Wetlands provide critical habitat and valuable ecosystem services. Land use conversion in Ontario, however, has led to substantial wetland loss. The restoration of wetlands on agricultural properties has the potential to offset wetland loss, yet these wetlands are also susceptible to contamination by pesticides.
Grasslands are one of the most endangered habitat in North America. In Manitoba, over 90% has been lost in the last 100 years and with it a suite of prairie adapted species. The Poweshiek skipperling is one such species which in recent years has plummeted in abundance for unknown reasons. Less than 500 individuals remain in the wild and the grasslands of southeastern Manitoba represent one of the species last strongholds.
Agricultural practises in the North American prairies have intensified in the last several decades to increase food production, resulting in the drainage of up to 70% of prairie wetlands in some areas. Not surprisingly agricultural intensification is associated with the loss of biodiversity. Our research aims to assess whether retaining wetlands in agro-ecosystems can mitigate the effects of agricultural intensification on biodiversity, by monitoring wetland-derived insects and the breeding success of birds that depend on wetland-derived insects as prey.
The project will quantify spatial variation in food web quality associated with round goby / dreissenid mussel invasion and terrestrial dissolved organic carbon to understand how it may mediate the nutritional state (fatty acid content), body size, and Hg contaminant load of sportfish. We will work across existing spatial aquatic gradients in historical inorganic Hg sediment contamination, abundance of exotic round gobies and dreissenid mussels, and terrestrial DOC in the Upper St. Lawrence River. The Upper St.
Salt marshes are important coastal ecosystems because they provide many services to surrounding areas. Due to the high fertility of salt marsh soil, they have a long history of being converted to farmland in Maritime Canada. In recent years, there has been growing interest in restoring salt marshes to protect against coastal erosion, mitigate sea level rise, and provide increased habitat for birds, fish, etc.
Extracting coal through surface mining can damage natural habitats because it removes and fragments forests, grasslands, and shrub lands. Coal mines near Hinton, Alberta, our study area, have been reclaimed to reduce the negative effects of mining on the environment and on wildlife as per regulations in the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. Our study area consists of bighorn sheep, elk, and mule deer populations that use the vegetation, minerals, and topographic features of the reclaimed mines for food, protection from predators, and thermal cover.
Animal welfare and behaviour is a concern in captivity but is also a factor affecting conservation success. An animal ability to cope with stressors, which varies between and within species, can affect survival of individuals and compromise a population's viability. Human-induced stressors impact individuals differently depending on their personality, which applies to captive and wild settings.
Locally-caught freshwater fish is a healthy and important source of protein, especially for First Nation peoples living in remote communities across northern Ontario, where access to affordable fresh produce is limited. However, some of these fish have elevated concentrations of chromium (Cr), a potentially toxic metal that is abundant in the surrounding bedrock. Not all forms of Cr, however, are toxic to humans and the main goal of our study is to develop a method to differentiate the begin form of Cr (Cr3) from the toxic form (Cr6).
Natural clay minerals have a long history of medicinal applications. Recent studies have described their antibacterial properties and have suggested that specific physical and geochemical characteristics of clay are involved in this effect. Kisameet clay (KC), a natural deposit found in British Columbia has been used for healing purposes for generations, still little more than anecdotal information about its use has reported. We have confirmed broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity of KC against a variety of human pathogens.