Sarah Sanderson

McGill University
Ph.D. candidate

Supervisor: Andrew Hendry
Start: 2021-01-01
End: 2025-04-30


The effects of human disturbances on phenotypic means and variances
Throughout my thesis I focus on answering two general questions: how do human disturbances change mean trait values and phenotypic variation within populations? To do so, I first conducted a synthesis of how human disturbances affect changes in mean trait values and phenotypic variation using a large database. I am now conducting case studies to investigate the effects of different types of human disturbances (on means and variance) using a model organism, Gasterosteus aculeatus, in an exemplary study area, Haida Gwaii, BC. The stickleback populations of Haida Gwaii, offer an excellent opportunity to investigate these questions relating to intraspecific trait changes. The diversity of freshwater habitats colonized by stickleback resulted in an impressive amount of variation including giant stickleback and unarmoured stickleback. More importantly, the Redpath Museum is now home to a comprehensive collection of sticklebacks from across Haida Gwaii dating back to the 70s. I leverage this collection to make temporal comparisons of pre- and post-human disturbance.