DAVE SHUTLER - Research in my lab

(Photo  by Jamey Windley)
Professor Emeritus, Department of BiologyAcadia University, 
Wolfville, NS, Canada  B4P 2R6

902-585-1354, FAX -1059
dave.shutler [at] acadiau.ca
Info for prospective students

This is a partial review of my lab's research program (beginning with my active projects, followed by student research).  If you are a prospective student, what follows is not intended to restrict you if you have your own ideas, especially if you bring a funded project.  This information does, however, provide some indication of what interests me, and of projects where opportunities for external funding may be better. 

Reproductive ecology of tree swallows

Tree swallows are cavity-nesters that readily use nest boxes.  Team Shutler studies reproductive biology of these birds in orchards near Wolfville.  We also collaborate with Golondrinas de las Americas, a "consortium" of swallow biologists that extends from Alaska to South America.  Each year, we find new questions to pursue
; we are currently analysing changes in odour profiles of nests during the breeding season.

(Photo by Meg Hainstock)

Reproductive ecology of Leach's storm-petrels

Acadia owns a field site that is home to an estimated 40,000 pairs of this species; monitoring of survival and reproductive success has been underway since 2010, and is continuing as part of an initiative shared with NGOs, government agencies, and other university labs in the Western Atlantic.  Each year, new initiatives and projects are undertaken (see student research for examples).
(Photo by unknown )

Bee diseases

Team Shutler studies economically important bee diseases
(e.g., Nosema, Varroa destructor mites), and their interaction with immunity, neural function, and behaviour.  Recent emphasis has been on odours and Varroa life cycles.


A large part of my career has succumbed to diversions, as my CV illustrates.  Recent initiatives include studying the distribution of deer brain worm in Nova Scotia and idenfication of parasite molecular signatures in bat faeces.



Alicja Muir, MSc candidate
supervisor:  Kirk Hillier
Intervening in life cycles of Varroa destructor mites

I also am lead supervisor for 4 tick techs (Katie King, Taryn Muldoon, Vanessa Bryk, Annelies Yates) that identify ticks via a web-based platform, eTick.  Finally, I am supervising another tech (Linda Hutchinson) who is helping with a diversity of projects in Team Shutler.

FORMER STUDENTS (year degree completed)

Ingrid Pollet, 2017
Leach's storm-petrel breeding ecology
Collaborators:  Marty Leonard, Phil Taylor, et al.

Geoff Williams, 2013
Honey bee parasites
Co-supervisor:  Sandra Walde
Collaborators:  Dick Rogers et al.

(Photos provided by or by Geoff Williams)


Adam Campbell, 2005
Yarrow and fleas in tree swallow nests
Collaborator:  Al Hanson, CWS
(Photo provided by Adam Campbell)
Lise Charbonneau, 2012
Honey bee diseases
Collaborators:  Dick Rogers & Kirk Hillier

Megan Colwell, 2014
Honey bee nutrition and pesticide exposure
(Photo  provided by Megan Colwell)
Katie Dalley, 2007
Nest success of boreal forest birds
Lead supervisor:  Phil Taylor
(Photo by Stella Walsh)
Dani Fife, 2015
Aspects of seabird biology
Lead supervisor:  Mark Mallory
Collaborator:  Greg Robertson
Elisabeth Frost, 2011, Governor General's nominee
Honey bee learning
Co-supervisor:  Kirk Hillier

Meagan Hainstock, 2005, Governor General's Award for best MSc thesis at Acadia
Parental care and nestling begging in experimentally enlarged tree swallow broods
(Photo by Stephen Petersen)
Rielle Hoeg, 2021
Reproductive ecology of Leach's storm-petrels.
Co-supervisor:  Ingrid Pollet (France).

Erika Holland, 2017
Plastics in digestive tracts of freshwater birds
Co-supervisor:  Mark Mallory
Michael Light, 2019 (2nd from left if that helps)
Intervening in Varroa destructor mite's life cycle.
Co-supervisors:  Kirk Hillier (Lead), Chris Cutler (Dalhousie).
Holly Lightfoot, 2013
Radar-monitoring of bird movement
Lead supervisor:  Phil Taylor

Cate Little, 2012
Honey bee immunity
Collaborator:  Shelley Adamo.

Adrian McGinn, 2002

Body size and nest initiation date in birds
(Artwork by Adrian McGinn)

Nic McLellan, 2005
Diets of ring-billed gulls
Collaborators:  John Chardine, CWS, Sackville; Rosemary Curley, PEI Gov't; Andrew Boyne, CWS
(Photo by Amanda Marlin)

Jenna Priest, 2021
Helminths and condition of coyotes
Co-supervisors:  Don Stewart (Acadia), Mike Boudreau
Department of Natural Resources and Renewables

Melissa Smith, 2002
Offspring sex ratios and parental investment in tree swallows
(Photo by Jamey Windley)

Sarah Spencer, 2006
Mercury in river otters
Collaborator:  Mike O'Brien, Dept Nat Res
(Photo by Heather Barton)

Emily Turner-Brannen, 2007
Probiotics and acrobatics
Lead supervisor:  Julia Green-Johnson
(Photos by Mairi Chadwic, & Stella Walsh)

  BSc (Hons)

Willow Bennett, 2023
Stressors in white-tailed deer
Collaborators:  Glen Parsons, Jenna Priest, Jason Airst
Department of Natural Resources and Renewables)

