Insect Low Temperature Biology
The Sinclair Lab at UWO

Dr. Stephanie Sobek
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PhD, 2008 University of Göttingen, Germany
MSc, 2002 University of Osnabrück, Germany

I completed my MSc in biology in Osnabrück and Berlin, working on the diversity and distribution of oribatid mites in the canopy of a Central European mixed forest in Switzerland.  After spending two years as a research associate in the biodiversity informatics lab (Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem, Freie Universität Berlin), I returned back to the forest in 2005 and started working towards my PhD degree in biodiversity and ecology in the Agroecology lab, University of Göttingen. I received a scholarship within the DFG Research Training Group 1086 “The role of biodiversity for biogeochemical cycles and biotic interactions in temperate deciduous forests” to investigate arthropod diversity and multitrophic interactions across a tree diversity gradient in the Hainich National Park.

My interest for forest arthropods was first triggered as an undergraduate exchange student at the University of Victoria, BC, in 1999/2000. In 2008, I happily returned to Canada to familiarize myself with insects at low temperatures and climate change, and joined the Sinclair lab as a postdoctoral fellow in the quest to fight back the emerald ash borer (EAB, Agrilus planipennis, Buprestidae).

The EAB is an invasive beetle species with devastating effects on Canada’s ash populations, infested trees die within short time. Together with Jill Crosthwaite, I work on cold tolerance of the EAB. In particular, we aim to predict temperature constraints on its potential distribution across Canada. We installed dataloggers for measuring microclimate in ash trees, and I will conduct experiments to investigate climate change effects. I am especially interested in figuring out how climate change effects such as sudden warm spells in winter, and late cold snaps in spring, affect fitness and survival of EAB larvae and prepupae.

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Stephi in a tree