Research

The primary goal of my research activities is to work with undergraduate students and provide them with the opportunity to include research as a part of their educational experience at UNBC. Students who share my interest in DNA and its role as the blue print of life, apply their knowledge to investigate genetic differences in rainbow trout and mountain whitefish. We also use biochemical and molecular biology based methods to identify species and search for new species belonging to the orders of stoneflies, mayflies and caddisflies.


Specifically, we explore the impact of events, such as deglaciation after the last major ice age, in the formation of separate populations inhabiting rivers in the Prince George area. Over time, these populations have adapted to their environments leading to specific morphological features. For example, some populations of rainbow trout and mountain whitefish have developed features to thrive in environments with either low or high densities of food, consisting primarily of aquatic insects such as stoneflies, mayflies and caddisflies. Students apply their biochemical and molecular biology skills gained in their undergraduate education to characterize these adaptations at the DNA level, as well as quantifying morphological differences between populations.


Undergraduate Students doing Research:


Undergraduate theses (6-credit):

Ray Lyle                          (2014) Taxonomy of stoneflies from the Crooked River

Chandandeep Sangha   (2014) Phylogenetics of rainbow trout in the Prince George area

Daemon Cline                 (2015) Skwala stoneflies of the Prince George area

Emily Yurkowski             (2015) Taxonomy of caddisflies from the Crooked River (co-supervised with Dezene Huber)

Jerry Doffe                       (2016) eDNA of invasive cyprinids

Claire Shrimpton             (2016)  Taxonomy of mayflies from the Crooked River (co-supervised with Dezene Huber)




Undergraduate research (3-credit):

Ray Lyle                        (2012) Macro-invertebrate densities of the Willow and Crooked Rivers

Rashna Batiwalla          (2016) mtDNA analysis of mountain whitefish from the Bowron River



Undergraduate Research Experience (URE) awards:

Natalie Sharman           (2013)  Macro-invertebrate densities of the Willow and Crooked Rivers

Kenton Nicholson         (2013) Developing and index for snout morphology in mountain whitefish

Kinton Sy                       (2014) Macro-invertebrate densities of the Willow and Crooked Rivers

Michael van Dijk            (2014) Macro-invertebrate densities of the Willow and Crooked Rivers

Matt Ewen                      (2015) Body shapes of mountain whitefish in the Prince George area

Rashna Batiwalla          (2015) Macro-invertebrate densities of the Bowron River




Summer students:

Claire Shrimpton                (2014) Taxonomy of mayflies from the Crooked River (co-supervised with Dezene Huber)

Frank Freire Dos Santos   (2014) Taxonomy of caddisflies from the Crooked River (co-supervised with Dezene Huber)

Nathan Shaw                      (2008) Rainbow trout from the Blackwater and Crooked rivers (co-supervised with Mark Shrimpton)



Peer-Reviewed Publications

Daniel J. Erasmus, Sharon Brewer and Bruno Cinel. 2015. Integrating bio-inorganic and analytical chemistry into an undergraduate biochemistry laboratory. BAMBED, 43:2 121-125


Daniel J. Erasmus, Sharon Brewer and Bruno Cinel. 2015. Assessing the Engagement, Learning, and Overall Experience of Students Operating an Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer with Remote Access Technology. BAMBED 43:1 6-12


Daniel J. Erasmus and Hennie J. J. van Vuuren. 2009.  Genetic Basis for Osmosensitivity and Genetic Instability of the Wine Yeast S. cerevisiae VIN7. Am J Enol Vitic. 60:2 145-154.


Marks, Virginia D.; Ho Sui, Shannan J.; Erasmus, Daniel; van der Merwe, George K.; Brumm, Jochen; Wasserman, Wyeth W.; Bryan, Jennifer; van Vuuren, Hennie J. J. 2008. Dynamics of the yeast transcriptome during wine fermentation reveals a novel fermentation stress response. FEMS Yeast Research, 8: 35-52


Joana Coulon, John I. Husnik, Debra L. Inglis, George K. van der Merwe, Aline Lonvaud, Daniel J. Erasmus and Hennie J. J. van Vuuren. 2006. Metabolic Engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to Minimize the Production of Ethyl Carbamate in Wine.  Am. J. Enol. Vitic. 57:2 113-124


Erasmus, D. J., Cliff, M. A., and van Vuuren, H. J. J. 2004. Impact of Yeast Strain on the Production of Acetic Acid, Glycerol, and the Sensory Attributes of Icewine.  Am. J. Enol. Vitic. (55) 371-378


Erasmus, D. J., van der Merwe, G. K., and van Vuuren, H. J. J. 2003. Genome-wide expression analyses: Metabolic adaptation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to high sugar stress. FEMS Yeast Research (3) 375-399