Expeditions & Research

  • Riparia: Empowering the Next Generation of Female Science Ambassadors

    Riparia: Empowering the Next Generation of Female Science Ambassadors

    Field dates: 

    Summers 2018–ongoing in Quebec

    Objectives: 

    To bring female-identifying youth on free freshwater science expeditions where they learn firsthand the basics of aquatic ecology and conservation science. Participants meet practicing scientists and participate in the collection of data aimed at answering critical questions.

    Sponsors: 

    National Geographic Society Early Career Grant

    Role: 

    Co-PI (with Dalal Hanna, Mikayla Wujec): plan logistics, lead safe expeditions, deliver educational programming, oversee data collection as well as follow-up reporting activities.

    Results:

    These will include the results of the analyses of collected data aimed at answering important environmental questions, which are developed in partnership with local communities.

    Outputs:

    Results will be shared with local community members to answer to their identified concerns. They will feed into future action plans, talks, publications and various online media.

  • The Future of Fresh Water and the Conservation of Freshwater Biodiversity

    The Future of Fresh Water and the Conservation of Freshwater Biodiversity

    Research dates:

    2016–present

    Objectives: 

    To explore critical, big-picture questions regarding the future of freshwater conservation. To identify avenues (political, social, ecological) for an improved future for freshwater biodiversity.

    Role: 

    Co-investigator: led or collaborated on team syntheses, prepared resulting reports.

    Results:

    We are identifying leading threats to freshwater biodiversity on a global scale as well as policy mechanisms by which meaningful change may be brought about.

    Outputs:

    Three peer-reviewed journal articles (herehere and here); presentations at regional (1) and national (1) conferences; and a feature in The Freshwater Blog.

  • Emerging Threats in an Ancient Context: Indigenous Elder Perspectives on Future Pacific Salmon

    Emerging Threats in an Ancient Context: Indigenous Elder Perspectives on Future Pacific Salmon

    Field dates: 

    June–September 2018 in British Columbia

    Objectives:  

    To assess Indigenous Elders’ threat perceptions and management recommendations for the Pacific salmon fishery, and to explore geographic as well as demographic correlates.

    Sponsors:

    National Indian Brotherhood Trust Fund Award; Royal Canadian Geographical Society Graduate Research Grant; George R. Carmody Graduate Award

    Role:            

    PI (Ph.D. work): designed field protocols, obtained clearances (from universities, First Nations), led key informant interviews, and now transcribing and coding responses.

    Results:       

    Preliminary results include widespread perception of dramatic Pacific salmon declines, and ‘climate change’, ‘disease’, and ‘overfishing’ as the top threats identified by respondents.

    Outputs:     

    The results of this work will be shared with the participating First Nations communities and Elders to invite their feedback and obtain their approval before wider dissemination and a press release. They will form the basis of an academic book and conference presentations.

  • Effects of Release and Escape from Fishing Gear on Sockeye Salmon Migration and Survival

    Effects of Release and Escape from Fishing Gear on Sockeye Salmon Migration and Survival

    Field dates: 

    July–October 2016 & 2017 in British Columbia

    Objectives:

    To understand the ultimate fitness consequences of (i) release and (ii) escape scenarios for Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus sp.) captured in marine and freshwater fisheries.

    Sponsors:    

    NSERC Strategic Grant; Pacific Salmon Commission Northern Fund; NSERC Engage Grant & Canadian Fishing Company Matching Funds

    Role:            

    PI (Ph.D.): designed field protocols, led teams of 5-20 students and fishers, recorded data, conducted laboratory tests, and now completing analyses and preparing final reports.

    Results:       

    Preliminary results show a strong association between release and escape treatments and fitness outcomes – with more severe treatments inhibiting migration and survival.

    Outputs:     

    One journal article (to date) and a Science Advisory Report for Fisheries and Oceans Canada; two presentations at regional symposia; media feature on Carleton University Newsroom.

  • Reef to Aquarium: Tracing the Marine Ornamental Fish Trade

    Reef to Aquarium: Tracing the Marine Ornamental Fish Trade

    Field dates: 

    May–July 2016 in Indonesia and the Philippines and April–June 2017 in the United States

    Objectives:  

    To track aquarium-destined fish from their native habitat in Indonesia and the Philippines (the world’s largest exporters) to aquariums in the United States (the largest importer). Also to collect impactful visual media to share through National Geographic’s global digital reach and to produce a short documentary for the wildlife film festival circuit.

