CIEE/ICEE Research Programs and Products
CIEE has become a leading promoter and facilitator of synthesis research in Canada. Since its creation in 2008, CIEE supported sixteen thematic working groups, nine in the last three years, which together assembled 280 top scientists to address some of the most vexing problems at the nexus of ecology and evolution. Please find attached below a summary on each project.
Determining marine hotspots in Arctic Canada using tracking data from multiple species
Mark Mallory (Acadia), Marie Auger-Méthé (Dalhousie) and David Yurkowski (Manitoba). This working group will meet 12 participants from 10 institutions including Acadia University, Dalhousie University, University of Manitoba, University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, Carleton University, University of Windsor, University of Regina, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Despite the iconic status of many Arctic marine species like seals, whales, polar bears and thick-billed murres, and their importance as country foods to Inuit, science still knows relatively little about the key habitat needs of animals across waters of the Canadian Arctic. This is a major information gap and is a critical need for their conservation and protection, because Arctic environments are changing rapidly in light of warming climate, and shipping and industrial activity are forecast to increase over the next decades. However, recent advances in the miniaturization of telemetry equipment has offered great new insights into Arctic wildlife movement, from whales to seabirds, and the last decade has witnessed new, important information of key areas for various species. With the amount of information produced, we are now in a position to amalgamate tracking data from numerous species and examine whether there are consistencies to determine: i) biodiversity or multispecies “hotspots”, and ii) what environmental variables led to habitat selection of those sites. In this project, we propose to draw together tracking data from >1500 individuals and from a variety of methodologies (e.g., satellite transmitters, GPS loggers, geolocation loggers) and employ cutting-edge geospatial statistics to identify seasonal sites of importance to multiple species in the Canadian Arctic. This information is timely, as Canada looks to assess marine areas of importance for conservation over the next few years.
The evolution of microbial metabolic and genomic diversity at multiple scales
Organizers: Dr. Stilianos Louca, Dr. Laura Parfrey and Dr. Michael Doebeli from the University of British Columbia. This working group is bringing together 11 professionals from five Institutions including UBC, Dalhousie University, Simon Fraser University, University of California, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
A gram of soil contains millions of microorganisms and thousands of microbial species. Despite an enormous microbial diversity, the bulk of biochemical processes performed by microorganisms is encoded by only a few metabolic pathways. Through Earth’s history, these pathways have been retained (or acquired through horizontal gene transfer) by multiple microbial clades that can perform similar biochemical functions, resulting in a high “functional redundancy” at local and global scales. This functional redundancy enables a decoupling between the species composition of microbial communities and their bulk biochemical function, in the ocean, soil, biofuel production units and in the human gut. This decoupling has important implications for ecosystem productivity, industrial processes and human health, because transitions in microbial community composition may or may not induce changes in biochemical functioning. Unraveling the mechanisms driving the emergence of functional redundancy, and the resulting decoupling between microbial species composition and biochemical functioning, is an important step towards our understanding of how microbial communities function and how they evolve over time.
We propose to bring together experts on microbial ecology, evolution and geobiology, to explore how metabolic pathways become distributed across microbial clades over time, and to understand the mechanisms maintaining the tremendous diversity and functional redundancy observed today. An important goal will be to create a synthesis paper that builds on the insight gained by our labs and others from recent global studies, including the Tara oceans expedition, the Human Microbiome Project and the Earth Microbiome Project. Our work will include a large-scale computational estimation of biochemical pathways in thousands of sequenced genomes, and an analysis of these pathways throughout the bacterial and archaeal tree of life and across multiple time scales. We anticipate that our synthesis will be a milestone for how we understand the interplay and coevolution of microbial functional and taxonomic diversity.
