David Hik, PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), FRCGS


Faculty of Science - Deans Office



Area of Study / Keywords

Mountain and Arctic Ecology Herbivory Climate Change


Adjunct Professor, Biological Sciences, University of Alberta (2018 - present)

Associate Dean (Academic), Faculty of Science, Simon Fraser University (2019 - present)

Professor, Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University (2018 - present)

Professor, Biological Sciences, University of Alberta (2005 -  2018)

Visiting Guest Professor, Polar Research Institute of China, Shanghai (2014 -  2016)

Adjunct Professor, School of Public Health, University of Alberta (2012 -  2015)

Director (Acting), Canadian Circumpolar Institute, University of Alberta (2011 -  2012)

Canada Research Chair in Northern Ecology, University of Alberta (2002 -  2012)

Executive Director, Canadian International Polar Year (IPY) Secretariat (2004 – 2009)

Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, University of Alberta (1999 -  2004)

Assistant Professor, Life Sciences (Botany), University of Toronto at Scarborough (1994 -  1998)

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Division of Wildlife & Ecology, CSIRO, Canberra, Australia (1994)


Through a variety of long-term and/or large-scale observations and experimental studies of ecological processes, my research program contributes to the development of strategies for conserving biodiversity, maintaining and restoring disturbed ecosystems, and understanding the consequences of climate change. My research is focused on studies of the structure and dynamics of plant and animal populations and their interactions, in the context of landscape and climatic change or variability, in mountain, northern and arid environments (currently Yukon, Alberta, British Columbia, Iceland, Costa Rica, Central Asia; and previously NWT, Hudson Bay, Svalbard, Australia).

The core of my research program builds on 25 years of studies in Yukon mountains, the longest running terrestrial mountain ecology project in Canada. Priorities for this work includes developing models of climate feedback processes that influence large northern lake ecosystemselevational-dependent warming (EDW), and the consequences of rapid and amplified warming for the ecology and conservation of mountain and tundra ecosystems.

Several projects, both new and ongoing, complement these long-term efforts.  In southern British Columbia and Alberta I am working with multi-agency partners (Alberta Govt, Parks Canada, Alpine Club of Canada) on the resilience of alpine habitats in the Rocky Mountains and Columbia Mountains.  Through these partnerships we are establishing a research and observing program to look at consequences of rapid habitat change above treeline.  Internationally, I maintain a number of collaborative research initiatives with colleagues in Iceland, Costa Rica and Kyrgyzstan. These projects provide the opportunity to test ecological theory across diverse mountain and highland environments, and contribute to development of strategies for management and conservation in the face of rapid change. A priority for the next few years is to test the strength of direct and indirect trophic interactions associated with herbivory, predation and climate across steep elevational gradients. The work in my lab also contributes to advancing the science-policy interfaceknowledge translation, Open Science, and the resilience of social-environmental systems in northern and mountain environments.

See Google Scholar publications



Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Coursera - Mountains 101  (rated as top 100 MOOC of all-time)                                

EdX - Sheep in the Land of Fire and Ice  (rated as a top 30 MOOC of 2019)

Simon Fraser University

Introduction to Mountain Studies (SCI 190)

Plant Physiology (BISC 366)

University of Alberta

Mountain Backcountry Field Skills (INT D 282)

Seminar in Ecology and Evolution (BIOL 631)

The Mountain World (INT D 280)