    Sponsors:    

    National Geographic Society Inaugural Collaboration Grant

    Role:            

    Co-PI (with Caleb Kruse, Shannon Switzer Swanson, Mikayla Wujec, Justin DeShields): planned logistics, led interviews with key informants, collected visual media, and delivered on reporting requirements.

    Results:       

    We uncovered the little-known journey of aquarium fish, bringing it to light for a global audience, and identified key steps towards a more sustainable aquarium trade.

    Outputs:        

    An interactive online map; media features on CBC News, CBC Mainstreet, and National Geographic Wildlife Watch.

  • Bumphead Parrotfish in No-Take Marine Protected Areas in the Solomon Islands

    Bumphead Parrotfish in No-Take Marine Protected Areas in the Solomon Islands

    Field dates: 

    January–March 2015 in the Western Solomon Islands

    Objectives:  

    To quantify bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) populations on coral reefs inside and outside of no-take marine protected areas.

    Sponsors:    

    National Geographic Society Young Explorers Grant

    Role:            

    Co-PI (with Mikayla Wujec): designed field protocols, led Scuba and snorkel transect surveys, recorded fish observations, and delivered on reporting requirements.

    Results:       

    We found a marked absence of bumphead parrotfish irrespective of habitat protection status, but identified large populations of large-sized individuals in remote regions.

    Outputs:        

    Six published entries in National Geographic’s Explorers Journal; two presentations at international conferences as well as National Geographic Headquarters; media feature on Concordia University News Stories.

  • Predicting the Optimal Refuge for Endemic Fishes from an Invasive Predator in the Lake Victoria Basin

    Predicting the Optimal Refuge for Endemic Fishes from an Invasive Predator in the Lake Victoria Basin

    Field dates:

    June–August 2011 & 2012 in the Lake Victoria Basin, Uganda

    Objectives:  

    To investigate how endemic fishes use wetlands as a refuge from Nile perch (Lates niloticus) predation and explore whether hypoxia (low-oxygen) tolerance predicts fish distribution.

    Sponsors:    

    National Geographic Society Young Explorers Grant; McGill University New Initiatives Grant; McGill Graduate Research Enhancement and Travel Award

    Role:            

    PI (M.Sc.): designed field protocols, led five-person fish monitoring team, recorded and analyzed data, and prepared resulting reports.

    Results:       

    We identified wetland ecotones as the critical refuge habitat, supporting both the highest abundance and richness of endemic fish, and we found that hypoxia tolerance correlates with the ability of fish to penetrate wetlands and access predator-free waters.

    Outputs:

    Two peer-reviewed journal articles (here and here) and one booklet that was shared with local community members; presentations at national (2) and international (1) conferences; media features in The New York Times and CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks.

  • Colobus Monkey Feeding Ecology and Behaviour in Kibale National Park, Uganda

    Colobus Monkey Feeding Ecology and Behaviour in Kibale National Park, Uganda

    Field dates: 

    June–August 2009 in Kibale National Park, Uganda

    Objectives:  

    To quantify the food patch depletion behaviour of guereza monkeys (Colobus guereza) and assess whether this behaviour is a key determinant of guereza social structure.

    Sponsors:    

    McGill University Diane Hasley Field Studies Award

    Role:            

    PI (B.Sc. Honours): designed field protocols, led four-person guereza monitoring team, recorded and analyzed data, and prepared resulting reports.

    Results:       

    We identified a fundamental difference in the food patch depletion behaviour of guereza monkeys when compared with other sympatric, folivorous (leaf-eating) species, and found evidence that this distinction accounts for certain key differences in social structure.

    Outputs:     

    Two peer-reviewed journal articles (here and here); presentations at provincial (1) and national (1) conferences.

Outreach Projects

  • Science Camps

    Science Camps

    With Indigenous Youth

    Free camps for youth (ages 7–17), with financial support from NSERC’s Aboriginal Ambassador program.

  • Science Faction

    Science Faction

    The Podcast Miniseries

    A podcast about unbelievable scientific discoveries. Told with only the 1000 most used words. Listen here.