Taylor Brown, 2016
Migratory movements of saw whet owls
Collaborators:  Phil Taylor, Randy Lauff, Shawn Craik
Safyha Bryan, 2020
Mercury and blood parameters in Leach's storm-petrels
:  Mark Mallory
Brock Burgess, 2018
Nest density of orange-belted bumblebees determined genetically
Collaborator:  Steve Javorek
Julia Carr, 2002
Parental investment in tree swallows
Co-supervisor:  Don Stewart
(Photo by James Windley)

Kathryn Cleveland, 2008
Also Queen Annapolisa
Mate choice in Leach's storm-petrels
(Photo at left by Wanda Langley )

Megan Colwell, 2010
Undertaking behaviour in honeybees
(Photo  provided by Megan Colwell)

Krystyna Cowan, 2006
Nematodes in shrews
Co-supervisors:  Don Stewart, Tom Herman
(Photos by Don Stewart and the Cowan family)

Daniel Deveau, 2011  
Age versus learning in honeybees
Evan Fairn, 2005
Ectoparasites of ring-billed gulls

Allie Flinn, 2017
Disrupting Varroa mite life cycles
Lead supervisor:  Kirk Hillier
Lena Gallant, 2021
Flight-calling as a detriment to migrating birds in well-lit habitats
Mathieu Godbold-Smith, 2023
Reducing attraction of seabirds to light
Co-supervisor:  Michael Robertson (Physics)

Kylee Graham, 2018
Risk-taking by parent tree swallows
Mark Hanes, 2015
Volatiles sensed by mites that parasitize honey bees
Lead supervisor:  Kirk Hillier
Rielle Hoeg, 2017
Characteristics of nest sites of Leach's storm-petrels

Erika Holland, 2014
Why do tree swallows feather their nests?

Jenelle King, 2003
Behaviour of common eiders (Somateria mollisima)
around their nests

(Photo provided by Jenelle King)

Tara Lapointe, 2006
Collaborator:  Al Hanson, CWS
Consequences of Nova Scotia eelgrass decline for waterbirds,
 and of being locked out of one's car

Holly Lightfoot, 2010
Corticosterone in Leach's storm-petrels

Cate Little, 2007
Feather mites of tree swallows

Amy Lowe (yanked away by PEI vet college in 2008 before completing)
Corticosterone in Leach's storm-petrels

Kate MacCulloch, 2004
Nest site selection by tree swallows
Co-supervisor:  Brian Wilson
(Photo from outside some Barcelona theatre
provided by Kate MacCulloch

Sarah MacDougall, 2016
Blood physiology of Leach's storm-petrels
Lead supervisor:  Brian Wilson

Savannah Mahoney, 2016
Annual variation
in organ size of long-tailed ducks
Co-supervisor:  Mark Mallory

Georgia McNeil, 2009
Immunity in Leach's storm-petrels

Emily Mills, 2011
  Immunity versus growth in Leach's storm-petrels
Abbie Mitchell, 2018
Flower species used by bumblebees in blueberry agroecosystems
Collaborator:  Steve Javorek
Jenny Morse, 2019
Spatial variation in coyote phenotype
:  Mike Boudreau (Dept Nat Res)

(Micrograph by Rodger Evans)
Joseph Muise, 2003
Feather mites and extra-pair copulations in tree swallows
Co-supervisor:  Don Stewart


Taryn Muldoon, 2023
supervisor:  Don Stewart
Testing for white-nose syndrome evidence in bat faeces

Sam Munroe, 2010
Ectoparasites of Atlantic sturgeons
Co-supervisors:  Trevor Avery and Mike Dadswell
(Photo provided by Sam Munroe)

Anik Obomsawin, 2017
Habitat selection by tree swallows

Paul O'Connell, 2003
Relaxin titres in breeding great black-backed gulls,
herring gulls, and common eiders

Lead supervisor:  Brian Wilson
(Photos by Jenelle King)

Rylee Oosterhuis, 2015
Designing lures for parasitic mites of honey bees

Lead supervisor:  Kirk Hillier
Jenna Priest, 2018
Parasites and condition of Nova Scotia coyotes
Collaborators:  Don Stewart,
Mike Boudreau

(Photo provided by Jenna Priest)

Stephen Robinson, 2007
The dangers of misbehaving around photographers
Co-supervisor:  Todd Smith
(Photo by Kryss Cowan)

Andrew Russell, 2007

Flower symmetry and insect attraction

Chelsea Ryan, 2012
Immunity in Leach's storm-petrels

Michelle Sampson, 2008
Maritime distribution of Nosema in hymenoptera
Tristan Sanford, 2021
Manipulation of host odours by malaria parasites

Annika Samuelsen, 2006
Corticosterone and ectoparasites of Leach's storm-petrels
Co-supervisor:  Brian Wilson
(Photo by David Samuelsen)

Miranda Saroli, 2010
Geophagy in Peruvian parrots
Co-supervisor:  Cliff Stanley
(Photo provided by Miranda Saroli)

Madeline Sutton, 2014
Testing the Parental Choreography Hypothesis

Ben Taylor, 2008
Deformed wing virus in honey bees

  Krista Thomas, 2000
Effects of ectoparasite loads on begging intensity, growth rates, and parental feeding rates of nestling tree swallows.  Shown here with partner Jason
(Photo provided by Krista Thomas)

Emma Vaasjo, 2010
Immunity in Leach's storm-petrels

Ali White, 2019
Temporal variation in coyotes collected during intensive harvest
:  Mike Boudreau (Dept Lands and Forestry)

Info for prospective students

Updated  Apr '23