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LAB ALUMNI

CORRIE HYLAND

Anthropology M.A. Student (2018-20)

M.A. Trent University, 2020

B.Sc. (Honours) Trent University, 2018

Thesis Title: Why fish when you could farm? A stable isotope analysis of changing diet and ritual killing in the Viru Valley, Peru.

TEAL Publications

  • Hyland C, Scott MB, Routledge J, Szpak P, 2021. Stable Carbon and Nitrogen Isotope Variability of Bone Collagen to Determine the Number of Isotopically Distinct Specimens. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 29, 666-686. doi:10.1007/s10816-021-09533-7. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

  • Hyland C, Millaire J-F, Szpak P, 2021. Migration and maize in the Virú Valley: Understanding life histories through multi-tissue carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, and strontium isotope analyses. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 176, 21-35. doi:10.1002/ajpa.24271. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

  • McCormack J, Szpak P, Bourgon N, Richards M, Hyland C, Méjean P, Hublin J-J, Jaouen K, 2021. Zinc isotopes from archaeological bones provide reliable tropic level information for marine mammals. Communications Biology 4, 683. doi:10.1038/s42003-021-02212-z. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

TEAL Awards and Honours

🏆 2017 Lowest δ15N Value

🏆 2017 Highest δ15N Value

🏆 2019 Highest δ15N Value

Corrie began working in the TEAL lab as an undergraduate research assistant in her final year of undergraduate study, making her the first student of the TEAL lab. While an undergraduate, she completed an honours thesis analyzing the diet of arctic foxes through stable isotope analysis to assess the impacts of human culture on fox ecology.
Corrie’s M.A. thesis utilized stable carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur isotope analysis, as well as strontium isotope analysis to understand the diet and mobility of ritually killed humans in the Viru Valley of northern Peru during the Late Intermediate Period (A.D. 1100-1476). During her M.A. research, Corrie had many exciting experiences, including a chance to work on the tissues of mummified human remains and visit her study sites of Huaca Santa Clara and Huaca Gallinazo in Peru. She was able to present her research in a wide variety of ways, including at the 2019 Northeast Conference on Andean and Amazonian Archaeology and Ethnohistory at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and even on television. Corrie’s work has also been featured in the Canadian Association of Physical Anthropology's newsletter. Corrie holds the all-time record for highest δ15N value measured in the lab, +25.25 ‰ for a ~650 year old polar bear from Somerset Island that was analyzed in July 2017 (TEAL-46). She also prepared SRM-14, one of our most unique internal reference materials derived from a polar bear rib bone.


Corrie is currently a DPhil at the University of Oxford.

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MICHAEL SCOTT

Anthropology M.A. Student (2018-20)

B.A. (Honours) Simon Fraser University, 2018

Thesis Title: Chew the fat: An examination of the preservation of fatty acids in archaeological bone.

TEAL Publications

Hyland C, Scott MB, Routledge J, Szpak P, 2021. Stable Carbon and Nitrogen Isotope Variability of Bone Collagen to Determine the Number of Isotopically Distinct Specimens. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. doi:10.1007/s10816-021-09533-7. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

TEAL Awards and Honours

2019 People's Choice Award (Sample of the Year)

Michael joined the TEAL lab to pursue a master’s degree after completing his BA Honours in Archaeology at Simon Fraser University. During his undergraduate degree at SFU, Michel first began working with stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis to analyse ancient weaning practices in the Central Zagros Mountains of Iran.

These skills would become invaluable as he worked as a TEAL research assistant during his master’s degree. In addition to cataloguing, preparing, and analysing countless samples in his research assistant role, Michael was an inaugural member of the master’s research project: “Variations in Isotopes Project” or VIP for short. For this project, over 400 bone collagen samples were prepared and analysed to examine intra-individual and inter-individual isotopic variation across a wide variety of animals.

Michael’s master’s research investigated the nature of bone lipids in relation to other organic tissues and assessing their suitability for palaeoecological studies. Using the Trent Water Quality Center GC-MS, he examined the intricacies of how fatty acids preserve in archaeological bones.

