Wagner Ecology Lab


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Viktoria Wagner, PI cv

2018 Assistant Professor, U Alberta
2014 Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, Masaryk U
2011 Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow, U Montana
2011 PhD, U Halle-Wittenberg
2006 Diploma (MSc), U Göttingen

BIOL 208 - Principles of Ecology (2019-2022),
BIOL 430/530 - (Advanced) Statistical Design and Analysis in Biology (since 2018),
BIOL 395 - Field Botany (summer 2023)

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Martin Hinojosa, MSc student

I completed my undergraduate studies in Ecosystem Engineering at the Ikiam Amazon Regional University, in Ecuador. I participated in research projects at the interface of ecology and tropical forest biology, and I am interested in many questions involving biodiversity management and conservation. My research project focuses on assessing the degree of spread of Caragana arborescens and the factors that favor its invasiveness in the Central Parkland and the Central Mixedwood subregions of Alberta.

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Kaitlin Holden, MSc student

I completed my BSc in Environmental and Conservation Sciences at the University of Alberta. Prior to beginning my graduate studies I worked in government and the non-profit sector. I am interested in understanding the role of soil nutrients and anthropogenic disturbance in habitat invasibility. My research project compares nutrient dynamics and levels of non-native plant invasion across habitats in the Central Parkland Subregion of Alberta.

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Britton McNerlin, Msc student

I completed my BSc in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Conservation Biology and Ecology at Arizona State University. My research project focuses on the invasiveness of small-sized nonnative annual forbs and their ecological impact on grassland and meadow communities. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, making art, and avoiding getting hit by cars while biking.

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Raytha Murillo, PhD student

I completed my BSc in Biological Sciences and MSc in Ecology and Limnology at the State University of Maringá, Brazil. My research project focuses on comparing the levels of alien plant invasion across habitats of the Alberta prairie in order to find similarities among the impacted habitats. These results will contribute to a solid theoretical framework applicable to conservation efforts and risk assessment across ecosystems. In my free time, my other interests include outdoor activities, fitness and occasional gaming.

Undergraduate research students

Emily Wong (BIOL 498, Winter 2023)

Cole Vandemark (BIOL 499, Fall/Winter 2022/23)

Kateri Robinson (BIOL 398, Fall 2022)

Hima Patel (BIOL 499, Fall/Winter 2021/22)

Cedric Villasor (BIOL 499, Fall/Winter 2021/22)

Mikaela Lazarenko (BIOL 398, Winter 2022)

Maya Juckes (BIOL 398, Winter 2022)

Kellie Yang (BIOL 299, Winter 2022)

Daniel Tucker (BIOL 499, Fall/Winter 2020/21)

Elise Hansen (BIOL 498, Winter 2021)

Cedric Villasor (BIOL 299, Winter 2021)

Rachelle Lugar (BIOL 299, Winter 2021)

Tawnee Dupuis (BIOL 499, Fall/Winter 2019/20, co-supervision with Mark Boyce)

Kenny Oppon (BIOL 499, Fall/Winter 2018/19, co-supervision with JC Cahill)

Diana Johnstone (BIOL 499, Winter 2018)

Former Lab members

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Ricarda Pätsch, Postdoctoral researcher

Please visit my website for more information about me: ricardapaetsch.weebly.com

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Zoey Zapisocki, MSc student

I am studying levels of non-native plant invasion along a latitudinal gradient of native prairie grassland in Alberta, Canada. Field data will be analyzed to determine the role of climate and anthropogenic disturbance as predictors of invasibility in prairie grassland. Prior to starting graduate studies, I worked in environmental consulting and government, and I earned my Professional Agrologist (P.Ag.) designation in 2018.
Education: BSc Environmental and Conservation Sciences, University of Alberta, 2014

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Mário Sérgio Dainez Filho, visiting PhD student (U Maringá)

I completed my MSc in Ecology and Limnology at the State University of Maringá, Brazil. I am interested in understanding the processes related to aquatic plant invasions providing answers to questions such as: What are the pathways of introduction of these organisms? How do aliens affect the native biota? What does make some organisms more invasive than others? I tackle my research questions through experiments, field sampling, and data compilation and analysis.

Interested in joining us?

Undergraduate students

We will be recruiting UofA undergraduate research students for 1-2 BIOL 398/498 and BIOL 399/499 projects in Fall/Winter 2023/2024. Contact Viktoria by May 31, 2023, if you are interested.

Summer 2023 position: We are looking for a UofA undergraduate student to apply for a USRA and join our project on invasive Caragana arborescens invasions.

Graduate students

We have currently no open positions.


Our department is equipped with greenhouses and the University operates field stations in central southern Alberta. Soil and plant samples can be analyzed in the lab, and at NRAL and BASL. Edmonton hosts is home to two herbaria (ALTA at our university and the PMAEM). The U Alberta Botanical Garden is just 30min away in Devon. The city lies in a transitional zone between the temporate and boreal zones. The prairie grasslands (in the south) and the Rocky Mountains (further west) are just 2h away by car.

Lab news

16 February 2024 Congratulations to Raytha for her PhD paper accepted in the Journal of Applied Ecology!

15 February 2024 We are looking for a full-time field technician to help us with a field survey in southern Alberta (July 1 - Aug 15). Please apply to Viktoria Wagner by Feb 26.

14 January 2024 Welcome to Danielle, our BIOL 298 undergraduate research student who is conducting a seed ecology project with Elk Island National Park!

19 December 2023 We are looking for an MSc student to join our Caragana project in September 2024. Apply by January 10, 2024. For more details see here

19 December 2023 Cedric's and Kateri's paper on the invasiveness of grasses was accepted in Oikos! Read it here

24 August 2023 Kaitlin received a Graduate Student Teaching Award! Well done, Kaitlin!

21 August 2023 Congratulations to Raytha for securing a McAfee Estate Scholarship Botany!

17 August 2023 Viktoria taught a new Field Botany course at our department. Thanks to: Shelby (Vinebrook lab) for TA support, City of Edmonton and Edmonton & Area Land Trust, Leduc county, Alberta Native Plant Council for permissions, Patsy Cotterill (plant lists, discussions), and the course participants for being awesome students!

31 August 2023 Martin, Tia and Jake finished their Caragana field sampling season. Stay tuned for future publications from our lab on Caragana invasiveness! Great work, team!

News archive