Job/Research Area: Aquatic conservation, fish and fisheries management, ecohydrology, ecosystem modeling, landscape and spatial ecology, ecological methods, community/population ecology.
Major Responsibilities/Research: Aquatic conservation, fish and fisheries management, ecohydrology, ecosystem modeling, landscape and spatial ecology, ecological methods, community/population ecology.
My research focuses on freshwater aquatic systems where rates of species imperilment are several times higher than in terrestrial systems, and are comparable to species declines in tropical rain forests and coral reefs. My study organisms tend to relate to the project and question at hand, but I have experience working on several different aquatic taxa including fish (> 30 species), mussels (>20 species), benthic invertebrates and zooplankton. My research interests are focused in three general areas: 1) understanding the mechanisms relating to species loss, especially in relation to anthropogenic disturbance like landuse change (Maitland 2016,2017; ), hydrologic alteration (e.g. Rudolfsen et al. 2018; Veillard et al. 2017), climate change (Pandit et al. 2017; Poesch et al. 2016) and invasive species (Docherty et al. 2017; Ruppert et al. 2017), and their impacts to freshwater ecosystems (e.g. Ruppert et al. 2018); 2) developing better aquatic assessment methods, including functional diversity metrics (Poesch et al. 2009, Walker et al. 2008, Poesch 2015), and models on species habitat and connectivity (Neufeld et al. 2018), and 3) developing methods to improve restoration and reclamation, such as habitat offsets (Ruppert et al. 2018) and poaching (Camaclang et al. 2017). I use a combination of both field and laboratory studies, as well as broad-scale data analyses, to develop research questions fully. My projects span across Canada from: British Columbia, Alberta, Sasketchewan, Northwest Territories and Ontario.
MSc/PhD/PDF opportunities in freshwater fish research. Please email me for more information. PDFs with existing funding (e.g. NSERC) or outstanding undergraduates wishing to conduct undergraduate research (e.g. thesis project), or to apply for NSERC USRA, are encouraged to contact me.
Directed study in the multiple aspects of renewable resources. Open to third or fourth year students upon consent of instructor. Some sections require payment of additional student instructional support fees. Refer to the Tuition and Fees page in the University Regulations section of the Calendar.Fall Term 2021
Directed study in the multiple aspects of renewable resources. Open to fourth year or graduate students upon consent of instructor.Fall Term 2021
The final research project that comprises REN R 906 is a final capping exercise for the degrees of MAg and MF. Its practical and professional focus should integrate the core areas of study in the program. The successful completion of the project entails (1) a research topic approved by the supervisor; (2) the presentation of a draft research proposal; and (3) the presentation of the research as a written document to the supervisor. The project may take the form of any of the following: (1) a formal analysis of management practice, organizational processes or policy; (2) a formative or summative evaluation of a research project or program; (3) a case study, using secondary documents, survey data, or interviews; or (4) replication of a previous study, with either the introduction of a new variable or an analysis in a changed context.Fall Term 2021
The final research project that comprises REN R 906 is a final capping exercise for the degrees of MAg and MF. Its practical and professional focus should integrate the core areas of study in the program. The successful completion of the project entails (1) a research topic approved by the supervisor; (2) the presentation of a draft research proposal; and (3) the presentation of the research as a written document to the supervisor. The project may take the form of any of the following: (1) a formal analysis of management practice, organizational processes or policy; (2) a formative or summative evaluation of a research project or program; (3) a case study, using secondary documents, survey data, or interviews; or (4) replication of a previous study, with either the introduction of a new variable or an analysis in a changed context.Winter Term 2022
The Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science (CJFAS) is one of the world's leading journals for novel aquatic research. As an Associate Editor, I handle between 2-4 papers per month and determine whether the submission meets the criteria of the journal, and if so, contact reviewers, review their comments and provide feedback to the Editor in Chief.Link to CJFAS
The American Fisheries Society (AFS) is the oldest and largest fisheries society in the world. Despite the name, AFS is a global entity, and the Canadian Aquatic Resources Section (CARS) leads the dissemination and response to emerging fisheries issues across Canada. CARS interacts with regional chapters and helps improve and advance fisheries science. Currently I am an Executive Committee Member (ex-president; September, 2017 - current). From 2015-2017, I served as President. Prior to that, I served from 2013-2015 as Vice President (President Elect).Link to CARS-AFS website
The goal of this project is to coordinate data collection efforts among scientists interested in, or already addressing, the question of how different carbon sources (e.g. phytoplankton, ice algae, detritus) differentially support lake consumers (zooplankton, benthos) throughout the year.Carbon sources under ice
The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is the national group that lists species as 'at risk' (e.g. Endangered, Threatened ... etc.). The Freshwater Fishers Subcommittee is a group of fisheries professionals from across Canada who aid in species assessments and listing. As a member of this group, I review status reports and updates for species at risk at the national level. I participate in bi-annual meetings, discuss the merits of listing each candidate species, and help develop listing criteria.
The Mountain Sucker (now Plains Sucker) is listed as threatened in the Milk River. One of the main threats to Mountain Sucker is habitat loss and degradation from land- and water- use practices. The Mountain Sucker Recovery Team consist of local and regional experts, NGOs and academics, that have expertise on this species. Recovery teams help develop Recovery Strategies, which are required under the Species at Risk Act, Canada's legislation to protect endangered species. As a member of this recovery team, I provide scientific and technical advice and best management practices for conserving and recovering Mountain Sucker.
The Province of Alberta's Endangered Species Program is the provincial body that lists endangered species. The Scientific Subcommittee (SSC) helps guide listing decisions by providing formal scientific review and applying conservation criteria. As a member of the SSC, I review status reports of fish and wildlife species and help determine their status in Alberta.
2005 - 2010
The Redside Dace is an endangered fish that lives in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada. It is undergoing enormous declines, mainly due to urbanization and associated effects. The Redside Dace Recovery team consists of local (e.g. Conservation Authorities) and regional experts (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry), as well as, academics, to help preserve this endangered species. As a member of this recovery team, I provided advice in the development of the Redside Recovery Strategy and various other reports, which aim to develop recovery actions for this species.
2002 - 2006
The Sydenham River Recovery team was Canada's first ecosystem-based recovery team. The Sydenham River is home to the most aquatic biodiversity in Canada, with many listed mussel and fish species. As such, decisions for recovery of one species at risk cannot be done in isolation. Therefore recovery decisions for this system were considered at the watershed/ecosystem scale. This team consisted of local (e.g. Conservation Authorities), regional (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry), and federal (Fisheries and Oceans) experts, as well as academics, to help preserve this unique ecosystem. As a member of this recovery team, I provided advice in the development of the Sydenham River Recovery Strategy and various other reports.
Tracking Change is a research group aimed at connecting science with traditional knowledge. I joined this group in 2016. Since then I've enjoyed hosting indigenous youth for learning exchange at the University of Alberta, where we've dissected fish and learned about their biology. It was also a great pleasure to participate in knowledge exchange between rural and indigenous communities during a one week exchange on the Mekong and Moon Rivers in Thailand in February 2017. I look forward to a similar exchange on the Amazon in 2019!Link to Tracking Change website
The Undergraduate Program Committee reviews the undergraduate programs in the Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences. As a committee, we provide advice on changes to undergraduate programs (e.g. pre-requisites), and course changes.
U School is a program run by the University of Alberta that aims to introduce and connect students in grades 4 through 9 from socially vulnerable, Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) and rural communities to the University of Alberta. Since 2014, I have contributed a lecture on understanding fish biology, where students get to see and touch real fish and understand the relationship between form (e.g. body shape) and function (e.g. swimming ability).Link to USchool