EEB Seminar: January 18

This week the department is pleased to welcome Dave Fifield, wildlife biologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Science and Technology Branch.

Predictive Models and Petrel Declines: A Sampling of Applied Marine Bird Research in Atlantic Canada

This talk will highlight two facets of current marine bird research in the Northwest Atlantic involving Environment and Climate Change Canada and collaborators. The first, predictive spatial modelling, is part of a long-term operational program to understand the abundance and distribution of marine birds at sea where they are vulnerable to incidental harm from human activities and face a changing climate. Knowledge of their seasonal distribution is required to assess risk and effectively inform marine conservation planning and policy. To this end Dave will explore the construction of predictive spatial models to generate defensible seasonal seabird density estimates, using a case study in the Labrador Sea. The second part of the talk describes targeted research in response to the recent population decline of Leach’s storm-petrels in Atlantic Canada. This region’s colonies, hosting approximately 40% of the world’s population, have declined by ca. 30% over three generations. Dave will discuss the current state of knowledge and on-going efforts to identify the cause(s) of the decline, highlighting the use of technological innovation in an attempt to illuminate aspects of the decline.

Dave’s main work focuses on applied research to understand the seasonal abundance and distribution of birds in the marine environment using techniques including ship-based and aerial surveys, electronic tagging and tracking, and predictive spatial modelling in order to inform wildlife management, conservation policy, marine protected area design, and risk and damage assessment due to human activities. He also applies his background in Ecology and Computer Science in an attempt to provide innovative technological and analytical approaches to address knowledge gaps in emerging marine bird issues. He is interested in fostering the design and use of structured data management and analysis workflows to increase the production of reproducible research in the biological sciences.

The EEB Seminars run weekly, on Thursdays, in the EEB Lounge of the BioSciences Complex, Room 4338, from 12:30-1:30pm. This week there will be a pizza lunch to follow in the Room 3110.