sites.


Dana_PicDana Hopfauf - Field Technician

Dana is working towards a BSc. in Forestry at the University of Alberta. She is in her third year and hopes to graduate in 2019. When finished, she is interested in working as a silviculturist. She is also interested in forest ecology and is thinking about pursuing a masters. Dana is currently working as a research assistant for the summer. She is eager to apply what she has learned in her courses as well as learn more about research practices and forest ecology. 


Angelica Rice - Field Technician

Angie is an Environmental Science student from Mount Royal University who will be completing her undergraduate degree in the fall. With a variety of interests including wildlife and biodiversity conservation, Angie is excited to be joining the Karst Lab for the summer. Interested in potentially continuing her education after completing her undergrad, she looks forward to learning about the different research projects being conducted in the Karst Lab.  



Chloe Christenson - Field Technician

Chloe is a research assistant helping out the team for the summer. She is interested in getting both field and lab experience on all the projects happening in the lab this summer. She has had past field experience in Fort McMurray, Alberta collecting butterflies. This was for a community ​study, investigating the effects of seismic lines and other disturbances on butterfly populations. She just graduated from the University of Alberta from the Environmental and Conservation sciences program with a Conservation Biology major. She is excited to explore the possibilities after finishing her degree.

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