beside the riverEileen Reinke – M.Sc. student (since 2022)

I developed an interest in soil ecology while completing my undergraduate thesis with Dr. Lindo (2021-2022). I am interested in aboveground-belowground interactions and the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. For my M.Sc. I will explore how cover crop biodiversity affects agro-ecosystem services and functions to promote soil health and agricultural sustainability.

Dr. Zoë Lindo - Professor 

Dr. Zoë Lindo is an expert in soil biodiversity and ecosystem function.  They have worked extensively in Canadian forests including the mixed-wood boreal of Alberta, the subarctic taiga of Quebec, the coastal temperate rainforest of British Columbia, and the black spruce / peatlands of Ontario.  In their spare time, Dr. Lindo discovers and describes new species of soil arthropods.


The overall focus of my research aims to mitigate biodiversity loss in association with anthropogenic environmental change and maintain ecosystem functioning in Canadian forest and soil ecosystems. I describe myself as a biodiversity scientist to encompass the breadth of my research in the areas of community ecology, soil ecology, and taxonomy.


 Students, Postdocs, and Research Assistants

Tree hugging Holly  Holly Deighton – Ph.D. student (since 2021)

I received my B.Sc. in Biology from Western in 2017 and my M.Sc. in Environmental and Life Sciences from Trent University in 2020. For my master’s thesis, I studied the effects of wood ash application on temperate forest soils, soil water leachate, and vegetation. From 2020-2021, I worked as a Forest Research Intern and Project Biologist for the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry in the Forest Research and Monitoring Section, where I contributed to several projects in both the boreal and mixedwood forestry programs. I began my PhD in the fall of 2021, where I seek to understand the drivers of SOM decomposition, formation, and stabilization in managed boreal forests, specifically looking at both abiotic and biotic processes that regulate microbial carbon use efficiency (CUE). I hope this research will improve microbial-biogeochemical models by providing accurate estimates of CUE to predict how soil texture and silviculture impact microbial activities such as soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition and, ultimately, the stabilization of carbon in the boreal forest.



PedroPedro Henrique Conceição – M.Sc. student (since 2022) - transfer to Ph.D (Jan. 2024)

Mites are amazing; I find this out five years ago when a beetle full of phoretic mesostigs mites landed on my breakfast table.  Since then I have worked extensively with the diversity of soil mites in caves in the state of Minas Gerias- Brazil.  In the acarology laboratory of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), I worked directly in the curatorship of the taxonomic collection, identification and description of new species of mites, and in the production of support materials such as identification keys.

Mites never fail to pique my curiosity and desire to learn more about life on earth! This fall (Sept/2022) I joined the Lindo Lab team for my Master's degree under the guidance of Dr. Zoë Lindo where I seek in the ecological approach to expand the knowledge about predator/prey relationships and distribution patterns of acarofauna in Canadian peatlands.


Field work Sam Samantha Hopkins – M.Sc. student (since 2022)

I was introduced to Dr. Lindo through their soil ecology course during my undergrad here at Western and graduated in 2022 with an B.Sc. in Biology. This past summer I had the opportunity to work with the Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry branch of the Ontario government as a climate change research assistant. In this role, I gained valuable field experience working in Northern Ontario peatlands and examined fluctuations in net ecosystem exchange of CO2. This year I'll be pursuing a M.Sc. thesis, analyzing several vegetative indicators of climate change in peatlands and how the carbon balance of these systems will be affected.


CristinaCristina Turcu – M.Sc. student (since 2022) - co-supervised with Dr. Vera Tai

I graduated from Western in 2022 with a B.Sc. in Biology and Genetics, and I am very excited to begin the MSc in collaboration with Dr. Tai and Dr. Lindo. During my undergraduate studies I performed computational work using R, UNIX and Python to analyze data from microarrays, made databases for  bacteria, and built primers, as a volunteer.  I developed an interest in the effect of climate change on soils through the plant, microbiology, and genetic courses I took in undergrad, and personal interest in agriculture and crop production. The project I am working on involves examining the microbial diversity between two sites (intermediate and poor fen) and the effect that the experimentally warming treatments might have on the community composition of this group.


 EmelieEmelie Obi – M.Sc. student (since 2023) 

In 2021, I earned my BSc in Animal and Environmental Biology from the University of Port Harcourt (Uniport), Nigeria. During my undergraduate studies, I majored in Entomology - acquiring foundational knowledge in arthropod biology and ecology. However, my first introduction to soil ecology was during my BSc thesis research where I broadly studied the impact of oil palm cultivation on soil microarthropod communities. I joined the Lindo Lab in the summer of 2023 with an interest in studying the microfauna of boreal peatlands. For my current research, I use both field and controlled lab experiments to determine the response(s) of peatland biotic communities (oribatid mites) to global warming and other climate-related changes. 



João Martin - M.Sc. student (since May 2024)

I like to say that I didn't choose to study mites, the mites chose me. I started my journey into their universe in 2014. Since then, I've been working with a wide range of mites, but focusing more on the agricultural sector, working directly in taxonomy, doing laboratory tests (like predation and biology) and describing new species. I'm also passionate about working in the field, so I had the opportunity to be part of a committee that tried to solve the spotted fever mountain (caused by ticks). Over the course of my career, I have assisted numerous M.Sc. and Ph.D. students, as well as foreign researchers. I have published seven papers and was working on several others before my departure. In my senior project, I described a new species (Ascidae: Antennoseius) with a worldwide identification key for subgenus of 40 species. I joined Lindo Lab this summer (May/2024). And I'll be pursuing a M.Sc. thesis, being under her guidance will be such a great opportunity.

