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Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae: Welcome


Currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Mandrak Lab
at the University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus

I am currently investigating the ecophysiology and human dimensions of invasive goldfish in Ontario.

Ph. D. in Biology, Dalhousie University

I studied how ecologically realistic temperatures influence phenotypic plasticity within and across generations in zebrafish. I was supervised by Dr. Jeffrey Hutchings and Dr. Anne Dalziel (Saint Mary's University).

M. Sc. in Ecology and Evolution, University of Toronto

During my M. Sc., I studied the effects of temperature on sex determination and growth in embryonic Snapping Turtles under Njal Rollinson.

B. Sc. in Biology, Minor Natural History, McGill University

I completed my B. Sc. at McGill with a focus on development and paleontology. I did undergraduate research with Hans Larsson on chick development.

Curriculum Vitae: Education

Grants, Awards, & Recognitions

Begins Sept 2023

I am a Liber Ero & NSERC PDF combined fellow in the lab of Dr. Nicholas Mandrak. I am researching ecophysiology and public outreach using invasive Goldfish in Ontario as a model. Total value: $210,000 over 3 years, plus $30,000 research budget.

UTSC Postdoctoral Fellowship

Declined offer for UTSC Postdoctoral Fellowship. $45,000 over 2 years.

2023, Declined

We earned a competitive $20,000 award to support Diversity of Nature's BIPOC-led ocean outreach.


We earned a competitive $15,000 grant to support Diversity of Nature's youth outreach in the HRM.



"The ASN/SSE/SSB Inclusiveness, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) Award was created in 2019 by the American Society of Naturalists (ASN), the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE), and the Society of Systematic Biologists (SSB). The IDEA Award is given to a person at any career stage who has strengthened the ecology and evolutionary biology community by promoting inclusiveness and diversity in our fields. "

Winner of the inaugural Outstanding Graduate Student Dalhousie IMPACT Award for service to my department and academic achievement.



We were awarded a grant of $37,500 on top of $12,500 in crowdfunding for our Diversity of Nature BIPOC-focused educational outreach program from the Marine Environmental, Observation, Prediction, and Response Network (MEOPAR).

Dalhousie University President's Award

Awarded to outstanding Ph. D. students in their first two years; covers tuition (Appx. $11,000 per year)


Killam Doctoral Fellowship

Awarded to Ph. D. students on the basis of academic excellence, research potential, and leadership. ($30,000 per yr)


NSERC CGS-D Fellowship

National scholarship awarded by NSERC. ($105,000)


Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Scholarship

Provincial scholarship from the Nova Scotia Government. (Total value: $60,000, declined from 2019 onwards).


Alexander Graham Bell CGS-M Scholarship

National scholarship awarded by NSERC. ($17,500)


University of Toronto Institutional Awards (Various)

Recipient of: Harold Harvey Travel Award (2017, $400); Margaret and Nicholas Fodor Fellowship ($500); Talvila Graduate award ($830); A. Murray Fallis Graduate Award in Zoology ($1300); William J. Jack Christie Graduate Award in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology ($2000)


Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award

Awarded to two outstanding teaching assistants based on student and teaching supervisor reviews.


Frederick P. Ide Graduate Scholarship in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Awarded to an incoming graduate student on the basis of academic merit by the University of Toronto. ($1,550)


Friends & Alumni Entrance Scholarship

Awarded to an incoming graduate student based on academic merit by the University of Toronto. ($4000)


Awarded to a student who has shown outstanding leadership, academic excellence, and outstanding contributions to the Redpath Museum by McGill University upon graduation ($300)


A research grant awarded to an undergraduate researcher based on academic excellence and project potential by the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science ($3000)


Awarded to new students of McGill University based on academic merit and leadership ($6000)


Awarded to an outstanding scholar entering post-secondary by the University of Toronto.


Govenor Generals Bronze Academic Medal

Awarded to the student who achieves the highest average upon graduation from a secondary school.


