My research integrates empirical and computational approaches to tackle diverse questions at various spatial and temporal scales. In particular, I am interested in how multiple stressors interact and influence communities from a quantitative perspective. Over the course of my MSc in Environmental Science at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (Canada) I developed models examining the movement of contaminants through aquatic food webs, with a particular focus on the Great Lakes region of North America. I then shifted focus for my PhD research with Dr. Shawn Leroux at Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada) to focussing on network ecology and food web research. In particular, I examined spatial drivers of species interaction in a spatially expansive freshwater food web, and contrasted these findings with models I developed. These models ranged from computational approaches looking at how network structure influences food web persistence, to more theoretical approaches examining how species-dependent influences metacommunity stability.
Going forward in the Tonkin Lab, I am interested in exploring how the incorporation of different interaction types and multiple stressors influence community theory from metacommunity models to food web models to ecosystem models.