Matthew Guzzo

Matthew Guzzo wins Weston Fellowship and joins McMeans Lab

Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - 1:37pm

Weston Family Awards in Northern Research

Since 2007, the Weston Family Awards in Northern Research (previously The W. Garfield Weston Awards in Northern Research) have provided unparalleled support to young scientists in Canada pursuing research in Canada’s North. Funded by the Weston Family Foundation (formerly The W. Garfield Weston Foundation), these annual awards are some of the most prestigious in the country for students pursuing a master’s degree, a doctoral degree or postdoctoral fellowship. Over 270 early-career researchers have been selected to receive an award since the program’s inception, forming a community of Weston Family Northern Scientists who are at the forefront of northern scholarship and who are helping shape a better future for Canada and the world.

Weston Family Award winners undertake research projects across a broad spectrum of fields and disciplines in the natural sciences, including studies of northern ecosystems, biodiversity, flora and fauna, meteorology, oceanography, glaciology, geography and environmental studies.


Matthew Guzzo

"I grew up in Northern Ontario and have been an avid fisherman for as long as I can remember. My research generally focuses on the movement, physiology, growth, and feeding of freshwater fish and how these characteristics may be altered by climate change, fishing, and other human-induced stressors. I am especially interested in studying northern fish populations because lakes and rivers in this area are changing at greater magnitudes and rates than most other regions of the world. My research at UTM is funded by a Weston Family Award in Northern Research."

Matthew obtained his BSc, Honours Double Major, Biology and Environmental Science, at University of Western Ontario. He went next to University of Windsor, where he obtained his MSc - Environmental Science. He did his PhD at University of Manitoba and then joined University of Guelph as PostDoctoral Fellow.

Matthew has joined Dr. Bailey McMeans's lab in September 2020 and his research is focused on "Impacts of climate change and exploitation on the growth and life history of two valuable northern fishes":

"Freshwater lakes support food security, recreation, and economical benefits for millions of people worldwide, but are strongly impacted by human activities, including climate change and resource exploitation. In the Canadian North, freshwater fisheries represent an important resource to its people; however, with this region warming more than double the global average and undergoing increases in human population size, the sustainability of these fisheries are threatened. Lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) and lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) are two freshwater fish species that are widely distributed throughout Canadian North, where they support many commercial, recreational, and cultural fisheries. Like other cold-water fishes, lake trout and lake whitefish exhibit slow growth, late maturation, and intermittent reproduction, making them highly vulnerable to disturbance and exploitation and other stressors like warming. Interestingly, the influence of these two stressors share a common denominator — they both are generally thought to cause fish populations to become ‘faster’. Increased temperatures due to climate change are predicted to cause more rapid early growth and maturation, leading to reductions in the body size and lifespan. Similarly, exploitation has also been found to target the largest size of fish and causing populations to become comprised of earlier maturing, small bodied individuals. The proposed research is an extension of my past and ongoing northern research, with an overall goal of teasing apart the individual and synergistic impacts of climate change and increasing exploitation on cold-water fish populations in the Canadian North." wrote Dr. Matthew Guzzo on his proposal.

Dr. Matthew Guzzo, welcome to the Department of Biology, University of Toronto Mississauga