During his time in TEAL Michael became well known for his creative “labels” in the lab which he hopes will inspire and entertain future lab members in the years to come. Other notable achievements included swimming across the Otonabee River and winning the coveted “2019 People's Choice Award”, given to the coolest sample analyzed in a calendar year as voted on by lab members. This sample was a double tusked narwhal that he prepared. Upon receiving this award Michael was quoted to have said, “I haven’t even begun to peak yet!”. Michael also holds the records for most pairs of pants damaged by concentrated sulfuric acid and most polypropylene pour rings obliterated in a muffle furnace.

Michael is currently a DPhil at the University of Oxford.

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ADRIÁN GONZÁLEZ GÓMEZ DE AGÜERO

Anthropology M.Sc. Student (2020-22)

M.A. Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2019

B.A. Universitat de Barcelona, 2016

Project: Agricultural Intensification at Cerro de Oro (Cañete Valley, Peru): Exploring the Use of Fertilizers through Stable Isotope Analysis

Adrián is a half Spaniard-half Uruguayan Andean archaeologist with fieldwork experience both in Spain and Peru, ranging from the Spanish Palaeolithic and Andean first settlers to Spanish Civil War sites and a brief experience in underwater archaeology. After completing his Bachelors degree in Archaeology at the University of Barcelona, he moved to Peru, where he completed an MA in Archaeology with a major in Andean Studies. He has supervised fieldwork on the Cerro de Oro Archaeological Project (Cañete, Peru) since 2018. He defended his M.Sc. thesis on agricultural practices at Cerro de Oro in September 2022 and was the first member of the lab to have a thesis accepted without revisions (i.e., chef's kiss perfect). Adrián is currently a Ph.D. student in the anthropology program at Purdue University and plans on studying early hunter-gatherer economies in the Andes. 

Adrian is currently a Ph.D. student at Purdue University. 

TEAL Awards and Honours

🏆 2021 Lowest δ15N Value

🏆 2021 Highest δ13C Value

🥇 2022 Lab Olympics Gold Medal: Reagent Weighing

🥇 2022 Lab Olympics Gold Medal: Microbalance Accuracy

🥇 2022 Lab Olympics Gold Medal: Parafilm Shotput

🥈 2022 Lab Olympics Silver Medal: Microbalance Speed

🥉 2022 Lab Olympics Bronze Medal: Pipette Transfer

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TESSA GROGAN

Anthropology M.A. Student (2019-23)

B.A. (Honours) The University of British Columbia, 2019

Thesis Title: Camelids on the Coast? Investigating Trade and Early Camelid Herding through Stable Isotope Analysis of Formative to Late Intermediate Period Textiles from the Atacama Desert, Chile

Tessa's interest in archaeological science began when she took a class in nutritional archaeology at the University of British Columbia. Her undergraduate thesis put these analytical techniques into practice when she used X-Ray Fluorescence on Coast Salish weavings to identify mordants (metallic compounds that bind dyes to fibers) which impact the blankets' preservation and optimal conditions for curation. This thesis is now moving toward publication. Tessa was disappointed in the low abundance of carnivorous plants in Ontario and feels their purported prevalence may have been exaggerated. She defended her M.A. thesis in February 2023. 

TEAL Awards and Honours

🥈 2021 Lab Olympics Silver Medal: Microbalance Accuracy

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MARIAH MILLER

Anthropology M.A. Student (2021-23)

B.A., University of Lethbridge, 2019

Thesis Title: Changes in Inuit Hunting Practices Associated with the Introduction of Firearms in Nunatsiavut: Evidence from a Stable Isotope Analysis of Ringed Seals

Mariah grew up in Lethbridge, Alberta. While attending the University of Lethbridge, Mariah majored in Archaeology and Geography –  all while captaining the Women’s basketball team. It was during this time that she developed an interest in faunal analyses and the Canadian arctic and sub-arctic cultures. In pursuing these interests further, Mariah joined TEAL for her master’s degree for which Mariah has conducted isotopic analyses of seal remains from archaeological sites in northern Labrador. When Mariah isn't running the EA-IRMS, she is usually at home watching nerdy movies like Star Wars (or Star Trek, is there any difference?) and Lord of the Rings, with her two cats: Dain and Thorin (can you guess who she named them after?). If you ever need a new show or movie recommendation, Mariah is the right person to ask.  Bio by Julia McCuaig.