Curriculum Vitae: List

Conference Presentations

Monday, May 13, 2024

Conference Talk

Melanie D. Massey, Catalina Claus, Justin Hubbard, Edina Ilyes, Piatã Marques, Emma Schubert, Kate Storey, Tony Ricciardi, and Nicholas Mandrak. The rise and thrall of Goldfish in North America. International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species. Halifax, Canada. May 13 2024. Oral presentation.

April 19 2024

Working Group Talk

Ilyes, E., & Massey, M. D*. Goldfish: An Urban Invader.  Ontario Stream Monitoring and Research Team Meeting, Canada. *Copresented.

July 2023

Plenary Talk

Massey, M.D. and Arif, S. Joy and meaning through inclusive science communication. IDEA Award Plenary Talk. Evolution Meeting, Albuquerque, US.

July 26 2022

Conference Talk

Massey, M. D., Fredericks, K. M., Malloy, D., Arif, S., & Hutchings, J. A. Differential reproductive plasticity under thermal variability. Fisheries Society of the British Isles Symposium, Nottingham Trent University, UK. 

[Voted top 5 in best talks, but happy to have seen Megalodon take the cake!]

July 25 2022

Invited EDI Talk

Massey, M. D. and Arif, S. Inclusion Insights for Diverse Scholars. Fisheries Society of the British Isles Meeting, Inclusion Workshop, Nottingham-Trent University, UK.

March 4 2022

Organizer, Ecological Science Communication Conference 2022

I co-organized the inaugural Ecological Science Communication Conference with Suchinta Arif.


Public Talk

"The Secret Underground Life of Turtle Eggs". Woodstock Field Naturalist Club. December 6 2021. Invited speaker.


Invited Conference Workshop

Arif, S*, Massey, M. D.* "Translating marine science into effective scientific outreach." Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network Annual Training Meeting. Nov 2, 2021. [Invited 1.5hr workshop presentation]. *Co-presented



Panelist in "Scholarships Workshop", organized by Dr. Julia Riley. Canadian Herpetological Society. August 18th, 2021. [Invited panelist].


Plenary Talk

Massey, M. D., Arif, S., Albury, C., Cluney, T. "Making Room for BIPOC Scholars in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology". Canadian Conference for Fisheries Research. Feb. 18, 2021. [Invited plenary talk]


Departmental Talk

Massey, M. D., Arif, S., Albury, C., and Cluney, T. "Elevating BIPOC Scholars in EEB". FISH Seminar Talk, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS. Feb. 12. 2021. [Talk]


Departmental Talk

Massey, M. and Hutchings, J. A. "Lessons from an Inconstant World: Studying Thermal Variability". FISH Seminar Talk, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS. Nov. 8. 2019. [Talk]


Conference Presentation

Massey, M. Lloyd, A. W., and Hutchings, J. A. "A review of thermal fluctuations in the laboratory." Canadian Society of Zoologists Meeting, Windsor, ON, May 18 2019.


Poster Presentation

Massey, M., and Hutchings, J. A. “An empirical test of the scale transition theory of thermal performance in the Banded Killifish (Fundulus diaphanus)”. Lett Symposium, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS. Apr 5, 2019. [Poster]


Public Talk

Massey, M, Rollinson, N. “Climate Change and Snapping Turtles.” Sigma Xi Society Lecture Series, Toronto Public Library, Toronto, ON. Oct 11 2017. (Invited speaker).


Conference Talk

Massey, M., Brooks, R.J., Rollinson, N. “The Effects of Climate Change on Sex Determination and Growing Time in a Northern Population of Snapping Turtles”. Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Meeting, Victoria, BC. 9 May 2017.


Conference Talk

Massey, M., Brooks, R.J., Rollinson, N*. “Long-term monitoring of hatchling sex ratios in a species with temperature-dependent sex determination during a period of rapid climate change.” Wildlife 70 Symposium, Trent University, Peterborough, ON. 3 May 2017. *Presented by Njal Rollinson.