PaigePaige Ferguson – B.Sc. Honour's student (2023-2024) Summer Post-grad student 2024

I started my studies in 2019 at Ontario Tech University completing an Honours B.Sc. in Biology and later discovered my passion for environmental science. I transferred to Western University for my 3rd year, switching to an Honours B.Sc. with a specialization in environmental science. I feel very lucky to be working under Dr. Lindo this year during my Honours thesis along with their team of graduate students. My interest in environmental science has become focused on soil ecology as I learn more about the many mechanisms supporting the health and function of the Earth’s biomes each year. With the addition of ever-intensifying climate change, the importance of understanding soil communities is growing along with my desire to expand my knowledge on related topics.

I am now also a part of the Western Sustainability Leaders Program (WSLP) team, getting to spread awareness about the environment and sustainability around campus, interact with the community and organize events.


Lab Alumni

Postdoctoral Fellows, Postdoctoral Assistants and Visiting Students

Dr. Robert Buchkowski - 2019-2021

Katy Faulkner - 2021 Visiting Mitacs Ph.D. student

Dr. Mari Könönen - 2019-2020

Dr. Laurent Rousseau - 2018-2019

Dr. Asma Asemaninejad - 2017-2018


Matthew Meehan - Ph.D. (2018-2022)  Thesis: From individuals to communities: the effect of climate change on ectothermic predators

Carlos Barreto - Ph.D. (2016-2021) Thesis: Diversity and drivers of oribatid mites (Acari: Oribatida) in boreal peatlands

Asma Asemaninejad - Ph.D. (2013-2016 co-supervised with R.G. Thorn)  Thesis:  The impacts of climate change on communities of fungi in boreal peatlands

Catherine Dieleman - Ph.D. (2012-2016 co-supervised with B. Branfireun)  Thesis: Ecosystem level effects of climate change on northern peatlands


Trevor Pettit - M.Sc. (2021-2023)  Thesis: Changes in peatland soil fauna biomass alter food web structure and function under warming and hydrological changes

Madelaine Anderson - M.Sc. (2018-2020)  Thesis: Foliage type controls mercury input, storage and release in the Boreal forest

Grace Carscallen - M.Sc. (2018-2019)  Thesis: Arthropod diversity in contrasting Ontario peatlands

Caitlyn Lyons - M.Sc. (2017-2019)  Thesis: Above- and belowground community linkages in boreal peatlands and climate warming implications

Jordan Kustec - M.Sc. (2017-2018)  Thesis: Top-down and bottom-up effects on Collembola communities in soil food webs

Julia Palozzi - M.Sc. (2015-2017)  Thesis: Peatland plant-soil feedbacks dictate ecosystem properties and processes

Rachel Chambers - M.Sc. (2015-2017)  Thesis: The influence of adjacent forest and agriculture on restored grassland diversity and composition

Rosa Del Giudice - M.Sc. (2014-2016)  Thesis: Decomposition dynamics under climate change conditions in boreal peat

Paul George - M.Sc. (2013-2014)  Thesis: A comparison of community compositional analyses for the assessment of responses to wood-ash soil amendment by free-living nematodes

Matthew Turnbull - M.Sc. (2012-2014)  Thesis: The effects of global climate change on Canadian Boreal forest Collembola communities

Danielle Griffith - M.Sc. (2012-2014)  Thesis: Exploring climate change factors on nitrogen fixation and growth in the cyanobacterium Nostoc punctiforme

Rachel Darvill - M.Sc. (2012-2014)  Thesis: Comparing and mapping ecosystem service use across interest groups in the Peace River Valley

B.Sc. Honour's

Eileen Reinke – Honour's B.Sc. student (2021-2022)  Thesis: The interactive effects of acute temperature change and prey body size on ectotherm predator feeding behaviour and rate

Trevor Pettit – Honour's B.Sc. student (2020-2021)  Thesis:Modeling soil carbon cycling in boreal peatlands under future climate warming  

Shae-Lynn Dehens – Honour's B.Sc. student (2020-2021)  Thesis: Comparing vegetation survey methods for peatland communities under warming

Divya Ramachandra - B.Sc Honour's (2019-2020)  Thesis: Predation rate in Stratiolaelaps scimitus (Womersley) (Acari: Mesostigmata) in response to short-term acclimation

Aejah Blesch - B.Sc Honour's (2020)  Thesis: Assessing boreal peatland invertebrates (Diptera and Araneae) for mercury contamination

Emily Purvis - B.Sc. Honor's (2018-2019)  Thesis: Agricultural field margins as bumblebee (Bombus spp., Hymenoptera; Apidea) habitat in Southwestern Ontario

Devdutt Kamath - B.Sc. Honor's (2017-2018)  Thesis: Nematode functional diversity in contrasting boreal peatland sites

Nicole Pepe - B.Sc. Honor's (2016-2017)  Thesis: The effects of poly(ethyl)glyoxylate on microbial activity

Shauna Taylor - B.Sc. Honor's (2014-2015)  Thesis: The interactive role of edge effects and habitat quality in maintaining biodiversity

Matthew Meehan - B.Sc. Honor's (2014-2015)  Thesis: The effect of patch configuration disturbance for the recolonisation of mesofauna

Margaret Sawatzky - B.Sc. Honor's (2013-2014)  Thesis: Looking past the trees: The ecological significance of moss-associated cyanobacteria in response to climate change

Jamie Fraser - B.Sc. Honor's (2012-2013)   Thesis: Does functional diversity matter? Evaluating community responses of Collembola after Cd contamination and phytoremediation