Mariah is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto. 

TEAL Awards and Honours

🎖️2021 Special Recognition for Social Media (Lab TikTok, Shared with 2021-22 MA Students)

🥈 2022 Lab Olympics Silver Medal: Microbalance Accuracy

🥉 2022 Lab Olympics Bronze Medal: Microbalance Speed

🏆 2022 Lowest δ15N Value (Shared with 2021-22 Graduate Class)

🏆 2022 Early Worm Award

🏆 2022 Tess Wilson Award for Perserverance in the Face of Instrumental Adversity

🏆 2022 Matt Teeter Award

🥈 2023 Lab Olympics Silver Medal: Reagent Weighing

🥇 2023 Lab Olympics Gold Medal: Parafilm Shotput

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BROOKE DRISCOLL

Anthropology M.A. Student (2021-23)

B.Sc., Trent University, 2021

Thesis Title: Working like a Dog: δ13C and δ15N analysis of canids from the Canadian Arctic. 

As an undergraduate student at Trent, Brooke completed a BSc in Archaeology with a minor in Biology. Their master's research investigated the diet and life histories of canids from a wide range of archaeological sites in the North American Arctic to better understand human-animal-environment interactions over time. When not analyzing arctic dogs and wolves, they played on the varsity women’s volleyball team and served as the team's assistant coach. Less athletic endeavors include embroidering, listening to true crime podcasts, and reveling in the fact that both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette wish they could have them. Bio by Alexis Rausch. 

Listen to Brooke talk about their thesis research here on the Trent Radio/DISSertation Track podcast hosted by Egan Henderson.

Brooke is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of New Brunswick. 

TEAL Awards and Honours

🎖️ 2021 Special Recognition for Social Media (Lab TikTok, Shared with 2021-22 MA Students)

🥈 2022 Lab Olympics Silver Medal: Bone Cutting

🏆 2022 Eric Guiry Award (1,530 samples analyzed for δ13C and δ15N)

🏆 2022 Sample of the Year Award

🏆 2022 Best Analytical Session (September 23, 2022)

🏆 2022 Lowest δ15N Value (Shared with 2021-22 Graduate Class)

🥈 2023 Lab Olympics Silver Medal: Pipette Transfer

🥈 2023 Lab Olympics Silver Medal: Microbalance Accuracy

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NICOLE HULTQUIST

Anthropology M.Sc. Student (2021-23)

B.Sc., University of Maryland, 2021

Thesis Title: Strontium Isotopes and The Geographic Origins of Camelids in the Virú Valley

TEAL's early bird (hello 4am EA-IRMS starts!) Nicole got her wish of experiencing a true Canadian winter and is now in the second year of her MSc. Her anthropology and chemistry undergraduate degrees at the University of Maryland combined with her love of learning new things has led her to become the TEAL team lead on strontium isotope analysis using the MC-ICP-MS. Her strontium isotope data was used to explore the geographic origins of llamas from three sites located in the Viru Valley on the north coast of Peru (Huaca Santa Clara, Huaca Gallinazo, and Huancaco). These data allowed Nicole to make inferences about where these animals were raised during the Early Intermediate Period through the Late Middle Horizon in the Viru Valley. In her spare time, she is a devoted servant to her cats Decaf and (London) Fog. Past hobbies she has enjoyed include pottery, furniture upcycling, piano, and quilting, but she is currently learning how to crochet. One of the greatest triumphs of her time in TEAL to date is getting Paul and Matt to not only watch Twilight, but to intently and vehemently discuss it for almost sixty minutes during lab meeting. Bio by Kate Dougherty. 