Symposium Talk

Massey, M., Brooks, R.J., Rollinson, N. “The Effects of Climate Change on Sex Determination and Timing of Developmental Events in a Northern Population of Snapping Turtles”. Atwood Colloquium, University of Toronto. Toronto, ON, Canada. 9 Apr. 2017. (Invited speaker)


Public Talk

Massey, M., Rollinson, N., Brooks, R. J. “Temperature-Dependent Sex Determination in a Northern Population of Snapping Turtles.” Learning Unlimited Oxford, Woodstock, ON, Canada. 29 Mar. 2017. (Invited speaker).


Conference Talk

Massey, M., Brooks, R. J., Rollinson, N. “Modeling the effects of climate change on temperature-dependent sex determination in the Common Snapping Turtle, Chelydra serpentina.” Canadian Herpetological Society Conference. Toronto Zoo, Toronto. 15 Sept. 2015.

Teaching Experience

Sept 2024 - December 2024

Instructor, Graduate Philosophy and Methods (EEB1310), Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto

I co-taught a graduate course on science philosophy and scientific methods with Dr. Helen Rodd. Duties: Faciliating seminars and discussions, advising graduate students, coordinating course materials, asessing and providing feedback.

2021 - 2023

Curriculum Developer, Dalhousie Science Scholars and Leaders Program (DSSLP)

I assisted the Faculty of Science, Dr. Joseph Bielawski, and Suchinta Arif in developing course content for BIOL2111 (Becoming a Scientist I), BIOL2112 (Becoming a Scientist II), and the "Toolkit for Science" First Year Interest Group (FIG) course. These programs are part of an initiative that seeks to give underrepresented the tools they need for success in STEM (BIPOC, first-generation, women, femmes, and nonbinary individuals, 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals, those with disabilities, or other historically excluded and underrepresented students).

Winter 2022

Instructor, Graduate Science Communication & Outreach, Dalhousie University

I launched and developed this graduate module alongside Suchinta Arif. In this graduate module, we teach students how to effectively communicate science to broad audiences, with a focus on hands-on activities and accessibility.

Winter 2021

Teaching Assistant, Animal Diversity, Dalhousie

I provided individualized support for students, and was responsible for grading and giving feedback on their work. Additionally, I graded the final projects alongside the course Instructor in a senior teaching assistant capacity.

January 2019 - Current

Biology Content Expert, King's View Academy

I currently teach Biology part-time to students from Grades 7-12 in accordance with the Nova Scotia curriculum guidelines. King's View Academy is a private school with a pedagogical focus on self-direction and self-motivation.

February 2019 - January 2020

Tutor, Oxford Learning

I currently tutor Grades 1-12 in math, literacy, and the sciences at Oxford Learning. Oxford's learning model is based on self-motivation, inquiry, and building on foundational knowledge.

September - December 2018

Lab Instructor, Mount Saint Vincent University

I taught two lab sections of Introductory Biology and managed two teaching assistants as a part-time faculty member of Mount Saint Vincent University.

Winter 2018

Senior Teaching Assistant, Diversity of Birds, University of Toronto

I was responsible for giving lab lectures, grading, and assisting students in the Diversity of Birds course (300 level).

Fall 2017

Teaching Assistant, Organisms in the Environment, University of Toronto

I was responsible for managing the population ecology software labs and marking. I also gave a guest lecture on turtle ecology.

Winter 2017

Teaching Assistant, Diversity of Birds, University of Toronto

I was responsible  for assisting students in lab and in the field.

Fall 2016

Teaching Assistant, Evolution and Adaptation, University of Toronto

I gave lab lectures, marked students' work, and supervised labs. I won the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award for this position.

2015 - 2016

Mad Scientist, Mad Science

I taught after-school and lunchtime elementary classes on general science, by using fun experiments and hands-on activities.

Curriculum Vitae: Experience
Curriculum Vitae: Experience

Presentations and Workshops

I develop presentations, workshops, and other educational media for the public and students.

Guest Talk

Massey, M. "Dinosaurs, Turtles, Fishes, and a Roadmap in STEM". Dalhousie University, SuperNOVA ITS for Girls Program. September 25 2021. (Invited speaker).

Guest Lecture

Massey, M. "Career Paths in Biology". Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute, Toronto, ON, June 10 2021. (Invited speaker).

