Drivers and early warning signs of biodiversity change in urban ecosystems

With increasingly urban populations worldwide and a growing need to ensure ecosystem service provision, managers must plan not only for the urban woodlands we have today, but also for what they might become. This project will develop indicators to detect changes urban woodland succession and its repercussions on future biodiversity.

Evaluation of pollinator restoration and management in The Meadoway

The purpose of this project is to identify bees and evaluate plant-pollinator networks based on the biomonitoring surveys conducted at the Meadoway in 2020 in partnership with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). The aim of these surveys is to develop a baseline understanding of bee diversity in the Meadoway and evaluate the impacts of restoration, as well, to improve these practices for restoration by TRCA into the future. The intern will conduct timed bee surveys at the Meadoway at sites 1-3 years post restoration and on specific flowers.

Understanding Erosion Sensitivity in the Etobicoke Creek Watershed

The Etobicoke Creek watershed is heavily urbanized with erosion issues due to the high amount of impervious cover and creek channelization. This research will help to better understand the current erosion sensitivities and risks within the watershed for inclusion in a comprehensive watershed plan that will inform municipal land use and infrastructure planning.

Understanding Toronto’s Historical Watercourses

Today almost 3 million people live in Toronto (almost 6 million in the Greater Toronto Area). As the city's population continues to grow, people are increasingly seeking connection to the natural landscape within the city limits. This project will illuminate and re-invigorate understanding and appreciation of the natural history of the area and the importance of connected waterways. It will inform future planning related to the connection between natural and engineered water resources in an urban environment.

Developing a regional approach to modelling the co-benefits urban forest ecosystem services provide.

As the intensities of urbanization and climate change increase across the Toronto region, there are many benefits pointing to a need for increased investments in our regions urban forests. Urban forests provide co-benefits, services that benefit both humans and the environment, through heat mitigation and mitigation of the “urban heat island”, removing air pollution, sequestering carbon, managing storm water run-off and flood reduction, as well as benefits to both physical and mental human health.

Developing A Framework and Tools for Strategic Management of Invasive Species in Greater Toronto Area, Ontario

With limited funding available, managers must prioritize which invasive species and which areas need to be managed. This project will involve finding out which sites and species need to be prioritized for management within the Greater Toronto Area. Through formal discussions with different stakeholders in the area and by using existing data (e.g. species distribution and city attributes), high priority areas and invasive species can be mapped to help managers know where and which invasive species need to be controlled.

Connecting watershed-scale land-use with coastal wetland ecologicalintegrity: The tributary – coastal wetland nexus in Durham Region

Coastal wetlands and embayments are sensitive ecosystems located between rivers and the shoreline of lakes. Human activities (e.g., urban development and agriculture) on land can influence the functioning of these ecosystems and the quality of water that flows through them. Healthy coastal wetlands can offer significant services in the form of water quality purification, flood control, and storm surge protection, as well as provide important habitat for wildlife.

Thermal imaging for conservation and restoration success

Land surface temperature can tell us a lot about the health of ecosystems, forests and trees. Generally, the healthier, greener and more diverse a forest is, the colder it is, as plants use solar energy to grow, rather than releasing it as heat. This project focuses on using images of temperature measurements from satellites, space station and drones to monitor the health and development of conservation and restoration areas and find patches where the plants are stressed, and therefore hotter, due to disease, drought, pests or any other issue.

Disentangling Effects of Multiple Stressors on Nuisance Benthic Algae (Cladophora) in Nearshore Regions of the Great Lakes

We will analyze long-term monitoring data that were sampled over ten years from nearshore regions of the Great Lakes to find out key factors that cause the proliferation of nuisance benthic algae and fouling of shorelines of Lake Ontario in the Toronto–Durham region and throughout the Great Lakes. Additionally, we will test whether environmental DNA in water and sediment samples can be used to track the dispersal of nuisance benthic algae. Our project will contribute directly to the ongoing monitoring programs in the Great Lakes and will be relevant for management of nuisance benthic algae.

Restoration Opportunities for the Lost Creeks of South Etobicoke

Extensive development in south Etobicoke resulted in creeks historically viewed as a nuisance being buried, culverted or piped underground. However, creeks don’t just disappear, during large rainfall or snowmelt events. These buried creeks have been found to be a catalyst for flooding and reduce water quality because of reductions in storage and absorption of stormwater run-off over vegetated surfaces resulting in a ‘flashy’ response to stormwater. This project will investigate restoration options for the remnant portions of the lost creeks and investigate green infrastructure (i.e.