Joe Bennett – PI

I’m an Associate Professor at the Institute of Environmental Science and Department of Biology at Carleton University, and co-director of the Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Laboratory (GLEL). My research touches on a variety of themes including conservation prioritization, invasion ecology, optimal monitoring, biogeography and spatial statistics. I have a particular interest in practical questions regarding invasive species control and management to protect threatened species. I also work on theoretical questions regarding the value of monitoring information and the determinants of community assembly in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Richard Schuster – Research Scientist

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Project: Combining full annual cycle population models and conservation optimization to address population declines of migratory birds in Canada.

Primary mentor institutions: Carleton University (Dr. Joseph Bennett), Cornell Lab of Ornithology (Dr. Amanda Rodewald), Environment Canada (Dr. Scott Wilson), Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (Dr. Peter Marra), Boreal Songbird Initiative (Dr. Jeff Wells)

Summary: Alarming declines are currently underway in numerous migratory vertebrate populations, creating an urgent need to understand when and how these populations are limited. My goal for this fellowship is to help improve conservation efforts along the migratory cycle for a suite of bird species breeding in Canada. Specifically, my project will address three questions:

  • How abundant are migratory bird species in landscapes that have differing levels of anthropogenic disturbance in breeding and overwintering habitats?
  • What is the influence of alternative scenarios of habitat loss and protection over large geographic areas on the population trends of migratory species?
  • Which regions are the best candidates for habitat protection, with the goals of maximizing biodiversity protection and minimizing risk of conservation failure?

This project will dramatically advance the development and application of metapopulation models for migratory species over space and time. I will deliver strategic plans that optimize conservation strategies across entire ranges for migratory species and identify portfolios of sites critical to the global persistence of these species. The framework I will develop has great potential to facilitate better-informed and more cost-effective conservation programs, which in turn have a higher likelihood of implementation and success.

Personal website: http://www.richard-schuster.com/

Trina Rytwinski – Research Scientist

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Research

My research focuses on understanding the circumstances in which roads and traffic affect wildlife populations. I am particularly interested in looking at species traits and their behavioural responses to roads, to determine which species or species groups are most vulnerable to road impacts, and determining ways to mitigate road effects. Most recently, I have focused on two road ecology related projects: (1) determining ways to improve knowledge on the influence of mitigation measures on wildlife populations through experiments, and (2) assessing the effectiveness of mitigation measures intended to decrease road related impacts on wildlife through meta-analysis. My research with Dr. Bennett and Dr. Cooke will involve conducting various systematic reviews; one of which is currently underway focusing on evaluating the effectiveness of non-native fish management projects for the restoration of freshwater ecosystems.

Background

I completed my PhD in 2012, at Carleton University, working with Dr. Lenore Fahrig in the Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Research Laboratory (GLEL) studying road effects on wildlife populations. After taking some maternity leave, I returned to the GLEL as a Post-doctoral fellow where I worked part-time from 2013-2016 with Dr. Fahrig on various road ecology projects while also working as a Contract Biologist for various universities and government e.g., Concordia University (Montreal), Canadian Wildlife Service (Ontario region), University of Melbourne (Victoria, Australia), Alterra, Wageningen University and Research Centre (Wageningen, The Netherlands). Prior to my PhD, I worked as a Research Biologist for the University of New Brunswick on a long-term study of the population dynamics of the northern flying squirrel in relation to habitat fragmentation in Fundy National Park, NB. Previous education: M.Sc. Biology, Carleton University (2004-2006); B.Sc. Biology (with Honours), Cape Breton University (2000-2004).

Karine Pigeon – Postdoc (co-supervised with Lenore Fahrig)

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I’m interested in understanding how environmental factors influence animal behaviour, including habitat selection, predator-prey dynamics, and population dynamics. As a research associate with the Geomatics and Landscape Ecology lab (GLEL) at Carleton University, my research interests merge landscape ecology and wildlife conservation: Can we extrapolate how species respond to attributes of their local environment such as patch size, patch isolation, and edge effects to large areas as a way to infer effects of habitat fragmentation over landscapes and regions? How does habitat heterogeneity and landscape configuration influence species responses & behaviours across scales? Cross-scale investigations of animal responses are central themes of my research, and I am particularly interested in non-invasive and multi-species approaches to answer these complex questions. I value community engagement for successful coexistence with wildlife, and I’m also focused on working towards reducing the gender gap at high-level position in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Until recently, my research was mostly dedicated to management and conservation of grizzly bears and woodland caribou in Alberta, Canada. I’m passionate about successful coexistence with bear species worldwide, and I’m a member of the Bear Specialist Group (BSG) with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Under that umbrella, I’m leading a field-based project looking at habitat selection patterns and distribution overlap between sloth bears and Asiatic black bears in and around protected areas of the Terai Arc of Nepal and India.

