Michelle Gillespie, MSc

Michelle Gillespie, MSc

Lab Manager

Living with Lake Centre, Laurentian University

935 Ramsey Lake Road

Sudbury, ON

P3E 2C6

t. 705-675-1151 ext. 5042

f. 705-671-3857

I’m originally from Sault Ste. Marie Ontario, and completed my Bachelor of Science with Honours, specializing in conservations and restoration ecology at Laurentian University.  I have also been part of the Cooperative Freshwater Ecology Unit for the past 3 years, both as a student and employee.  My love of the outdoors and research experiences through my education and work at Laurentian have drawn me to the field of freshwater ecology.

Completed Thesis Title

Effect of Experimental Thermocline Deepening of a Small Boreal Lake on Fish Community Dynamics and Trophic Ecology

My recent research focused on shifts in fish ecology and food web dynamics associated with future climate changes.  As air temperatures increase, it is predicted that lake temperature will increase accordingly, potentially alternating the thermal structure of lakes.  For my research I used a whole-lake manipulation approach to test the potential biological response of the fish community following increased lake temperature and thermocline depth disruption.  A reservoir lake mixer is used to artificially deepen the thermocline of one basin in a small (19ha) three basin lake (Lac Croche, Quebec).  After the installation of the lake mixer thermocline depth set up at 4, 6, and 8m across the three basins during the summer period.  My goal is to demonstrate how changes in lake thermal stratification and temperature can affect available thermal habitat and food web structure of boreal fish.  By monitoring the population abundance and food web through stable isotope ratios of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) for two summers where thermocline deepening occurred followed by a summer of natural stratification, I can assess both the disruption and recovery.  These results will provide a better understanding of how aquatic organisms will react to future climatic events.


Sudbury Game and Fish Protective Association Scholarship, 2012

Fisheries and Oceans Canada Habitat and Restoration Bursary, 2012

Clemens-Rigler Travel Award, Canadian Conference for Fisheries Research, 2012