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This Week in Research – Laurentian ecologists' research expertise highlighted at Wildlife 70 conference

Laurentian ecologists' research expertise highlighted at Wildlife 70 conference

Wildlife70, a symposium on long-term wildlife research hosted by Trent University, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada, was recently held May 1-3 in Peterborough.  Over 150 participants attended talks by scientists from academia, government and non-governmental organizations describing their research and approaches to long-term studies of wildlife in Canada.

Laurentian University’s contribution to Canada’s wildlife research landscape was reflected in the three invited talks and a student poster from Laurentian faculty. Drs. Jacqueline Litzgus and Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde from the Centre for Evolutionary Ecology and Ethical Conservation (CEEEC) as well as PhD student Pauline Priadka (supervised by Dr. Frank Mallory) all presented their research including:

Invited Talks included:

Jacqueline Litzgus, Matthew Keevil, Ronald Brooks – The value of long-term data for quantification of population dynamics and recovery of long-lived species.

Dr. Litzgus has been working on a long-term study of snapping turtles and painted turtles and discussed the conservation consequences of their long lifespan.

Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde, Jeff Bowman – 72 years and counting: Monitoring small mammals in Algonquin Provincial Park. Dr. Schulte-Hostedde described a long-running study he has begun working with Algonquin Park that has been tracking the population dynamics of various species of small mammals.

Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde, Gillian Crozier – Integrating ethics into long-term ecological studies. Dr. Crozier was ill and could not attend Wildlife70, and so Dr. Schulte-Hostedde gave a talk describing their project examining the ethics of ecological research, and its application to long-term wildlife studies.

Student Poster:

Pauline Priadka, Glen Brown, Frank Mallory - Optimizing monitoring of harvested species.

The symposium was well attended by researchers from across Canada, both renowned senior scholars and early career scientists.  It was a great opportunity to discuss not only the science being produced by these long-term studies, but also the logistics and planning associated with such research. The symposium ended with a statement on long-term ecological research and monitoring in Canada that proposes a formal network of such studies. In addition, there is a plan to create a section of the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution (CSEE) devoted to long-term ecological studies.

The symposium offered a unique opportunity to connect with ecologists across Canada, and highlighted the contribution of Laurentian, and particularly CEEEC, to long-term wildlife studies in Canada. It is clear that Laurentian University and CEEEC will have a large role to play as plans move forward to lobby governments for support.

As Canada Research Chair in Applied Evolutionary Ecology, support for long-term ecological studies is a priority for Dr. Schulte-Hostedde. “Much of our understanding of how the natural world works is dependent on data from long-term research. Practically, the impacts of human activities such as climate change on ecosystems can be ascertained from these studies.”

For more information on the conference, follow the link: https://wildlife70.com/