Personal website: http://www.karinepigeon.ca/

Rachel Buxton – Postdoc

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I am a conservation biologist interested in the impacts of humans on ecological systems and how ecological systems respond to restoration across geographic scales. My ultimate goal is to provide robust research that informs conservation management and policy. My background is in seabird ecology and bicultural restoration of island ecosystems, where I determined ecological factors that that drive seabird population recovery after non-native predator eradication.  I also have expertise in soundscape ecology, including the impacts of noise pollution on wildlife, the importance of natural sound, and the use of acoustics to monitor biodiversity at large scales. My current research at is in collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada and Carleton University, examining Canada’s science needs to meet biodiversity targets and prioritizing actions for biodiversity conservation.  My research will examine endangered species legislation in a spatially-explicit framework to determine how we can effectively prioritize actions for at-risk organisms.

My research has brought me to incredible places, from the Aleutian Islands to Antarctica. Although I remain an enthusiastic field biologist and ‘bird nerd’, my focus has shifted to using big data – from acoustic recorders and camera traps to remote-sensing.

Finally, I am passionate about science communication and equality and inclusion in the scientific community.

Personal website: https://rachelbuxton.wordpress.com/

Hsien-Yung Lin – Postdoc (co-supervised with Steve Cooke)

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I am a conservation biologist using field survey data, quantitative modeling, and decision analysis to support conservation decision-making and natural resources management plans. I am especially interested in studying the connection among different habitats or ecosystems (e.g., terrestrial-freshwater-marine) and finding cost-effective ways to manage the environment and conserve threatened species. My post-doctoral research in the Carleton University focuses on (1) studying the importance of transboundary conservation planning and setting priorities for threatened species conservation in Canada and (2) examining the potential of using historic canals for biological conservation and finding optimal actions for managing native and invasive species in the national historic waterway, Rideau Canal system.

Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=5H5i00AAAAAJ&hl=zh-TW

Dominique Roche – Postdoc (co-supervised with Steve Cooke)

My research explores how environmental stressors affect animal physiology, performance and movement-related behaviour. I work primarily on fishes and I like to combine controlled lab experiments with observational studies in the wild. Ultimately, I aim to relate experimental data to ecological outcomes. My research spans the fields of energetics (metabolism), locomotor performance (kinematics), ecomorphology, and behavioural and physiological ecology. I also have a keen interest in science policy and the open science movement. My research in this area has focused on evaluating the efficacy of journal policies that mandate public data archiving in ecology and evolution. I am an ambassador for the Center for Open Science and the data repository Figshare. Current projects with Joe and Steve (Cooke) involve documenting the state of the Canadian government’s open data in environmental sciences and examining how open science can help bridge the knowledge-action gap in conservation practice.

Figshare recently published a short profile piece on Dom here.

Personal website: http://dominiqueroche.weebly.com/

Jeff Hanson – Postdoc

I am interested in helping people make better decisions to conserve biodiversity. My research focuses on incorporating novel datasets into conservation planning exercises (e.g. establishing new protected areas), applying optimisation algorithms to find optimal solutions to conservation problems, and identifying cost-effective surrogate data that can inform conservation decisions when high quality expensive data are not available (e.g. genetic data). I also develop decision support tools to help others apply my findings to their own work. At Carleton University, I am working with Prof. Bennett to optimise the allocation of resources for establishing new protected areas and survey programmes from a shared budget. I hope to provide guidelines that conservation practitioners can use when deciding which places to survey so they can use remaining funds to establish protected areas in the places that will maximize biodiversity persistence.

Personal website: https://jeffrey-hanson.com

Dalal Hanna – Postdoc

–photo by Jake Dyson–

I am a freshwater and landscape ecologist, as well as science communicator that works to generate the information and momentum required for society to shift toward more sustainable and equitable living. I completed a BSc in Environmental Sciences at the University of Ottawa (2011), a MSc in Biology at McGill University (2014), and PhD in Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University (2020). My main research focuses on identifying the effects of various landscape management practices on freshwater ecosystems. Management practices of interest range from different types of protection strategies, to a variety of types of resource extraction. I want to help figure out how these different management practices affect freshwater ecosystems, and what actions can be taken sustainably and equitably conserve the biodiversity and ecosystem services supported by freshwaters. My postdoctoral research specifically assesses how stream biodiversity and water quality recover following timber harvesting in Canada’s Boreal Forest. The results from this research will help uncover the long-term, landscape-scale effects of forestry on Canada’s freshwater habitats and inform future management strategies.