I was invited by Science Assistant Curriculum Leader Paul Weight to speak to high school science students about career paths in biology, with a focus on my own trajectory.


Massey, M. “The Story of How I Tried Out a Bunch of Stuff and Found Out What Worked.” Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Undergraduate Panel Presentation, University of Toronto. Nov 28 2017. (Invited speaker.)

Guest Lecture

Massey, M. “The Embryonic Thermal Environment in Oviparous Reptiles.” Organisms in the Environment (BIO375) Guest Lecture, University of Toronto. Nov 22 2017. (Invited speaker.)


Massey, M. “Fix and Release.” Canadian Association for Girls in Science. Oct 28 2017. (A pre-screening of the nature documentary Fix and Release, with a talk by the director and CBC filmmaker Scott Dobson, and Ontario Turtle Trauma Centre Manager Donnell Gasbarrini.)

Public Talk

Massey, M. “Science Literacy Week: Climate Change and Snapping Turtles.” Toronto Public Library. 19 Sept 2017. (Invited speaker.)


Massey, M., and Astudillo-Clavijo, V. “Scientific Illustration”. Canadian Association for Girls in Science, Royal Ontario Museum. 27 May 2017. (Invited speaker.)


Massey, M. “Snapping Turtles: Conservation and Nesting”. Beacon Elementary School, St. Catharine. 23 Nov. 2016. (Invited speaker.)

Public Talk

 Massey, M. “Climate Change and Sex Ratios in Snapping Turtles”. Ingersoll District Nature Club, Ingersoll. 13 Sept 2016. (Invited speaker.)

Featured in the Woodstock Sentinel Review on Sept. 12, 2016. Available at:

School Presentation

Massey, M. “Dinosaurs and the Earliest Birds”. Beverely Central Elementary School, Troy. 1 Apr. 2015. (Invited speaker.)

Non-Scientific Article

Massey, M. 2016. Consolidating grief and criticism after Bowie’s Passing. In The Newspaper, University of Toronto.

Available at:

Curriculum Vitae: Education

School and Community Involvement

June 2021-May 2022

President, Biology Organization of Graduate Students

I work to represent the interests of Biology graduate students, acting as a liaision between faculty/staff and students. I help facilitate the operations of BOGS, including social events, and disseminate news to keep the department connected. I co-led a special project for this year, developing a repository of succesful NSERC and NSGS applications to be used as a resource for students.


Vice President, Biology Organization of Graduate Students

I assist other BOGS reps in achieving their goals (social events, annual conference, financial, etc.) and act as a liasion to the Committee of the Whole in Biology with President Loay Jabre. Major accomplishments this year include (1) successfully creating graduate pay reform, to minimize errors in graduate stipend pay, and (2) pushing to increase minimum stipends by $4000.

January 2020 - May 2020

Team Captain, Seadogs Inner Tube Water Polo

I was the captain of the Seadogs (Dalhousie Biology and Oceanography) intramural inner tube water polo team for the Winter semester.

2019 - 2020

Lett Symposium Coordinator, Biology Organization of Graduate Students, Dalhousie University

I am responsible for coordinating the annual Biology Lett Symposium, a celebration of graduate student work. I am co-organizing the symposium with Chad Simmons.

2017 - 2018

Undergraduate Mentor, University of Toronto

I was a panelist for talks assisting undergraduates with applying to graduate school, applying to NSERC, and navigating a career in science. I also mentored and co-authored a paper with undergraduate student (now M. Sc. student) Carter Rouleau on turtle hatching.

2017 - 2018

Social Coordinator, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Graduate Students Association, University of Toronto

I was the social coordinator for our department, and created events such as the yearly Halloween party, trivia nights, yoga, and other social events.


Volunteer, Ontario Turtle Trauma Centre

I worked with the Ontario Turtle Trauma center to help feed and maintain recovering turtle housing.

2013 - 2014

Redpath Museum Club Illustrator and Event Planner

I illustrated media such as the Redpath Museum Club logo, lab manual illustrations, and the Natural History Minor T-Shirt design. I also organized movie nights for the club.

Curriculum Vitae: Experience
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