Viktoria Wagner

AssistProf, Faculty of Science - Biological Sciences

Contact

AssistProf, Faculty of Science - Biological Sciences
Email
viktoria.wagner@ualberta.ca
Phone
(780) 492-1208
Address
B702 Bio Science - Botany Wing
11355 - Saskatchewan Drive
Edmonton AB
T6G 2E9

Overview

Research
We work in the areas of plant ecology and ecoinformatics and address questions relevant to grassland ecology, invasion biology and vegetation science. Our toolbox includes data mining (programming), field observations and experiments.

Much of our research focuses on grasslands. These habitats cover a quarter of the global terrestrial surface but face unprecedented and enormous pressure by farming, non-native species, a disruption of natural disturbance regimes, and climate change. We carry out fieldwork in western Canada and the adjacent US states but have also ties to Europe and Central Asia.

Currently, we focus on the following research themes:

(1) Habitat susceptibility to non-native plants: Different plant communities respond differently to disturbance and non-native plants; some buffer it while other collapse under pressure. Why is this? Do intrinsic properties allow some communities to buffer against non-native plants? Or are some ecosystems more exposed to external pressure than others? We tackle these questions through a comparative framework across distant regions and habitat types. We explore patterns across large databases and use the R program to extract data, link it to existing taxonomic, biological and spatial databases and analyze the levels of invasion and flows of invasive plants.

(2) Invasive species management. Herbicides are one of the most common tools to control non-native plants in North American wildlands (see review in Wagner et al. 2017 Journal of Applied Ecology 54: 198-204). We collaborate with plant and soil ecologists at the University of Montana, Algoma University and the MPG Ranch to understand how this practice affects the soil seed bank, the aboveground plant community and its soil components.

(3)  Much of the biodiversity of the temperate hemisphere is held in grassland and meadow communities, such as the timberline communities of the Rocky Mountains (Wagner et al. 2014, Applied Vegetation Science 17:129-141), distinguished only as “non-forest” in regional classification systems. What species and ecological functions are we losing when these communities become affected by global change? Effective conservation and restoration efforts require that these communities are identified, described, and mapped. We explore the diversity and ecosystem functions of grasslands and meadow habitats that have received relatively little attention by scientists.

Courses

BIOL 208 - Principles of Ecology

Ecology is the scientific study of interactions between organisms and their environment in a hierarchy of levels of organization: individuals, populations, communities, and ecosystems. Provides a comprehensive survey of general concepts that can stand alone or serve as preparation for advanced courses in ecology. Labs emphasize collection, analysis, and interpretation of data from ecological experiments and field studies to illustrate and complement lecture material. Examples are drawn from a broad range of organisms and systems. Prerequisite: BIOL 108 or SCI 100. Open to students in the BSc Forestry and BSc Forest Business Management program once they have completed REN R 120 and REN R 205.

Fall Term 2020
BIOL 430 - Statistical Design and Analysis in Biology

Emphasis is on the design of experiments and analysis of data collected from field and laboratory studies in Biology. Prerequisites: STAT 141 or 151 or SCI 151 and a 300-level Biological Sciences course. Credit cannot be obtained for BIOL 430, 530 and REN R 480.

Fall Term 2020
BIOL 530 - Advanced Statistical Design and Analysis in Biology

Emphasis is on the design of experiments and analysis of data collected from field and laboratory studies in Biology. Lectures and labs are the same as BIOL 430, but with additional assignments and evaluations appropriate to graduate studies. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. Credit cannot be obtained for BIOL 430, 530 and REN R 480.

Fall Term 2020

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