I also collaboratively conduct research engaging stakeholder and community members to help facilitate the co-development of locally relevant environmental management strategies, and work on research focused on developing immersive place-based educational approaches to connect youth to environmental sciences. Aside from research, I am the co-founder and director of Riparia, a Canadian charity that strives to create between connections between young women and science by bringing them on free, multi-day, freshwater science expeditions, as well as a National Geographic Explorer. When I am not busy not asking scientific questions about the environment and sharing my passion for its conservation with others, I’m usually exploring it. I’m an avid freshwater paddler, pastime beekeeper and gardener, and love all things spending time outside!

Personal website: https://dalalhannaresearch.weebly.com/

Emma Hudgins – Postdoc

I use computational methods to study the ecology, impacts, and management of invasive species at large scales. I’m interested in uncovering broad generalities that emerge across species as a consequence of anthropogenic processes. I’m also interested in creating better forecasts of future invasion patterns, and better recommendations for invasive species management.

My focus to date has been United States forest pests. I have built models of invasive forest pest dispersal and establishment, urban tree distributions and pest-related tree mortality, and have used these models to project economic losses due to forest pests in urban areas. 

My postdoc builds on this work, but moves from descriptive to prescriptive, and shifts from the US to the Canadian context. The goal is to produce general rules of thumb for the best invasive pest management strategies, and for the budgetary balance between management and surveillance. I will use these rules of thumb to create an open-source tool for Canadian forests in collaboration with other lab members and Canadian government agencies, including Natural Resources Canada- Canadian Forest Service (NRCan-CFS), and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). 

In addition to my postdoc work, I’m part of the InvaCost project (https://www.researchgate.net/project/InvaCost-assessing-the-economic-costs-of-biological-invasions). InvaCost is an up-to-date, global-scale data compilation for economic cost estimates associated with invasive species. The project has gathered experts on various aspects of biological invasions to further take advantage of the database and analyze the data it contains.

My website is https://ejhudgins.com

Willow English – PhD (co-supervised with Paul Smith)

My PhD research focuses on carry-over effects in Arctic-breeding shorebirds.  I am working with tracking, reproduction, and physiological data to understand how events that occur during one part of the year affect individuals in subsequent seasons.  The species I’m working with are highly migratory and showing long term declines in population numbers.  I’m interested in using knowledge of whole-year cycles to better understand when, where, and why declines are occurring.

I am co-supervised by Dr Joseph Bennett at Carleton University and Dr Paul Smith at ECCC.

Previous education: MSc. Simon Fraser University, BSc (Hons) University of Victoria.

Jordanna Bergman – PhD (co-supervised with Steve Cooke

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Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from The University of South Florida in 2015, I have served as a Biological Scientist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute investigating reproductive dynamics in marine fisheries species for conservation and management purposes. My research here at Carleton University will continue to focus on management aspects of aquatic species, specifically in the Rideau Canal Waterway. We will be investigating fish connectivity and interactions with lock infrastructure and operations, as it is unclear if, when, and to what extent fish movement occurs at the site of individual locks, which is relevant for enabling movement of desirable fish species and restricting movement of invasive species.

Personal website: https://jordannabergman.wixsite.com/jordannabergman

Iman Momeni Dehaghi – PhD (co-supervised with Lenore Fahrig)

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During my graduate studies in Environmental Science at University of Tehran, Iran, I applied Systematic Conservation Planning (SCP) concept, as one of the very first attempts in Iran, to find an optimum solution for configuration of reserves in Golestan province, Iran. Upon graduating with a Master of Science in Environmental Science, I served as an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) expert, for a few years, in consulting engineering companies in Iran. Afterwards, in order to improve my skills in reserve selection, habitat suitability mapping, and corridor suitability mapping, I spent a year at Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Germany as a guest researcher.

Currently, I am a PhD student at Carleton University, co-supervised by Dr. Lenore Fahrig and Dr. Joseph Bennett and my research focus is to understand the impact of road caused mortality on monarch butterfly population and migration.

Allison Binley – PhD

Allison Binley

I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Victoria in 2015, with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. In the past, I have worked on a wide variety of projects, including captive breeding research in Australia, pinniped cognitive and sensory ecology in Germany, and coral reef restoration in Cambodia. More recently I worked for the Conservation Officer Service in British Columbia preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species, and volunteered on a number of bird monitoring and banding projects with Bird Studies Canada and Wild Research.

At Carleton my research is focused on using citizen science to increase monitoring efficiency and prioritize conservation efforts.

Jaimie Vincent – MSc

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I completed a B.Sc. in Biology from Université Laval in Québec City in 2017.

I have a general interest in conservation biology and experience working with amphibian and reptile populations in Central America and with Atlantic salmon in Québec rivers as well as with small mammals and birds in the Canadian Arctic. My research in the Bennett lab focuses on avian conservation using citizen science.  My aim is to determine the usefulness of eBird data to define priority conservation areas. This project will be done in collaboration with the Government of Canada and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Caitlyn Proctor – MSc

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I completed my undergraduate degree in 2018 at Carleton University, where I completed my BSc Honours in Environmental Science with minors in Biology and Physical Geography. My undergraduate thesis focused on factors influencing carbon dioxide fluxes on exposed bedrock landforms in the Canadian Arctic. My honours thesis allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of two topics I have always been interested in: climate change and the Canadian Arctic.

As I begin my graduate career, I am excited to pursue some of my other interests: conservation and species at risk. My research will be focus on the ranges of species at risk in Ontario, the varying degree of protection they receive and how to optimize protection.

Meagan Harper – MSc (co-supervised with Steve Cooke

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After earning an arts diploma in music performance in the USA, I switched gears and completed my undergraduate studies at Carleton University, earning a BSc (Honours) in Environmental Science with minors in biology and geography.  As an undergraduate, I was fortunate to be a member of the Bennett Lab and to work with the National Capital Commission on optimal invasive species management in the Ottawa area. My MSc research with the Bennett and Cooke Labs will focus on aspects of systematic review and evidence synthesis related to flows and fish productivity.

Samir Sellars – Honours

I am working towards the completion of my environmental science undergrad with a minor in geomatics and a minor in biology. I am passionate about the use of geospatial technology to benefit various aspects of the environment. My professional experience has been based around various GIS projects and has involved working with proprietary and open source software to best complete the task at hand.

My contribution to the Bennett lab will be the successful creation of a custom open source web map tool that will permit researchers to query for large amounts of spatially enabled data by using a simple and streamlined user interface. This project will be completed under Dr. Richard Schuster.

Josh Geauvreau – Honours

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student currently completing my Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science at Carleton University, with a concentration in ecology, biodiversity, and conservation. I am currently undertaking an Honours research project, supervised by Dr. Rachel Buxton. The project will focus on examining planning data from four countries, including Canada, the U.S., New Zealand and Australia, to improve species at risk recovery planning and management action. I am passionate about conservation issues such as species at risk recovery and invasive species. I hope to work towards finding effective solutions to these issues throughout my career.

Taylor Radu – Honours

I am a fifth-year undergraduate student at Carleton University finishing my degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in Ecology, Biodiversity and Conservation. I am currently working on my thesis looking at the probability of success of captive breeding for species at risk and whether the costs are higher or lower than for other types of actions. I am working with Dr. Hsien-Yung Lin and Dr. Joseph Bennett. I was fortunate enough to work with this lab in 2018 surveying for rare species of plants and examining policy documents to improve the recovery and management of species at risk. I hope to further my passion for conservation and species at risk and be a part of their recovery.

Lab Alumni: 

Kenneth Allan – Honours (Grizzly bear habitat modeling) 2019-2020

Elise Urness – MSc (Predicting rare species occurrences) 2018-2020

Katia McKercher – MSc (Diatom traits) 2017-2020

Keith Pettinger – Honours (Aquatic invasive plant prediction) 2018-2019

Diana Moczula – Honours (Monarch nectaring patterns) 2018-2019

Remus James – MSc (Bird communities in managed forest) 2016-2019

Jenny McCune – Postdoc (Optimizing surveys for rare plants) – 2016-2018

Hanna Rosner-Katz – MSc (Optimizing surveys for rare plants) – 2016-2018

Cassie Hill – MSc (Indigenous involvement in Species at Risk recovery planning) – 2016-2018

Calla Raymond – MSc (Sequential Value of Information) – 2016-2018

Clark Bolliger – Honours (Species at Risk Act spatial coverage) – 2017-2018

Jed Lloren – Honours (co-supervised; post ice storm forest community changes) – 2017-2018

Emily Cormier – Honours (diatom traits) – 2016-2017

Meagan Harper – Honours (optimal invasive species management) – 2016-2017

Elizabeth Robson Gordon – Honours (conservation costs) – 2016-2017