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Meeting With Guppies

Thanks to the QCBS grant, I have been able to do an international 6 month traineeship at the university of McGill. Indeed, as I didn’t have any salary during my traineeship,  I would most likely not have been able to do an international internship without the help of the QCBS, for it would have been too expensive.

During this internship I tested the influence of ectoparasites on the evolution of social behaviour and boldness in guppy fish (Poecilia reticulata) and how melanin-based coloration could signal behavioural syndromes in wild population, under the supervision ofDr Lisa Jacquin, Andrew Hendry & Simon Reader. 


To do so, I learned how to take care of fish, and infect guppies with ectoparasites under binocular microscope. It was difficult on the beginning, but it became more and more easy with time. Additionally, this traineeship trained me on how measuring animal personality on laboratory condition. Indeed I ran several behavioral tests to measure guppies personality traits such as shoaling tendency, activity and boldness and I consolidated my statistical skills while analysing data.

As McGill is an English speaking university, I practiced English, by speaking it and by writing it. Moreover, I met other scientists coming from different countries, that allowed me to increase my international network and will give me more opportunities of international collaborations in the future. Additionally, I had the opportunity to write several scientific articles about this project that I expect to publish in a near future. I’m convinced that I would not have been able to do any of it if I had done my traineeship in France, and that it will help me to start my scientific career.

I’m convinced doing my traineeship in Canada and not in my native country made my traineeship a much more rewarding experience that will be much help to me during my future PH.D. That’s why I would recommend to anybody who plan on doing a Ph.D to do their internship in a foreign laboratory.

In summary, this traineeship was a wonderful adventure where I learned a lot on the personal and the professional side of life. For instance, it allowed me to gain experience in scientific project management and reinforced my wish to keep studying animal behaviour within a Ph.D.

Amandine Boniface

Post date: September 12, 2014


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