Impact of Climate Change on Wetlands in Prairie Canada

Prairie wetlands are intricately linked with climate and hydrology. Future climate change, such as warmer conditions, changes in precipitation amount and intermittency, may both benefit and threaten the wetlands over the Canadian Prairies. During the same time, large-scale land use changes have been occurring such as the conversion of natural wetlands to agriculture lands.

Buffer Width and the Persistence of Black Duck Populations in Forested Wetlands of New Brunswick, Canada

The American Black Duck is the most abundant breeding waterfowl species in New Brunswick (NB), and, although previously common throughout New Brunswick (NB), notable declines in breeding black duck abundance have been reported in the commercially forested area of NB in the last 20 years. In NB, forestry operations must maintain >=30m buffers around waterbodies. These areas are important to waterfowl as nesting habitat and as a barrier to sources of disturbance in areas adjacent to wetlands. It is unknown if NB’s 30m requirement is adequate to maintain quality black duck habitat.

Quantifying the value and risk of restoring wetland habitats in agricultural landscapes

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.

Can retaining wetlands in agro-ecosystems mitigate the effects of agricultural intensification on biodiversity?

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.

Community dynamics in restored salt marshes

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.

Alberta High Resolution Wetland Inventory Methodology Development - Year two

This project aims to operationalize innovative methods for developing cost effective wetland inventories across Alberta by use of numerous sources of remote sensing data, namely light detection and ranging (LiDAR), synthetic aperture Radar (SAR), and optical imagery.

Prioritizing decision-making for agriculture and conservation in North America’s prairies under climate change and land-use change - Year 2

Wetland habitats are critically important to many animal and plant species, and they are in trouble. The North American prairies, for example, comprise some of the most productive wetland habitats in the world, but many areas of the prairies have lost up to 90% of their wetlands and more than 90% of their native grasslands due to farming practices and more recently, climate change. This project will build a decision-support framework to prescribe the conservation actions needed to sustain wetland biodiversity in the face of climate and land-use changes.

Moving the weakest links upstream: assessing passage of rainbow smelt and alewife at two Prince Edward Island fishways

Dams can be problematic for fishes, particularly those that migrate. In order to help fish move around dams, fisheries managers may construct fishways (aka “fish ladders”). However, these structures do not always function properly, often because they were built only to pass trout and salmon and are thus inappropriate for other species. This project aims to assess the ability of migratory rainbow smelt to use a newly constructed, “fish friendly” fishway at MacLean’s Pond on the Vernon River, PEI.

Community dynamics in restored salt marshes

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.

Quantifying Fishway Passage Success of Alewife, Alosa pseudoharengus, and its relationship to Marine Nutrient Transfer from the Ocean to Freshwater Ecosystems

Alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) is a key species in the ecology of the upper Bay of Fundy, Canada, that provides food to numerous predators and scavengers. Each year, Alewife migrate into freshwater systems to spawn in lakes. Dams and fishways often impede the migration of Alewife, which can have detrimental effects on Alewife populations, as well as nutrient exchange between marine and freshwater ecosystems.

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