(a.k.a. students)

Leila Forsyth – Lab Manager
(2021 – present)

After Leila finishing her PhD at the University of Toronto with Dr. Benjamin Gilbert, Leila joined the Messier lab as a Post-Doctoral researcher to study how intra-provenance covariation may affect the response of Picea mariana to climate change. You can find her on Google scholarLinkedIn, or twitter.

Lina Aragón – PhD Candidate
(2020 – present)

Lina studies the relationship among functional traits, productivity and climate gradients in individual temperate trees using a greenhouse experiment. She is based at the University of Waterloo and co-supervised by Christian Messier at Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO).

Reshani Abayasekara – Research assistant
(F2021 – present)

Reshani is an undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo studying Honors Life Sciences with minors in mathematics and biology. In her role as a research assistant she helps projects in the greenhouse.

Victoria Stapells – Coop research assistant
(W2022 – present)

Tanya Sarin – Coop research assistant, USRA awardee
(W2022 – present)

Jahanvi Chauhan – Coop research assistant
(S2022 – present)

(a.k.a. alumni)

Cynthia Nomanee – Research assistant

Cynthia finished their BSc in Biology in W2022. They completed their honors thesis in paleolimnology and diatoms. They hope to pursue their Master’s in Ecology. They are currently passionate about plants, writing, and weightlifting.

Ramisa Sekander – Coop research assistant

Ramisa worked her first co-op term with the Messier Lab in F2021. She enjoyed helping Leila and Lina with their sample processing and hopes to pursue biological research in the future. On her days off, you can find her painting, with friends, or sipping pumpkin cream cold brews at your nearest bakery.

Émilie Seyer-Lamontagne – MSc Student
(2019 – 2021 _ incomplete)

Émilie studied functional trait variation in the ectomycorrhizal communities associated with fir saplings. She was based at the Université de Montréal in the Chagnon lab. She is now a Laboratory Analyst at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Christina Rossi – Lab Technician, USRA Awardee
(W2019 – S2021)

For her honor’s thesis, Christina tested the best methods for measuring tree growth from rings in eccentric tree cross-sections. She is now working on her MSc research on plant immunity at Laurier U. in the Castroverde lab. She also busies herself writing up her Honor’s research for publication. As a lab technician, Christina managed the day-to-day on the Arabidopsis pilot projects.

Natalie Vuong – Lab Technician
(W2019 – F2021)

For her honour’s thesis, Natalie explored the relationship between tree ecophysiology and hosted communities of epiphytic bryophytes and lichens. She is currently continuing with the analyses and writing this up for publication. As a lab technician, she oversaw the Messier Lab garden, Green Labs Initiative, this website and assisted with daily activities including Lina’s 2021 greenhouse experiment. On her off time, Natalie enjoys climbing, chicken nuggets, and general chaos.

Arunemathi Shanmugam – Research assistant

Arunemathi Shanmugam is a student at the University of Waterloo studying Environmental Sciences with a specialization in Ecology. As a research assistant, she helped with projects in the greenhouse.

Justin Yu – Coop research assistant

Justin is a student at the University of Waterloo studying Environmental Science with a specialization in ecology. As a research assistant, he helped with various projects compiling and cleaning data and doing literature reviews.

(a.k.a. collaborators)


Dr. Mark Vellend, Université de Sherbrooke, Canada
Dr. Cyrille Violle, CNRS, France
Dr. Brian J. Enquist, University of Arizona, USA
Dr. Martin J. Lechowicz, McGill University, Canada
Dr. Brian J. McGill, University of Maine, USA


Dr. Sam Wuest, Agroscope Switzerland

Dr. Bob Muscarella, Upsalla University, Sweden
Dr. François Vasseur, CEFE CNRS, France
Dr. Adrien Taudière, CEFE CNRS, France
Dr. Andrew Siefert, UC Davis, USA
Dr. Cécille Albert, CNRS, France
Dr. Daniel D. Kneeshaw, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
Dr. Daniel Laughlin, University of Wyoming, USA
Dr. Jens Kattge, Max-Planck-Institute, TRY database, Germany
Dr. Kechang Niu, Nanjing University, China


Dr. Louise Comas, USDA – my root traits resource
Dr. John Sperry – my plant hydraulics resource
Dr. Melvin Tyree – my plant physiology resource
Dr. David Killick – my microscopy resource


Field Assistants:
Florencia Cappiello (2018), Nikola Tutic (2016), Anke Roth (2014), Émilie Lavoie (2012), Natasha Salter (2012), Andréanne Ferland (2011), Carol Mordy (2011), Ricardo Cossio (2008)

Lab Assistants:
Christina Rossi (2019), Natalie Vuong (2019), Mariette Laumond (2018), Gabriel Bergeron (2017), Sarah Gaignard (2016), Sierra Kaszubinski (2014), Sanga Shir (2014), Surbhi Patel (2013), Margretta Murphy  (2012-2013), John Lacson (2012-2013), Kevin Wang (2012-2013), Sarah Schwenck (2011-2012), Anjeanette McKay (2012), Casey Knoks (2012),  Meghan Iacuelli (2011-2012), Shahrzad Badie (2012), Irene Liang (2011), Jordyn Celaya (2011), Mélisanne Loiselle-Gascon (2008)

All of you make my research possible. Thanks for inspiring and motivating me.