Nicole is currently a Ph.D. student at Boston University. 

TEAL Awards and Honours

🎖️ 2021 Special Recognition for Social Media (Lab TikTok, Shared with 2021-22 MA Students)

🏆 2022 Lowest δ15N Value (Shared with 2021-22 Graduate Class)

🏆 2022 Eric Guiry Award (576 δ13C and δ15N analyses, 607 Sr isotope analyses)

🎖️ 2022 Special Recognition for Social Media (Shared with Julia McCuaig)

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ANAHI MATURANA-FERNANDEZ

Anthropology M.Sc. Student (2021-24)

B.A., Universidad de Chile, 2012

Thesis Title: Investigating Agricultural Intensification Through Stable Isotope Analysis in The Atacama Desert, Northern Chile

Originally from Chile, in 2024 Anahi completed an MSc thesis involving stable isotope analysis of plant remains from the Middle Period and Late Intermediate Period from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. Prior to undertaking her master’s, Anahi received her B.A. in Physical Anthropology from the University of Chile. She has also worked in various archaeology-related fields, including museum work, cultural resource management, and bioarchaeological research in the Atacama Desert. Outside of research, Anahi spends a lot of time knitting (like, a lot of time), as well as learning new languages. Currently she speaks English, Spanish, and German fluently, and is working towards learning Italian. With an impressive streak of over 600 days on the language learning app Duolingo, it would be no surprise for her to be fluent in Italian before her degree is done! Bio by Olivia Hall. 

TEAL Awards and Honours

🎖️ 2021 Special Recognition for Social Media (Lab TikTok, Shared with 2021-22 MA Students)

🥉 2022 Lab Olympics Bronze Medal: Microbalance Accuracy

🏆 2022 Lowest δ15N Value (Shared with 2021-22 Graduate Class)

🏆 2022 Highest δ13C Value

🥉 2023 Lab Olympics Bronze Medal: Microbalance Speed

🥉 2023 Lab Olympics Bronze Medal: Microbalance Accuracy

🏆 2023 Lowest δ13C Value

🏆 2023 Lowest δ15N Value

🏆 2023 Highest δ15N Value

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MELISSA MERTSIS

Archaeology B.Sc. Student (2018-19)

B.A. (Honours) Trent University, 2019

Thesis title: Assessing Camelid Management Practices in Northern Chile: Evidence from Stable Carbon and Nitrogen Isotope Analyses.

Melissa Mertsis completed her undergraduate Honours thesis as part of her BSc degree in Archaeology in 2019. Her thesis research utilized stable isotope analysis to examine camelid (llama and alpaca) husbandry practices in the far north of Chile.

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DELANEY PARENT

Archaeology B.Sc. Student (2019-21)

B.Sc. (Honours) Trent University, 2021

Project: Stable isotope analysis of macrobotanical remains from the Colonial occupation at Carrizales, Peru

Delaney Parent completed her undergraduate Honours thesis as part of her BSc degree in Archaeology in 2021. She also worked as a research assistant from 2019-2021. Her thesis research utilized stable isotope analysis to examine agricultural practices of the Zana Valley of northern Peru.

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TESS WILSON

Forensic Science B.Sc. Thesis Student (2020-21), NSERC USRA (2021)

B.Sc. Trent University, 2021

Project: Examining the impact of demineralization methods on the stable isotope composition of bone collagen

Tess joined the TEAL Lab in the summer of 2020. She completed an honours thesis project in forensic science after a long and winding road of project planning that began in the fall of 2019. Her project involved a mix of modern and ancient bones, including kangaroo, muskox, pig, and cow; as a vegetarian, this is most time she has spent handling animal bones in a very long time. Some of her favourite animals include the sloth, tenrec, and blobfish, but none compare to Nelson, her miniature Australian shepherd. Aside from completing her thesis research, Tess also worked as a research assistant in the TEAL Lab. 

