Dr. Ivana Schoepf

Postdoctoral Fellow

Ivana Schoepf, Ph.D.

is35 [at] queensu [dot] ca


Personal website - https://www.ivanaschoepf.com/



2013 - Ph.D. Evolutionary Biology - University of Zurich (Switzerland)
2003 - M.Sc. Conservation - University College London (United Kingdom)
2001 - B.Sc. (Hons) Zoology - Queen Mary University of London (United Kingdom)

Research Interests

I am an evolutionary biologist with strong interests in behavioural endocrinology. My primary research goals are aimed at understanding adaptive phenotypic plasticity, particularly in individuals experiencing different environmental pressures, being climate driven or parasitic in nature.

My research is mostly empirical and typically employs the use of field manipulation experiments performed in wild species directly in their natural environment. I typically employ a multi-disciplinary approach to tackle my questions, often looking at proximate mechanisms and ultimate reasons leading to individuals displaying certain adaptations. Some of the topics I have addressed so far include: sociality (mating systems in particular), dispersal, parents-offspring conflicts, performance and personality.

Currently I am working on maternal effects and host-parasite interactions in Dr. Fran Bonier’s lab. My work is aimed at understanding how parasitic infections change across life stages, and how different types of parasite interact with each other within a host infected with more than one kind of parasites, ultimately affecting its fitness and reproduction. To do so, I am experimentally medicating wild red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus), a species well known for its high tolerance towards malaria, to treat their infections, and measure medication effects on fitness, behaviour and reproduction of adults as well as growth, physiology, immune function, and behaviour of their offspring. Overall, this research aims to understand how disease impact fitness and reproduction.

PUBLICATIONS (Selected - For a complete list look at the link to my CV)

2018 Schoenle LA, Schoepf I, Weinstein NM, Moore IT, Bonier F. Higher plasma corticosterone is associated with reduced costs of infection in red-winged blackbirds. General and Comparative Endocrinology 256, 89-98

2017 Schoepf I, Pillay N, Schradin C. The pathophysiology of survival. Journal of Comparative Physiology B 187 (1), 183-201

2016 Yuen CH, Pillay N, Heinrichs M, Schoepf I, Schradin C. Personality traits are consistent when measured in the field and in the laboratory in African striped mice (Rhabdomys pumilio). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 70 (8), 1235-1246

2015 Schoepf I, Schmohl G, König B, Pillay N, Schradin C. Manipulation of population density and food availability affects home range sizes of African striped mouse females. Animal Behaviour 99, 53-60

2014 Schoepf I, Schradin C. Arginine vasopressin plasma levels change seasonally in African striped mice but do not differ between alternative reproductive tactics. General and Comparative Endocrinology 204, 43-48

2013 Schoepf I, Schradin C. Endocrinology of sociality: comparisons between sociable and solitary individuals within the same population of African striped mice. Hormones and Behavior 64, 89-94

2012 Schoepf I, Schradin C. Better off alone! Reproductive competition and ecological constraints determine sociality in the African striped mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio). Journal of Animal Ecology 81, 649-656

I've spent more time than many will believe [making microscopic observations], but I've done them with joy, and I've taken no notice those who have said why take so much trouble and what good is it?

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

It's a parts list... If I gave you the parts list for the Boeing 777 and it had 100,000 parts, I don't think you could screw it together and you certainly wouldn't understand why it flew

Eric Lander

What is true for E. coli is also true for the elephant

Jacques Monod

The world becomes full of organisms that have what it takes to become ancestors. That, in a sentence, is Darwinism

Richard Dawkins

Shall we conjecture that one and the same kind of living filaments is and has been the cause of all organic life?

Erasmus Darwin

Nature proceeds little by little from things lifeless to animal life in such a way that it's impossible to determine the line of demarcation


Cells let us walk, talk, think, make love, and realize the bath water is cold

Lorraine Lee Cudmore

In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history

Charles Darwin

It is my belief that the basic knowledge that we're providing to the world will have a profound impact on the human condition and the treatments for disease and our view of our place on the biological continuum

J. Craig Venter

Imagine a house coming together spontaneously from all the information contained in the bricks: that is how animal bodies are made

Neil Shubin

A grain in the balance will determine which individual shall live and which shall die - which variety or species shall increase in number, and which shall decrease, or finally become extinct

Charles Darwin

The stuff of life turned out to be not a quivering, glowing, wondrous gel but a contraption of tiny jigs, springs, hinges, rods, sheets, magnets, zippers, and trapdoors, assembled by a data tape whose information is copied, downloaded and scanned

Steven Pinker

We wish to discuss a structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid. (D.N.A.). This structure has novel features which are of considerable biologic interest

Rosalind Franklin

We are biology. We are reminded of this at the beginning and the end, at birth and at death. In between we do what we can to forget

Mary Roach

The systems approach to biology will be the dominant theme in medicine

Leroy Hood

I've always been interested in animal behavior, and I keep reading about it because it's so surprising all the time - so many things are happening around us that we neglect to look at. Part of the passion I have for biology is based on this wonderment"

Isabella Rossellini

Because all of biology is connected, one can often make a breakthrough with an organism that exaggerates a particular phenomenon, and later explore the generality

Thomas Cech

Nothing in Biology makes sense except in the light of evolution

Theodosius Dobzhansky

Biology is now bigger than physics, as measured by the size of budgets, by the size of the workforce, or by the output of major discoveries; and biology is likely to remain the biggest part of science through the twenty-first century

- Freeman Dyson

Nothing can be more incorrect than the assumption one sometimes meets with, that physics has one method, chemistry another, and biology a third

- Thomas Huxley