Ricciardi Lab
Invasion Ecology & Aquatic Ecosystems

Redpath Museum & Bieler School of Environment
McGill University

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Research Interests

Curriculum Vitae

   Gen D'Avignon
   Sunci Avlijas
   Heather Reid
   Jessamine Trueman
   Christophe Benjamin
   Noémie Sheppard

Selected Publications

Media Coverage

Invasive Species

Lab News

Graduate Students


The fate of microplastics in fluvial food webs.


For my PhD research, I am using a network approach to evaluate the ecological risks associated with microplastic contamination of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River system. To keep this research ecologically and socially relevant, I am using microplastics concentrations reported from environmental samples from the St. Lawrence River to design experiments to generate detailed knowledge of their bioavailability to wildlife, their pathway of entry and fate in food webs, and their impacts on aquatic communities. More specifically, I am using a community module of three highly interacting species: dreissenid mussels, gammarid amphipods and round gobies to understand the role of environmental abundance, vector pathways and species interactions - including trophic (predator-prey) and behavioural (mutualistic, commensalistic) interactions - on microplastic contamination within aquatic food webs.



Spatio-temporal variation in the colonization success and impacts of globally invasive freshwater fishes.


My PhD research investigates patterns of colonization and impact of invasive freshwater fishes. My model species include the Round Goby and the Tench (Tinca tinca). The latter is a Eurasian species that has been introduced globally. I am taking a large-scale approach to understanding context-dependent variation across local, regional and biogeographic scales, using a combination of field surveys, functional response experiments and morphometric (shape space) analysis. My field work is currently being conducted in various areas of North American and South Africa.



Responses of invasive fishes to elevated surface temperatures in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River system.


My MSc research focuses on the behavioural and physiological responses of invasive fish populations to climate change. I am evaluating the feeding rates and critical thermal maxima of round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) populations from the lower Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River at different temperatures. Populations within an invaded range may vary in their feeding and physiological responses to temperature, and thus their impacts, due to local adaptation, genetics, or other factors. My research aims to provide more information on inter-population variation and the effects of climate change on these populations to allow for more targeted risk assessment and management plans.

Heather Reid


Experimental studies on the impacts of invasive goldfishes (Carassius spp.)


For my MSc research, I am interested in the thermal ecology of ‘goldfishes’ (Carassius species) and how they might benefit from climate warming in temperate regions. Multiple species of Carassius have invaded lakes and rivers throughout the world, and a few of these species are well established in North America. Using lab experiments, I am comparing growth rates and feeding efficiencies of various invasive populations of common goldfish C. auratus and an invasive population of the Prussian carp C. gibelio, under projected warming scenarios for nearshore areas of the lower Great Lakes and upper St. Lawrence River.

Jessamine Trueman


Impact of European Tench (Tinca tinca) on native benthivorous fishes.


The tench, a globally invasive freshwater fish, has been introduced in the Richelieu River some 30 years ago. Since then, it has spread all over the St. Lawrence River and will soon colonize eastern Lake Ontario. The tench is known for its tremendous environmental tolerance, and negative impacts on aquatic ecosystems have been documented. In recent years, its rapid range expansion has brought this species to the attention of Great Lakes managers and stakeholders. I am particularly interested in the competitive impact of tench on native catostomids, an ecologically important group of fishes which include species-at-risk. To test this, my MSc research compares growth rates of both tench and functionally-similar native species using conspecific and interspecific treatments in mesocosm experiments. In addition, I am working in collaboration with other researchers on methods of tench capture and prediction of establishment success based on historical data.



Predicting context-dependent impacts of invasive crayfishes.


I am primarily interested in the relationship between environmental context and the invasion success. My MSc research predicts how increased surface water temperatures, following climate change, may modify the impacts of invasive crayfish in the Great Lakes. Focusing on two invasive crayfish from aquaria, namely the red swamp (Procambarus clarkii) and marbled crayfish (Procambarus virginalis), my work examines the effect of temperature on resource consumption and competition. Following previous work in the lab, resource consumption will be modelled using comparative functional responses, and resource competition will be modelled with various agonistic interaction experiments. The aim of this research is to better inform policy surrounding the importation of potentially invasive crayfishes into Canada.

Noemie Sheppard