Chelsea Rochman – Assistant Professor
I am currently on the faculty in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of Toronto.
Previously, I was a David H. Smith Postdoctoral Fellow at the Aquatic Health Program at the University of California, Davis. I received my PhD in a joint program with San Diego State University and UC Davis in Ecology and was advised primarily by Swee Teh and Eunha Hoh. For more about me, please download my CV.
Current Lab Members:
Keenan Munno – Lab Manager & Research Assistant
Keenan is a recent M.Sc. Ecology graduate from the University of Toronto with a particular interest in the fate and effects of microplastics in fish. Her work focused on method development, as well as microplastic ingestion and retention in freshwater fish from the Great Lakes. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Queen’s University in Biology, with a thesis in freshwater oil spill toxicology. She is continuing to pursue her interests in identifying and quantifying microplastics through her work as a Research Associate and Lab Manager in the Rochman lab.
Alice (Xia) Zhu – MSc Student
Alice is thrilled to be working on the issue of microplastics. Alice’s research involves collaborating with the San Francisco Estuary Institute to monitor microplastics in the San Francisco Bay, to model the sources of microplastics entering the Bay, and to propose policies to help protect the Bay from further pollution.
Clara Thaysen – MSc Student
Clara was an undergraduate student in our lab who majored in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Earth Sciences. She is now a MSc student researching the fate of microplastics in aquatic food webs. Her past research in our lab has investigated the potential leaching and toxicity of styrenes and other volatile chemicals from food packaging into food products. This project was in collaboration with 5 Gyres and MOECC. Clara is also continuing and finishing a project investigating plastic ingestion in seagulls and examining the fate of flame retardants to and from plastic debris in the gulls. This project is in collaboration with Miriam Diamond and Jonathan Verreault.
Rachel Giles – MSc Student
Rachel is excited to be studying urban runoff in Toronto streams. This project, in collaboration with Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the Sinton Lab will investigate how benthic macroinvertebrate communities respond to salt-laden urban runoff during the winter months. This multi-stressor, community-focused approach will complement current research that recognizes tire dust, road salts, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and metals as contaminants with harmful ecological effects.
Kennedy Bucci – PhD Student
Kennedy’s research focusses on the biological and ecological effects of microplastic pollution in freshwater environments. She is currently collaborating with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), studying the chemical and physical effects of various microplastics on freshwater fish. Her research goals include investigating the ecosystem-level effects of microplastic pollution using experimental mesocosms.
Lisa Erdle – PhD Student
Lisa researches the effects of microplastics on animals that are part of a Great Lakes food web. In her work, Lisa collaborates with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) as well as Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) to better understand how microfibers – one of the most common types of microplastics – impact fish and invertebrates through physical and chemical processes.
Joel Kim – PhD Student
Joel has an interest in anthropogenic contaminants, their effects on freshwater ecosystems, and revolving consequences to humans. In the Rochman Lab, his research involves looking at microplastics and associated chemical contaminants in freshwater fish caught for human consumption. This research is in collaboration with Paul Helm, Tim Ksrul, and Satyendra Bhavsar at the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.
Bonnie Hamilton – PhD Student
Bonnie received her B.S. with honors in Environmental Health Science from Alma College (Michigan). She is currently a PhD student researching the ecotoxicity of microplastics and their relationship with other anthropogenic stressors in Arctic ecosystems. Her work is in collaboration with local communities, Environment and Climate Change Canada and NGOs. Additionally, she is working with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute on a collaborative project evaluating the movement of microplastic and chemical pollutants in the Monterey Bay pelagic food web.
Samantha Athey – PhD Student (Rochman and Diamond Group)
Sam received her B.S. with honors and M.Sc. in Marine Science from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she conducted research on microplastic ingestion in marine species. She is currently completing her Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, studying microfiber and chemical loss from clothing in the context of Great Lake ecosystems. Learn more about microfiber pollution and her research through Sam’s blog: the Microfiber Pollution Project!
Dr. Stephanie Borrelle – David H. Smith Postdoctoral Fellow
Stephanie is a conservation ecologist from Aotearoa New Zealand. Her PhD was on the impact of marine threats (plastic, climate, fisheries) to the world’s highly threatened seabirds. Her passion for seabirds, which are disproportionately affected by marine plastic, led her to research focussed on effective solutions to this intensifying issue. In our lab, Stephanie is working to quantify the impacts of intervention strategies (e.g. single-use plastic bans, container deposit schemes, clean-ups, plastic cap & trade…etc) on reducing the flow of plastic pollution into the environment, which will inform governments and NGOs about what are the most effective strategies to reduce plastic pollution. Stephanie is collaborating with us, the Ocean Conservancy, and the Jambeck Research Group at the University of Georgia. To learn more about this work, visit: https://www.plasticpeg.org/.
Jan Bikker – Undergraduate Research Student
Jan is an undergraduate student studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She is working on a project with Trash Free Maryland investigating the composition and distribution of microplastics in the Chesapeake Bay. This summer, she will be studying the effects of microplastics on fish behaviour in collaboration with the ABEL lab at McMaster.
Hayley McIlwraith – NSERC Undergraduate Research Fellow
Hayley is an undergraduate student double majoring in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Cell & Systems Biology. Previously, Hayley has done work on microfiber release from laundry and has assisted with various projects in the lab. This summer she will be beginning microplastic sampling work across boreal lakes at the IISD-Experimental Lakes Area.
Lara Werbowski – NSERC Undergraduate Research Fellow
Lara is an undergraduate student double majoring in Environmental Science and Psychology and minoring in Environmental Studies. She is researching whether or not rain gardens filter microplastics from stormwater. This project is in collaboration with the San Francisco Estuary Institute.
Cole Brookson – Undergraduate Research Assistant
Cole is an undergraduate student majoring in Biodiversity & Conservation Biology with a double minor in Environmental Biology and Forest Conservation Science. In addition to assisting with microplastic monitoring in the San Francisco Bay, Cole’s research investigates the effects of plastic pollution on freshwater ecosystems.
Lauren Ead – Undergraduate Research Assistant
Lauren is an undergraduate student double majoring in Biology and Geography. She is currently assisting in the analysis of microplastic debris in the San Francisco Bay, and wishes to pursue future research concerning ecotoxicology.
Antonino Calarco – Undergraduate Research Assistant
Antonino is an undergraduate student double majoring in Biology and Italian. He is assisting with the extraction of microplastics from San Francisco Bay Estuary sediment samples.
Past Lab Members: