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 management to protect threatened species and control invasive species. I also work on theoretical questions regarding the value of monitoring information and the determinants of community assembly in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Jaimie Vincent – Research Manager

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I am a biologist and research manager in the lab. In this role, I help coordinate research projects and provide administrative support to the lab. For my M.Sc., I explored how eBird data could be used for songbird migratory connectivity research. I currently collaborate on projects related to biodiversity conservation, connectivity and community science.

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).

Personal website: https://trinarytwinski.ca/

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

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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

Xin Wen – Postdoc (co-supervised with Paul Smith)

My research interests focus on the GIS-assisted decision support for ecosystem services. A major theme of my research is to analyze the relationship between ecosystem services, climatic change, and land-use change, to support decision-makers for better ecological and climate-based solutions. I utilize different ecological models and geospatial techniques to study the temporal changes of ecosystem services at different spatial scales, identifying current stressors and evidence of adaptation to climate change. At Carleton University, my research focuses on dynamic conservation at multiple scales, incorporating ecological and socioeconomic considerations simultaneously, developing a framework to guide the identification of conservation priorities under rapid land-use change and climate-driven range shifts.

Courtney Robichaud – Postdoc

As a scientist, I am interested in how we can use science to better conserve ecosystems and the species they support. As a community ecologist with interests in invasive species, conservation, and ecological restoration I am also particularly dedicated to collaborative research that addresses the complex ecological problems we face in Canada. I completed a BES with joint honours in Environmental Resources Studies and Biology at the University of Waterloo and completed my PhD in Biology at UW in 2021. Over the last six years, my research has addressed questions around the management of invasive Phragmites australis in freshwater marshes. I have prioritized research that government, NGO, and community partners have identified as important including assessing the risk that herbicide presents to freshwater ecosystems, and how native species and species at risk use invaded and treated marsh habitat. My research has involved studying numerous communities including plants, invertebrates, and bird communities (marsh birds and aerial insectivores). Beyond this work, I am also a scientist working on mangrove restoration with Gaea Conservation, leading a CIEE Working Group, and am dedicated to equity and justice in science. In the Bennett Lab, I will be developing and applying decision support tools to optimize biodiversity monitoring and conservation efforts. You can keep up with my work on my website https://crobichaud.weebly.com/.

Sahebeh Karimi – Postdoc

I am a spatial analyst and interested in studying spatial distribution of ecosystem services, and species.

During my PhD, I tried to find how land use changes affect riverine ecosystem services in Iran. The results of my thesis were used by decision makers for making more ecological and environmental friendly decisions like determining the environmental flow of Karaj river in Iran. I am currently working on systematic literature reviews in the Bennett Lab.

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

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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.

Brandon Edwards – PhD (co-supervised with Adam Smith)

Brandon Edwards on a trail, looking towards the sky, holding a fieldwork net.

I completed my BSc in 2020 at the University of Guelph, majoring in Mathematical Science (Statistics stream). My research interests lie at the intersection of statistics, computer science, and ornithology. I was involved with research throughout my undergraduate degree, focusing on developing an efficient agent-based modelling toward management decisions of the endangered Piping Plover. My current research at Carleton University and Environment and Climate Change Canada (with Dr Adam Smith as a co-supervisor) is investigating methods to move toward an integrated modelling framework to estimate status and trends of North American birds. I have always felt extremely connected to the natural world and spend much of my free time birding. The wonderment, awe, and magic that bird migration consistently brings each year is constant inspiration for me to do good research, and to help where I can to improve efforts for bird conservation.

Personal website: https://brandonedwards.ca

Ana Hernández – PhD

After completing my BSc. in Conservation Biology (St. Lawrence University) and my MSc. in Biodiversity and Conservation in Tropical Areas (UIMP-CSIC) I join Dr. Bennett’s lab as a new international PhD student from Spain. I am interested in a variety of topics such as species distribution models (SDM), the design of protected natural spaces, and policies to solve conservation problems. My current research focuses on improving rare plant detectability methods.

Recently, I worked as a research assistant at the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Spain to develop Pinus pinaster growth models, and at the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid where I conducted my MSc. thesis exploring the biology of the moss Ceratodon purpureus. These two experiences helped me develop better GIS and R practices, but I also learned lab techniques such as DNA extraction, PCR amplification, and gel electrophoresis.

When possible, I like to participate in science dissemination events and in 2019 I participated in an activity associated with the COP25 conference in Madrid where I presented the project “Damming in the Raquette River: A Case of Habitat Fragmentation”.

Apart from conservation biology, I enjoy learning new languages and volunteering in educational projects, especially those that aim to make science more accessible and attractive to children.

Reyd Smith – PhD (co-supervised with Dr. Jennifer Provencher)

I completed my BSc (Honours) at the University of Manitoba, where I focused on how artificial light exposure alters the spring migration phenology of purple martins under the supervisor of Dr. Kevin Fraser. Next, I shifted to Arctic systems during my MSc at the University of Windsor alongside Dr. Oliver Love. My thesis was focused on inter-colony isotopic niche and the effects of cumulative stressors on reproductive phenology, hormones, and behaviour in female common eider ducks.

In collaboration with the Nunatsiavut Government, for my PhD I am examining accumulation patterns and the health implications of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) in seabirds following a diesel oil spill in Newfoundland and Labrador. Common eider, black guillemot and great black-backed gulls will be examined for PACs, toxicokinetics and metabolomics, as well as isotopic niche characteristics to determine the routes and temporality of PAC exposure in the years after the oil spill.

Overall, my priorities are centred around the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge in all aspects of scientific research, including disseminating results back to the community. My general research interests include examining cumulative stressors such as contaminants, climate variables and foraging ecology, and the potential implications on health and reproductive success. Research aside, in my spare time, I dabble in birding, hiking/camping, snowboarding, gardening, and hanging out with my dog, Caspian.

Matthew Spetka – Research Assistant

As a Marine Science graduate from Eckerd College and former Biological Scientist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, my research interests have always been geared towards fish ecology and aquatic conservation. During my graduate degree at the University of South Florida, I studied the ways in which geographic information systems (GIS) could be used as a tool to model habitat suitability for estuarine juvenile fishes. I look forward to working towards Canadian conservation initiatives with the members of the Bennett Lab.

Karine Pigeon – Affiliated Scientist

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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/

Richard Schuster – Affiliated Scientist

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I am the Director of Spatial Planning and Innovation at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). I am responsible for the development and implementation of NCC’s conservation planning framework, strategic conservation planning research efforts, and new conservation technology initiatives.

Lab Alumni: 

Hsien-Yung Lin – Postdoc (conservation of migratory species, language barriers in conservation) 2018-2022

Treia Kirkpatrick – Honours (American eel vs Asian carp management) 2021-2022

Ian Napish – Honours (Indigenous protected areas) 2022

Rachel Buxton – Postdoc (monitoring for biodiversity conservation) 2018-2021

Josh Geauvreau – Honours (recovery goals species at risk; co-supervised Buxton and Bennett) 2020-2021

Taylor Radu – Honours (captive breeding costs and benefits; co-supervised Lin and Bennett) 2020-2021

Meagan Harper – MSc (effect of flows on fish productivity; co-supervised with Steve Cooke) 2019-2021

Caitlyn Proctor – MSc (Cost-Efficient Habitat Protection) 2018-2021

Samir Sellars – Honours (Spatial mapping queries) 2020

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