Developing species-habitat conservation models for priority, wetland-dependent birds in Eastern Canada

Wetland-dependent birds, notably waterfowl, are prominent features of the conservation landscape in Eastern Canada, Ducks and geese in particular denote seasonality through their spectacular migrations, are key harvested species in many regions, and are often visible to connect the public with the sense of “wild”. However, populations of most of these species in Eastern Canada remain below targets set under the North American Waterfowl Conservation Plan, which may be due in part to threats or changes to breeding habitats.

Mitigating goose herbivory at Westham Island tidal marsh.

Tidal marshes are essential ecosystems both economically and ecologically. They provide many natural resources, such as filtering pollutants from water and providing flood protection. However, since the 1980s, we have lost about 80% of the world’s wetlands including many tidal marshes. This internship aims to identify the role of goose herbivory on marsh vegetation as well as to identify the best way to mitigate impacts of goose herbivory on marsh vegetation.

A new tool for managing introduced Phragmites australis in Ontario: assessing invasion impacts and implementing biological control - Year two

Introduced Phragmites australis (common reed) is one of the most invasive plants in North America. Existing management is costly, can negatively affect other species, and is often only effective for small infestations. Classical biological control (i.e., introducing herbivores from the weed’s native range) is a promising tool for P. australis management that can contribute to a broader program of integrated pest management (IPM). Our goal is to partner with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) to implement biological control of introduced P. australis in southern Ontario.

Fish use of restored and natural salt marshes in Maritime Canada

Salt marshes are coastal wetlands that provide many ecosystem services. Many fish species are known to use salt marshes as habitat at some point throughout their lives including those that hold commercial and recreational value. Depending on their location, salt marshes may experience varying degrees of tidal flooding, not only making more areas of the marsh accessible to fish but resulting in excess particulate and dissolved organic matter being drawn out with the ebbing tide.

Marine ecosystem changes in Atlantic Canada: drivers of altered abundance and habitat use by waterfowl and marine birds?

Saltmarshes and coastal wetlands in Atlantic Canada are some of the habitats that have experienced the greatest decline in area over the past 400 years. Various organizations have monitored habitat change and bird use of these sites for decades, but no one has undertaken a comprehensive examination of changes in habitats or avian abundance, potential factors that influence those (including government policies), and the perspectives of local stakeholders on the successes and failures of conservation efforts in these region.

Diversity and Abundance of Beneficial and Pest Insects in Canadian Prairie Agroecosystems - Year two

The proposed research project will assess the insect fauna present associated with prairie wetlands, as well as those found in adjacent fields of crop plants (canola, barley, wheat) and restored grasslands. Insects will be collected using various trapping methods to sample taxa exhibiting different lifestyles. Collected specimens will be identified as specifically as possible to determine taxa found in sampled habitats.

Saltmarsh and dykelands in Atlantic Canada: implications of biological and socio-economic change for conservation

Saltmarshes and coastal wetlands in Atlantic Canada are some of the habitats that have experienced the greatest decline in area over the past 400 years. Various organizations have monitored habitat change and bird use of these sites for decades, but no one has undertaken a comprehensive examination of changes in habitats or avian abundance, potential factors that influence those (including government policies), and the perspectives of local stakeholders on the successes and failures of conservation efforts in these region.

Impacts of invasive European Cattail on Invertebrate Communities in the Fraser River estuary

Estuaries are important ecosystems which provide us with many benefits, some of which include storing carbon, dampening the impacts of rising sea levels, and are areas of high biodiversity. The Fraser River estuary in the lower mainland of British Columbia is seeing alteration from human presence, including the introduction of invasive species. One invasive species of interest is the European Cattail (Typha angustifolia) and its hybrid TyphaXGlauca.

The human dimensions of wetlands and waterfowl conservation: Developing measures of stakeholder involvement in conservation activities and nature-based recreation

The North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) is an international partnership to conserve abundant and resilient waterfowl populations and sustainable landscapes. Through their work with the four Canadian NAWMP Joint Ventures, Ducks Unlimited Canada collaborate on waterfowl and habitat management issues, including social issues that are relevant to wetland and waterfowl conservation.

Canada and Snow Goose Herbivory Effects on Tidal Marsh Recession in the Fraser River Estuary

Tidal marshes are incredibly important bot ecologically and economically. While they provide many natural resources, they also provide flood protection and water filtration. However, many marshes are recessing into unvegetated mudflats. My project aims to find out if and how much goose herbivory contributes to this problem and compare the effects of Canada Geese and Snow Geese. To do this, exclosures will be set up in the mudflats and the marsh edge to keep either one or both geese species out.

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