Graduate Students

Current Graduate Students

Meaghan Mechler

Meaghan Mechler

Meaghan Mechler

Bachelor of Environmental Studies,  Joint Honours Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo

BSc. Joint Honours Biology, University of Waterloo

MSc. Geography, University of Waterloo

Ph.D. Candidate: September 2019 -

Supervisor: Prof. John A. Cline, Department of Plant Agriculture

Email: mmechler@uoguelph.ca

Biographical Information

I have just begun my Ph.D. with John's lab in September 2019. I am hoping to soon begin work on Apple Replant Disease at the Simcoe Research Station. I will analyze various soil health and apple tree characteristics with different rootstock and following different biobased treatments. I developed a passion for orchards and the wellbeing of Ontario apple production, having grown up on an apple farm in the County of Wellington. My love for trees and agriculture was further developed during my joint bachelor's degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Waterloo. Following these degrees, I developed a strong background in soil science, with an emphasis on soil biogeochemistry, in my  MSc (University of Waterloo). During my master’s degree, I evaluated the impact of biochar amendments in temperate agriculture on soil and crop health. I am excited to now bring together my love of soils and apples during this upcoming project.

Letícia Reis

Leticia Reis

Letícia Reis

Bachelor of Agronomy, Federal University of the Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valleys (UFVJM)

Master of Science in Plant Production, Federal University of the Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valleys (UFVJM)

Ph.D. Candidate: September 2019 -

Supervisor: Prof. John A. Cline, Department of Plant Agriculture

Email: lreis@uoguelph.ca

Biographical Information

My name is Leticia Reis and I am from Itamarandiba, Brazil. I realized my passion for agriculture when I was in high school and I started helping my sister with her experiments with coffee plants during her Masters Degree. I am an agronomist, and currently I am a Ph.D. student at the University of Guelph. I obtained my Master of Science in Plant Production in 2018 from the Federal University of Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valleys (UFVJM) in Brazil, where I focused on soil management for dragon fruit production. However, I’ve been fascinated with the Plant Agriculture Program at the University of Guelph since learning about it during my undergraduate exchange to Canada in 2013. I’m elated to work with Prof. John Cline on a project that aims to find and define the ideal concentration of chemical thinners for the cultivation of apple trees, replace carbaryl and maintain productivity and fruit quality. This project has the potential to contribute significant environmental and economic benefits to Ontario’s agriculture sector, specifically improving product efficiency and product quality of apples. I am very passionate about temperate fruit plants, and my dream is to advance research and make a difference in fruit production. In my free time, I love to cook new recipes, go to the gym and spend time with my friends.

Nicholas Querques

Male silhouette

Nicholas Querques

M.Sc. Candidate: September 2017 -

Supervisor: Prof. John A. Cline, Department of Plant Agriculture

Email: nquerque@uoguelph.ca

Biographical Information

My name is Nicolas Querques and I grew up outside of Guelph in Acton, Ontario. My interest in agriculture began while helping out on the family farm throughout my childhood. Later on in high school I started undertaking several agriculture related hobbies. It was these experiences that prompted me to pursue a Bachelor of Engineering degree in biological and food engineering at the University of Guelph.

During my undergraduate degree I concentrated my studies on fermentation technology and their underlying horticultural systems. Beginning in 2014 I worked with Dr. Emily Chiang on a series of microalgae fermentation bioreactor development research projects. We collaborated with government and industrial organizations to develop valorization systems for agricultural waste streams. While working on these projects I authored a scientific review article on the process optimization of microalgal valorization systems, which was published in the Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology.

Following this experience, I found myself increasingly interested in fermentation technology’s basal agricultural systems. This was my most engaging research experience to date while working as the Research Assistant under the Tender Fruit and Grape Specialist at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs, Vineland office. I was trained in pomology research concepts and techniques on a variety of projects. This included research on bioregulator effectiveness, rootstock and cultivar performance, orchard management systems, irrigation efficiency improvement technologies, and analyzing the effects of storage, chilling injury, and mealiness in stonefruit. During the chemical pear blossom thinner effectiveness project, I had the opportunity to meet Professor John Cline who will be the research supervisor for my M.Sc. position with the University of Guelph Department of Plant Agriculture.

Together with Dr. Cline I will be working on research projects related to the evaluation of new apple tree cultivars for use in Ontario cider production. The overall project objective is to address the limited supply of traditional European bittersweet and bittersharp apples for the Ontario cider industry.

In my spare time I enjoy many hobbies including gardening fruit, hops and cacti, mushroom cultivation, salami and sausage making, wild mushroom and plant foraging, homebrewing cider, beer, kefir and wine, cooking/baking, videogames, and hanging out with friends.

