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SSHRC Banting Postdoctoral Fellow (2018-20)

Ph.D. The University of British Columbia, 2016

M.A. Memorial University of Newfoundland, 2012

B.Sc. (Honours) Lakehead University, 2009

Project: Historical ecology of the Lake Ontario Watershed.

Select Publications

  • Guiry EJ, Kennedy JR, O’Connell MT, Gray DR, Grant C, Szpak P, 2021. Early evidence for historical overfishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Science Advances 7, eabh2525. doi:10.1126/sciadv.abh2525. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

  • Guiry E, Orchard TJ, Needs-Howarth S, Szpak P, 2021. Isotopic Evidence for Garden Hunting and Resource Depression in the Late Woodland of Northeastern North America. American Antiquity 86, 90-110. doi:10.1017/aaq.2020.86. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

  • Guiry EJ, Szpak P, 2021. Improved quality control criteria for stable carbon and nitrogen isotope measurements of ancient bone collagen. Journal of Archaeological Science 132, 105416. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2021.105416.[DOWNLOAD .pdf]

  • Guiry EJ, Buckley M, Orchard TJ, Hawkins AL, Needs-Howarth S, Holm E, Szpak P, 2020. Deforestation caused abrupt shift in Great Lakes nitrogen cycle. Limnology and Oceanography. doi:10.1002/lno.11428. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

  • Guiry E, Royle TCA, Matson RG, Ward H, Weir T, Waber N, Brown TJ, Hunt BPV, Price MHH, Finney BP, Kaeriyama M, Qin Y, Yang DY, Szpak P. 2020 Differentiating salmonid migratory ecotypes through stable isotope analysis of collagen: Archaeological and ecological applications. PLOS One 15:e0232180. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0232180. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

  • Guiry EJ, Royle TCA, Orchard TJ, Needs-Howarth S, Yang DY, Szpak P, 2020. Evidence for freshwater residency among Lake Ontario Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) spawning in New York. Journal of Great Lakes Research. doi:10.1016/j.jglr.2020.05.009. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

  • Guiry EJ, Szpak P, 2020. Quality Control for Modern Bone Collagen Stable Carbon and Nitrogen Isotope Measurements. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 11, 1049-1060. doi:10.1111/2041-210X.13433. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

  • Guiry EJ, Szpak P, 2020. Seaweed-eating sheep show that δ34S evidence for marine diets can be fully masked by sea spray effects. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 34, e8868. doi:10.1002/rcm.8868. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

TEAL Awards and Honours

🏆 2019, 2020 Lowest δ13C Value

🏆 2019, 2020 Highest δ13C Value

🏆 2020 People's Choice Award (Sample of the Year)

Eric Guiry came to Trent as a SSHRC Banting postdoctoral fellow in 2018. He previously completed a SSHRC posdoctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia where he also earned his PhD in 2016. He has a diverse range of research interests, but primarily focuses on applying stable isotope analyses to animal remains from archaeological sites. His previous research has emphasized dogs, rats, and pigs, and how isotopic data can be used to better understand human behaviour in the past. More recently, his research has focused on the historical ecology of the Great Lakes watershed and the application of isotopic techniques to modern, historic, and ancient fish remains. Eric is an impressively prolific writer and he has published extensively on a diverse range of subjects where stable isotopes, archaeology, and animals intersect. Eric was first runner up in the 2019 end of the year axe throwing party and is the current champ for number of samples analyzed in the lab. He made a strong showing at the 2019 lab awards with the highest and lowest δ13C values recorded in the calendar year: a sheepshead at −5.67 ‰ (TEAL-7334) and a yellow perch at −29.45 ‰ (TEAL-5420). Eric remains a close friend and collaborator of the lab group.

Eric is currently a Lecturer in Biomolecular Archaeology at the University of Leicester

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Paul and Eric October 2022 in WQC.jpg


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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Anthropology M.Sc. Student (2020-22)

M.A. Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2019

B.A. Universitat de Barcelona, 2016

Project: Agropastoral practices at Cerro de Oro

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. 

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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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, 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. doi:10.1002/ajpa.24271. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

  • 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]

  • 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.
Following her M.A., Corrie is pursuing her DPhil at the University of Oxford, continuing her passion for archaeological science. Her work will be testing the capabilities of compound specific stable isotope analysis for quantifying the consumption of freshwater resources by hunter-gatherers in the Lake Baikal region. She is also excited about the potential of this research to address the effects of freshwater reservoir effects on radiocarbon dating.
Now that Corrie has moved on to Oxford, she is going to have to revise her list of top 10 restaurants in Peterborough, Ontario to match her new setting. Corrie has said that what she will miss most about her time at Trent, is the copious amounts of cheese wontons during lab outings to sushi restaurants and Kawartha Dairy ice cream (particularly the Banana Boat flavour), but is optimistic she will have a chance to try lots of new cuisine - if there is one thing the British are known for, it is their cuisine.



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's future does indeed look bright as he begins his studies as a DPhil Archaeological Science graduate student at the University of Oxford. His new research project will use compound-specific stable isotope analysis and new metabolic techniques to explore novel dietary biomarkers (particularly polyphenols) for paleodietary reconstruction.


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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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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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.



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 pursuing an M.Sc. in biochemistry at McMaster University, specializing in the field of ancient DNA. 

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

Select 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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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.



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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