Fellow Publications

Consequences of catch-and-release angling on the physiology, behaviour and survival of wild steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss in the Bulkley River, British Columbia
William Twardek, a 2017 W. Garfield Weston Fellow and colleagues studied the effect of catch and release fishing on wild Steelhead. Their results indicated behavioural impairment of the fish following release after only 10 seconds of air exposure. In addition, estimates of stress levels in Steelhead were higher under warmer water conditions. Steelhead anglers are cautioned to limit air exposure to less than 10 seconds and be extra cautious when water temperature is warmer.
Lasting regional gains from non-renewable resource extraction - The role of sustainability-based cumulative effects assessment and regional planning for mining development in Canada
Cole Atlin, W. Garfield Weston fellowship alumnus, and colleagues provide recommendations for mining development proposals, to promote sustainable planning. Their recommendations put an emphasis on assessment of the cumulative regional effects of multiple mining projects in the past, present and future.
Ungulate predation and ecological roles of wolves and coyotes in eastern North America
WCS Weston Fellow John Benson and colleagues studied the predatory behaviour of eastern coyotes, eastern wolves and grey wolves on deer and moose to examine ecological niche overlap. They determined that packs dominated by coyote ancestry killed fewer ungulates (deer and moose) per capita, and consumed more anthropogenic food than wolf-dominated packs. Eastern and grey wolves killed moose at similar rates across comparable densities.
Wolverine habitat selection in response to anthropogenic disturbance in the western Canadian boreal forest
This study evaluated alternative hypotheses that anthropogenic disturbance can attract versus displace wolverines (Gulo gulo luscus). Radiotelemetry was used to track wolverine habitat use over three years in the boreal forests of northwestern Alberta. They used resource selection functions (used/available design) to analyze wolverine habitat selection patterns during summer and winter seasons.
The accuracy of satellite-derived albedo for northern alpine and glaciated land covers
2012 W. Garfield Weston Fellow, Scott Williamson and colleagues validate satellite-derived albedo measurements across various alpine and arctic land covers.Their validation confirmed that remote albedo measures are well constrained and consistent with other studies. Measurements of albedo vary with land cover type and period of observations.
Phenology and species determine growing‐season albedo increase at the altitudinal limit of shrub growth in the sub‐Arctic
The warming climate is contributing to increased snow melt and shrub growth in the tundra - both of which are associated with altered land-atmosphere feedbacks. The authors studied the albedo of two shrubs encroaching in the Arctic. Contrary to popular belief that shrub coverage will lower Arctic albedo, shrub-covered land had among the highest albedo at the peak of the growing season. More research is needed to better understand energy budgets in the Arctic in the near future growing seasons.
Scale and watershed features determine lake chemistry patterns across physiographic regions in the far north of Ontario, Canada
Climate warming and increased industrial development will have direct impacts on watershed characteristic and lakes in the far north of Ontario. Conservation planning for the aquatic community in northern Ontario will require sound data to inform management decisions. This study conducted lake chemistry surveys from 2011-2012 to increase the knowledge regarding remote northern lakes and to address the limited amount of limnological data available for this region.
Tracking the long-term responses of diatoms and cladocerans to climate warming and human influences across lakes of the Ring of Fire in the Far North of Ontario, Canada
The extensive peatlands and lakes of the far north of Ontario are significant carbon sinks, making this a region of increasing priority under a changing climate. However, competing economic interest has also increased within this region due to the recent discovery of vast mineral deposits, known as “the ring of fire”. Environmental monitoring to establish baseline ecological information for a vulnerable region will be imperative at a time where the impacts of future resources extraction, within the context of multiple stressors (climate warming), is unknown. To determine biotic responses to warming prior to the commencement of mining activities, this study examined core sediments from lakes (deep and shallow) located within the Ring of Fire.
Experimental evidence and 43 years of monitoring data show that food limits reproduction in a food-caching passerine
Forest or meadow; the consequences of habitat for the condition of female arctic ground squirrels (Urocitellus parryii plesius)
Arctic ground squirrel population collapse in the boreal forests of the Southern Yukon
Resource selection by wolves at dens and rendezvous sites in Algonquin Park, Canada
Eastern wolves (Canis lycaon) are a species of special concern in Canada and their geographic range appears to be restricted mainly to Algonquin Provincial Park (APP) in Ontario, Canada. Previous work has showed pup survival was relatively low throughout portions of APP which may limit the extent to which this protected area can act as a source of dispersing individuals to adjacent areas. This study models resource selection by wolves at dens and rendezvous sites to identify environmental variables that were selected and avoided in APP during pup-rearing. Further, it investigates links between home-site selection and pup survival.
Spatial overlap, proximity, and habitat use of individual wolves within the same packs
Packs are the basic social and breeding groups of wolf (Canis spp.) populations and are often the sampling unit for wolf research. Researchers commonly assume that telemetry data from one or more individual wolf can be used to represent the space use, distribution, presence, and resource selection of the pack. This study tests these critical assumptions using GPS telemetry by directly comparing home range size, probability of spatial overlap, seasonal proximity, and habitat use of individuals within wolf packs in central and northern Ontario, Canada, between 2006 and 2010.
The influence of water-table depth and pH on the spatial distribution of diatom species in peatlands of the Boreal Shield and Hudson Plains, Canada
With climate change, studies of northern peatlands are now more important than ever owing to the vast quantities of carbon stored within these regions and their future role as net carbon sinks. Diatoms (Bacillariophyceae) are algae that have been used extensively in lake and wetland studies as environmental indicators but have rarely been used to study past peatland responses to environmental change. This study determines the ecological distribution and response of diatoms to microhabitat conditions and assesses the potential for diatoms to be applied as indicators of long-term environmental change in northern peatlands.
A Multi-Trophic Exploratory Survey of Recent Environmental Changes using Lake Sediments in the Hudson Bay Lowlands, Ontario, Canada
During the past century, high-latitude regions have experienced amplified anthropogenic warming trends relative to the rest of the world. However, in contrast to other northern regions, the subpolar Hudson Bay Lowlands (HBL) have registered only minimal warming (or even cooling) since at least the mid-20th century. This study conducts a paleolimnological survey to assess how lake ecosystems near the Sutton River in the HBL have responded to recent environmental changes across taxonomic groups from different trophic levels.

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