Tess is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at McMaster University. 

TEAL Awards and Honours

🥇 2021 Lab Olympics Gold Medal: Reagent Weighing

🏆 2021 Lowest δ13C Value

🏆 2021 Highest δ15N Value

🏆 2021 Eric Guiry Award for Processing and Analyzing 654 Samples

TEAL Publications

  • Wilson T, Szpak P. 2022. Acidification does not alter the stable isotope composition of bone collagen. PeerJ 10, e13593. doi:10.7717/peerj.13593. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

  • Wilson T, Szpak P. 2022. Examining the use of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid for humic extraction of ancient bone. American Journal of Biological Anthropology. doi:10.1002/ajpa.24577. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

  • Wilson T, Szpak P. 2023. Comparing the performance of demineralization agents (HCl and EDTA) for stable isotope analysis of bone collagen with implications for quality control criteria and collagen yield. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. doi:10.1002/oa.3222. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

  • Rey-Iglesia A, Wilson T, Routledge J, Skovrind M, Garde E, Heide-Jørgensen MP, Szpak P, Lorenzen ED, 2022. Combining δ13C and δ15N from bone and dentine in marine mammal palaeoecological research: insights from toothed whales. Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies, 1-12. doi:10.1080/10256016.2022.2145285.

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MELISSA MERCHANT

B.Sc. Thesis Student (2021-22)

B.Sc. Trent University, 2022 

Project: Isotopic Reconstruction of Guinea Pig Diets at Cerro de Oro, Peru

Melissa completed her honour's thesis in anthropology and biology in 2022. Her research used stable isotope analysis of guinea pig remains from the archaeological site of Cerro de Oro on the central coast of Peru.

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MADISON CURRAN

B.Sc. Thesis Student (2021-22)

B.Sc. Trent University, 2022

Project: Comparison of Demineralization Temperatures in Bone Collagen Extraction

Madison was a fourth-year BSc thesis student who completed a joint major in Forensic Science and Anthropology. Her undergraduate thesis research examined how demineralization temperature impacts the yield, elemental, and isotopic compositions of extracted bone collagen for ancient and modern samples. Madison is an avid fan of true-crime podcasts, combining her interests in anthropology and forensics. She also enjoys painting nature and landscapes using acrylics.

TEAL Awards and Honours

🥇 2022 Lab Olympics Gold Medal: Bone Cutting

🥈 2022 Lab Olympics Silver Medal: Reagent Weighing

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Jenna Milner

BSc Student (2022-23)

B.Sc. Archaeology, Trent University, 2023

Project: Optimizing the length of time in the refluxing step in bone collagen extraction.

Jenna joins the lab this year as an honour’s thesis student. She is in the fourth year of her BSc, majoring in archaeology. Jenna enjoys the research process and is looking forward to working in the lab and conducting a study of her own. Looking ahead, she would like to carry on in academia, to a master’s degree and eventually a PhD. Outside the lab and classroom, Jenna is a violinist with 13 years experience. She is suspicious of birds but not all birds. Some birds are fine, others are sketchy. Bio by Jen Routledge.

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DASHIELL IVES

Anthropology B.A. Student (2023-24)

B.A., Trent University, 2025 (Expected)

Project: Stables Isotopes and Diet of Canids from Cape Espenberg, Alaska

Dashiell completed a fourth-year undergraduate honours thesis in 2023-24. His research evaluated whether dogs are a suitable proxy for humans in Birnirk and Thule (northern Alaska, AD 6th–12th centuries) paleodiet reconstructions. Dashiell’s research interests include paleoanthropology, human migrations, and South African archaeology. He also has experience building 3D models of paleoanthropological and osteological specimens that are used for teaching purposes at Trent. Outside of his research, Dashiell enjoys mixed martial arts (particularly Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, wrestling, and judo), lifting weights, and reading. A fun fact about Dashiell is that he used to be a competitive go-kart racer! Bio by Alex Derian. 

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