Michelle Tseng

Faculty Profile

Faculty Profile

Assistant Professor

We investigate processes that underlie population and community responses to changing environments. Our current focus is on understanding and predicting community-wide responses to warming. We develop and test broad conceptual frameworks using laboratory and field experiments with insects and plankton communities. 

Research Associate 2014-2016, UBC
Founding and Managing Editor, Evolutionary Applications, 2007-2013
Postdoctoral Fellow 2006-2008, UBC
Ph.D. 2005, Indiana University, USA

Contact Information

Room 110, Biodiversity Research Centre
604-827-4077

Research Interests

  • Predicting community-wide responses to warming;
  • Adaptation of Arctic zooplankton to shrinking lakes;
  • Thermal reaction norm evolution, and how reaction norm shape affects evolutionary adaptation to warming;
  • Ecological consequences of temperature-mediated shifts in plankton nutritional profiles and organism body size
  • Industry collaborations for discovering & refining high-value compounds in aquatic primary producers (e.g. algae & duckweed proteins & fatty acids)

Courses Taught/Teaching

Biol411 Insect Ecology (Winter term 2)

Biol409 Field Course in Ecology (2019 Summer: Arctic Ecology)

Biol230 Fundamentals of Ecology (forthcoming)

Team Members

Carla Di Filippo - MSc Student (botany)

Natasha Klasios  - MSc Student (zoology)

Madeline Fung - NSERC USRA/Co-op Student

Markus Thormeyer - Work Learn student

Chris Ernst - Hakai Postdoctoral Fellow

I am recruiting one PhD student to start September 2020. I am particularly keen to work with students who are fascinated with freshwater aquatic plankton & insects, and who are interested in bridging community ecology with evolutionary ecology.  All students will need to have at least some fellowship/scholarship support.   Please email me if you'd like to explore grad school options with me. 

Selected Publications

*denotes undergraduate co-authors

Tseng, M. E. Yangel*, and A. Zhou*. 2019. Herbivory alters thermal responses of algae. Journal of Plankton Research. Accepted.

Tseng, M, J.R. Bernhardt, and A.E. Chila*. 2019. Species interactions mediate thermal evolution. Evolutionary Applications. DOI: 10.1111/eva.12805

Tseng, M. and S. Soleimani Pari*. 2019. Body size explains interspecific variation in latitude-size relationships in geographically widespread beetle species.  Ecological Entomology.  DOI: 10.1111/een.12684

Tseng, M., K. M. Kaur*, S. Soleimani Pari*, K. Sarai, D. Chan, C.H. Yao, P. Porto, A. Toor, H.S. Toor, and K. Fograscher. 2018. Decreases in beetle body size linked to climate change and warming temperatures. Journal of Animal Ecology.  DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.12789 *co-second author, (all co-authors were UBC undergrads from Biol411).

Tseng M. 2017. The effect of parasitism and interpopulation hybridization on Aedes albopictus fitness. Journal of Medical Entomology. 54(5):1236-1242

Tseng M., and M. I. O’Connor. 2015. Predators modify the evolutionary response of prey to temperature change. Biology Letters. 11: 20150798

Community Works

Michelle is a science consultant and photographer for the award-winning kids nature tv show Scout and the Gumboot Kids (weekday mornings and online on CBC).

The Tseng lab has helped elementary school classrooms integrate live insects and aquatic organisms into the class curriculum. We've worked with ladybugs, frogs, snails,  zooplankton, and praying mantises.  Not sure what will be next! Feel free to email if you need help thinking about the logistics of rearing live critters in your classroom.