Derek Plotkowski

Derek Plotwoski Derek Plotwoski

Derek Plotwoski

Ph.D. Candidate: January 2016 -

Supervisor: Prof. John A. Cline, Department of Plant Agriculture

Email: dplotkow@uoguelph.ca

Biographical Information

I grew up outside of Detroit, Michigan. After working in a retail greenhouse throughout high school, I decided to study botany when I went to college. I did my undergraduate work at Cornell University, graduating in 2012 with a degree in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Botany. While at Cornell I also participated in research on bulb plants with the Miller lab and arbuscular mycorrhizae with the Harrison lab at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research. I was drawn into the world of hard cider and wine production during my first semester, when we did a unit on viticulture and enology in Introduction to Horticulture. Soon after, I began taking viticulture and enology courses and completed a minor degree in the subject, all while learning as much as I could about hard cider in the Finger Lakes.

Inspired by local cider industries in both Michigan and New York, I decided to research hard cider production in traditional cider production zones. This goal led me to the International Vintage Master, an Erasmus Mundus program where students study viticulture, enology, terroir management, and wine business. During the program, I studied over a period of two years at l’École Supérieure d’Agriculture d’Angers in France, the Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro in Vila Real, Portugal, and Corvinus University of Budapest in Hungary. I finished the program with a six-month internship at Sidra Trabanco in Gijón, Asturias, one of Spain’s most important producers of hard cider. While I was there, I did a project testing the storage potential of different containers for sidra natural and a new style of Spanish cider. I graduated with my master’s degree in October 2015. From October to December 2015 I worked at Blake’s Hard Cider Company, the largest hard cider producer in Michigan.

I began my PhD at the University of Guelph in January 2016. I will be working with Dr. John Cline and the Ontario Craft Cider Association on a project involving traditional European and North American cider apple varieties and their suitability for cultivation for hard cider production in Ontario, with the goal of strengthening Ontario’s hard cider industry.

When I’m not doing research, I enjoy cooking, gardening, reading, playing board games, and playing the violin.

Cindy (Yu Jia) Li

Female silhouette

Cindy (Yu Jia) Li

M.Sc. Candidate

Supervisor: Prof. John A. Cline, Department of Plant Agriculture

Email: yli23@uoguelph.ca

 

Former Graduate Students

Christopher Duyvelshoff

Christopher Duyvelshoff

Christoper Duyvelshoff

MSc. Candidte: May 2009 – 2011

Supervisor: Prof. John A. Cline, Department of Plant Agriculture

Email: cduyvels@uoguelph.ca

Biographical Information

I was born and raised in Oakville, Ontario.  I first became interested in horticulture in high school while helping my parents in their perennial garden.  Soon I started making my own plantings, especially vegetables and I was hooked.  I entered the BSc (Agr) Horticulture program here at the University of Guelph in Fall 2005.  During the summers of my undergraduate degree I worked at Sheridan Nurseries, the Royal Botanical Gardens and in the Guelph Trial Garden with Rodger Tschanz.  I learned a lot about ornamental horticulture from these experiences.  In my final year, I completed an undergraduate thesis in the artificial creation of polyploid Impatiens with Dr. Al Sullivan.  Through my experiences in fruit crops class, along with my lifelong visits to the family cottage in Meaford in southern Georgian Bay, an area of intensive apple production, I developed a particular interest in tree fruits.  With a desire to continue in higher education, I accepted a M.Sc position with Prof. John Cline working on biennial bearing and precocity issues with ‘Northern Spy’ apple trees.  My research began in the spring of 2009, and to date, my experience working at the Horticulture Experiment Station (HES) in Simcoe has been very insightful to the field of tree fruit production in Ontario.  The goal of my research is to provide ‘Northern Spy’ growers with information on improving production systems using growth regulators. During my spare time I enjoy hanging out with friends and playing various sports.  As much as possible I try to go to the cottage to relax and tend my garden.

Kendra Sauerteig 

Kendra Sauerteig

Kendra Sauerteig

MSc. Candidate: Sept 2009 – April 2012

Supervisor: Prof. John A. Cline, Department of Plant Agriculture

Email: ksauertig@uoguelph.ca

Biographical Inforation

My name is Kendra Sauerteig and I am originally from Saint John, New Brunswick. I have come to Guelph from the East Coast after having just finished a Biology Honours degree with a Minor in Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax. My undergraduate thesis focused on plant cell physiology, and more specifically, programmed cell death (PCD) in plants. Under the guidance of my supervisor Dr. Arunika Gunawardena, I worked on optimizing a protocol for staining and visualizing actin microfilaments in whole tissue mounts of lace plant (Aponogeton madagascariensis) leaves using confocal microscopy. I first became interested in tree fruit after completing an internship with Slow Food Nova Scotia where I researched Heritage, or Heirloom, variety apple trees in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. I am also personally interested in locally-sourced food, and developing agricultural practices that will benefit farming in Canada. I plan to research ways to artificially thin blossoms on fruit trees to produce larger, more marketable fruit. I am interested in developing mechanical ways to thin blossoms, which would not require the application of chemical thinning sprays. When not at school I enjoy traveling, hiking, and music.