Lichen hotspot discovered on Prince Edward Island

North Enmore nature reserve, PEI (Photo by Troy McMullin)

North Enmore nature reserve, PEI. Lichen-rich woodlands are in the background. (Photo by Troy McMullin)

In the fall of 2014 my colleague, Rachel Deloughery, and I travelled throughout Prince Edward Island in search of lichen. We visited 63 locations that had the potential of being good lichen habitat. Many of the areas were rich with lichens, but...

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Blazing ahead of climate change: The potential for assisted migration of Alberta’s native plants

The northern blazing star is being used to test assisted migration as a climate change conservation tool. (Photo by ABMI)

The northern blazing star is being used to test assisted migration as a climate change conservation tool. (Photo by ABMI)

It’s the Goldilocks principle. All species, including plants, animals and fungi, are uniquely adapted to a specific combination of climate and environmental conditions that they need to grow, reproduce and thrive; things need to be...

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Historical ecology: Probing the mysteries of ancient landscapes

A sunny Garry oak savannah (Photo by Jenny McCune)

A sunny Garry oak savannah (Photo by Jenny McCune)

A challenge for humans in our attempts to manage ecosystems is that we’re often dealing with beings much longer lived than ourselves. For example, a Douglas-fir tree can live to be 800 years old or more. A century is a long time for a human,...

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Pollinator edge effects on Manitoba's grasslands

A small andrenid bee sheltering in a wild strawberry flower (Photo by Marika Olynyk)

A small andrenid bee sheltering in a wild strawberry flower (Photo by Marika Olynyk)

Animal pollination is a key ecological process, ensuring the reproduction and genetic diversity of most flowering plants, and providing food for pollinators. In Manitoba, insects are the most important pollinators. Our short summers are busy as...

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The importance of kelp

Sea otter, Vancouver Aquarium (Photo by Wikimedia Commons, Stan Shebs)

Sleeping sea otter at the Vancouver Aquarium (Photo by Wikimedia Commons, Stan Shebs)

Sea otters are a keystone species. They play an important role in the health and stability of near shore marine ecosystems. They eat sea urchins and other invertebrates that eat vast quantities of giant kelp. In the absence of sea otters, grazing...

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Moths:Amazing, beautiful, important and in need of study

Wood nymph moth (Photo by NCC)

Wood nymph moth (Photo by NCC)

Moths are amazing creatures that are only beginning to receive attention from naturalists. Many people have difficulties determining the difference between moths and butterflies. They can be similar-looking, as they both have scales that cover...

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Call of the wild: Up close and personal with screech owls in Fernie, BC

Western screech-owl (Photo by US Fish & Wildlife Service)

Western screech-owl (Photo by US Fish & Wildlife Service)

There is nothing more incredible than witnessing a whole family of owls interacting and communicating with one another. This is what I discovered after an intimate and humbling experience with a family of screech-owls in the Elk Valley this past...

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Doing Science that Matters: Engaging with Communities in Collaborative Scientific Research

University of Victoria student Megan Adams monitoring hair snags near Wuikinuxv Village, BC (Photo by ACS lab)

University of Victoria student Megan Adams monitoring hair snags near Wuikinuxv Village, BC (Photo by ACS lab)

I should have known I would become an ecologist. As a child, I always seemed to catch a salamander while waiting for the school bus, or bring home precious flowers to press through the seasons. I could stare from the bus window out into the...

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Where have all the pollinators gone?

Research site (Photo by Diana Robson)

Cold, cloudy weather at the preserves in September meant that most of the pollinators just stayed home. (Photo by Diana Robson)

After a summer filled with ticks, mosquitoes and biting flies, I was ready for a pest-free pollinator survey at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) properties near Riding Mountain National Park this September. Autumn field work can be quite...

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Listening for the yellow rail

Yellow rail (Photo by Dominic Sherony, Wikimedia Commons)

Yellow rail (Photo by Dominic Sherony, Wikimedia Commons)

The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) surveys biodiversity across the province of Alberta. From the grasslands and parklands of the south to the boreal in the north, we record the terrestrial and wetland species present, gather soil...

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