Ian McTaggart-Cowan Professor
of Biodiversity Conservation and Ecological Restoration
School of Environmental Studies
University of Victoria
- Brian's bio on Nerd Corner, with Dr. Carin Bondar (this link keeps changing- scroll back to the very first bio to find me)
Brian has been an assistant professor in the School of Environmental Studies since July 2009. Originally from Nova Scotia, he loves to work in a variety of systems to study biodiversity questions, and is broadly trained as a community ecologist and conservation biologist. His research focuses on biodiversity structure and dynamics, and seeks to link theory and empirical approaches. Recently, much of his work has taken place at treeline and in the alpine zone beyond it, in Labrador, British Columbia, and the southwest Yukon. Other recent projects involve examining facilitation among species in bromeliad food webs in Costa Rica. Brian doesn't have an organismal bias to his research, and is comfortable working across the taxonomic spectrum, from insects to plants to birds
Andrew Trant, Post-doc
I am an ecologist interested in questions about how plants are responding to climate change in subarctic and alpine systems. Trees (and shrubs) are great for this because they leave behind an annual record that can tell us a lot about past climate, growth patterns and disturbance events. I am also interested in understanding factors that control species' range limits and diversity in general.
For more info see: andrewtrant.com
Kimberly Carlson, MSc. student
Kimberly is interested in how climate change will affect the endangered species whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) and the high-elevation plant communities associated with it. She spent the summer sampling whitebark pine stands across a precipitation gradient in the southern Coast Mountains of British Columbia to see how the tree community spatial patterns and understory vegetation differ over a range of climatic conditions. When not spending time outdoors, Kim enjoys running, drawing, knitting, and reading non-scientific literature.
Kira Hoffman, PhD student
Kira joined our group in 2012 after doing some really cool work in Dan Smith's UVic Tree-Ring Lab. Besides having the best field injury story of the past year, she is also good with soils, and digs a mean soil pit. Kira's research will be conducted at the Hakai Beach Institute on the Central Coast, examining relationships between soil condition, fauna, and above-ground primary productivity and diversity.
You can find out more at Kira's blog
Sarah McArthur, Honours student
Sarah is interested in factors that
affect terrestrial bird abundance in alpine regions,
and whether avian populations in the mountain parks
are within their range of natural variation. During
her employment terms with Parks Canada, she
collected acoustic songbird data in Yoho and
Kootenay National Parks to determine the relative
abundance among species, habitats and areas. In her
spare time, Sarah enjoys climbing, hiking and road
biking, as well as practicing yoga, crocheting,
playing guitar and reading in her hammock.
Jason Straka, MSc. student
Jason is interested in the ecology of plant-pollinator interactions, particularly in alpine and tundra ecosystems. He has recently conducted a series of field experiments in the Coastal Mountains of BC to determine which factors contribute to pollen-limitation, or limit reproduction of plants in other ways. One goal of his work is to find out how properties of plant-pollinator interactions might place pollination services at risk, or confer them resilience in the face of environmental change. Jason does not have any spare time. (If he did, he would probably spend it composing tasteless limericks about reproduction in plants).
For more info see http://web.uvic.ca/~jstraka
Katharine Corriveau, MSc. student
looked at the processes that are behind the patterns
of biodiversity we see in nature, how they relate to
spatial scale, and how they might be impacted by
climate change. To answer these questions, she
conducted regional surveys of alpine plant diversity
in southwestern British Columbia and is determining
how the patterns observed can be explained using soil,
climate and topographic variables. In her spare time,
she enjoys digging up Ordovician and Devonian fossils,
experimental baking, watching birds and mammals, and
reading up on mermaid ecology and other
mythologies. She did some really awesome work
here at UVic and is now on to a MSc/MBA program in
Museum Studies in Berkeley.
Sara Duncan, MSc. student
Sara Duncan's research interests lie in applied ecological restoration research for land reclamation, inspired by the research needs she perceived while working as an environmental consultant. For her Masters project, she is researching potential transplant methods for terrestrial reindeer lichens (Cladonia spp.) on reclaimed mine sites. Her primary study site is on an open pit oil sand site near Fort McMurray, Alberta, on areas targeted to be reclaimed to lichen-jackpine ecosites. She has also been involved in lichen reclamation research in alpine caribou habitat in B.C., and hopes that the results of her research will be applicable to other reclamation and restoration projects in lichen habitats throughout B.C. and Canada. Sara is co-supervised by Val Schaefer. Sara successfully defended her thesis in the Spring of 2011.
Owen Fitzpatrick, NSERC USRA 2012
We had Owen all over the place this year: starting in Victoria, he then spent half the summer on the Central Coast, and the other half wandering the Coast Range north of Whistler. Owen is careful in the field, thoughtful in the lab, and rocks a bug net all day long. We're sorry to lose him to the Ministry of Forests Research Branch this year, but suspect he'll be back for more soon.
Erika Dort, NSERC USRA 2011
Guthrie Gloag, Field Assistant 2011
Andrew Sheriff, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions Intern 2011, back for more in 2012
Coming soon: Adriana Luna and Yvonne Patterson!
Hauling out of Marriott Basin, August 2011
Field work on Hecate Island, Summer 2012
Lesser Purple Fringed Orchid in NS, featuring Brenna