Urban bat ecology in the Metro Vancouver region

Bats often use urban areas, but ecologists lack understanding of where they roost and forage. Bats are important predators on insect pests, including mosquitoes, so understanding their requirements is important. This need is made more critical by the likely imminent spread of an exotic fungal pathogen that causes white-nose syndrome, which is often lethal to bats. Our proposed work will support a MSc student who will examine summer roosts in the Metro Vancouver region.

Metal concentrations and speciation in fish from the Far North of Ontario; implications for subsistence consumption and the Ring of Fire development

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).

Are bat boxes as artificial roost structures a threat mitigation tool or can they impede population recovery?

Bats are a crucial part of healthy ecosystems, providing vast economic benefits through control of forest, agricultural and human pest insects (including mosquitoes!). Unfortunately, bat populations face many threats, including an exotic fungus causing white-nose syndrome, which is lethal to bats. It is important to understand how we can enhance bat habitats so they can successfully raise young – an essential part of maintaining or recovering populations. Our proposed work will support a MSc student who will compare maternity colonies in the Okanagan and Kootenay regions of BC.