Functional response of understory plants to climate, soil and disturbance regimes across Canadian boreal forest ecosystems
Alison Munson (Laval), Bright Kumordzi (Laval) and Isabelle Aubin (Canadian Forest Service). This working group, co-funded with the Canadian Forest Service, in bringing together 21 researches from 13 Institutions including Université Laval, Université du Québec en Outaouais, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Université de Quebec à Montreal , Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, University of Guelph, University of Alberta, Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (QC), Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Forest Research Institute, Northern Hardwoods Research Institute (NB), Canadian Forest Service, and the Centre d’écologie fonctionnelle et évolutive (CNRS, France)
The Co-VITAS project (Collaboration sur la Variabilité Intraspécifique des Traits Aériens et Sous-terrains) is investigating understory species (6 ubiquitous boreal species) response and adaptive capacity to environmental change, by measuring a set of leaf and root traits throughout the species range. Funded originally by an FRQNT team project to Quebec researchers (Munson, Aubin, Bergeron, Shipley), we then enlisted voluntary participation of 18 other research teams across Canada, for field sampling in 2014. Morphological and chemical traits of leaves and roots, genetic variability of two species (using microsatellite and SNP markers) and local environmental factors (stand and soil properties, precipitation and temperature) were measured at site-levels. Sampling followed standard protocols, with analyses conducted at a central laboratory in Quebec. Quantitative analyses are completed for three manuscripts and data will be publically available online via TOPIC (Traits of Plants in Canada: http://topic.rncan.gc.ca). The proposed workshop seeks 1) to bring the Co-VITAS research team together to discuss project results; 2) develop interpretations of three manuscripts; and 3) discuss a Co-VITAS follow-up proposal. Discussions will focus on 1) hierarchical evaluation of intra- and inter-specific variability of leaf and root traits of six ubiquitous understory boreal species along Canadian continental climatic gradients; 2) assessment of interactive effects of climate, disturbance and environmental factors (soil) on trait variability at different scales; and 3) characterization of phenotypic vs genetic variability. The workshop represents a unique opportunity to discuss and finalize a follow-up proposal that would study intraspecific functional and genetic trait variability for the same set of species across the northern ecosystems (i.e open boreal forests to the Taiga). It is a unique opportunity to generate truly collaborative publications in high impact ecology journals, to improve regional information about understory plants for forest management, and to educate the general public about these plants.
Canadian protected areas in a changing climate: A cross-ecosystem approach to designing effective networks of protected areas
Dr. Cassidy C. D’Aloia (University of Toronto), Dr. Ilona R. Naujokaitis-Lewis (Environment Canada, National Wildlife Research Centre, Carleton University) and Prof. Marie-Josée Fortin (University of Toronto). This working group is bringing together 11 professionals from 8 Canadian Institutions including University of Toronto, UBC, McGill University, Memorial University, Université du Québec, Environment Canada, Fisheries & Oceans Canada, and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
Across the globe, species ranges are changing (shifting, contracting, and expanding) in response to climate change. One of the most widely-implemented conservation strategies to protect natural populations is the creation of protected areas (including parks, reserves, and no-take zones). Thus, a major question in conservation biology has become, how do we effectively design networks of protected areas that account for varied responses among species to climate change? Diverse species responses may result from direct effects of climate change, or indirect effects mediated by time lags, scale effects, or biotic interactions. One approach that has been proposed is to protect areas based on abiotic rather than biotic diversity. However, this approach may be better-suited to some ecosystems over others (e.g. terrestrial, freshwater, or marine) and has not been assessed across ecosystem types. Similarities and differences in patterns of biotic and abiotic diversity among ecosystem types can lend insight into the processes that drive diversity and inform system-specific conservation solutions. The main goal of this working group is to develop a cross-ecosystem synthesis for the design of protected area networks in the context of climate change. Their specific objectives are to: (i) synthesize the merits of abiotic- versus biotic-filter approaches to protected area design with a particular emphasis on identification of thermal refugia; (ii) propose a unifying framework to optimize species persistence within protected area networks in the face of climate change; and (iii) apply the framework to regional data from terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems in Canada. Through these objectives, they will assess the extent to which tractable management strategies, such as protecting abiotic diversity, will be effective approaches to facilitate network connectivity across ecosystems and conserve biodiversity. The results of this working group will have strong policy relevance, given predicted distribution changes of native and non-native species in Canada.
Genomic data in ecology, evolution and conservation: the impacts of missing data in genotyping-by-sequencing datasets
Dr. Jean-Sébastien Moore, Dr. Anne-Laure Ferchaud, Dr. Laura Benestan, Pr. Louis Bernatchez (Université Laval) and Dr. Thierry Gosselin (Independent consultant). This working group will meet 20 participants from 14 Institutions including Université Laval (QC), McGill Univ. (QC), UBC (BC), University of Calgary (AB), Univ. of Regina (SK), Univ. of Manitoba (MB), Queen’s Univ. (ON), Univ. of New Brunswick (NB), Dalhousie Univ. (NS), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (St-John’s, NF), Aarhus University (Denmark), University of Washington (Seattle, US), NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center (Seattle, US), and the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center (Santa Cruz, US).
Next-generation sequencing methods such as genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) are gaining in popularity because they give unparalleled access to the entire genome of non-model organisms at a relatively low cost. Genome-wide data allows researchers to answer fundamental evolutionary and ecological questions that were formerly inaccessible with smaller genetic datasets, and are rapidly being integrated in the toolkit of conservation biologists and resource managers. One key drawback of these methods, however, is that each genotyped individual will have a high proportion of missing genotypes. Missing data can have important consequences on subsequent analyses, though they have not been substantially evaluated yet for GBS. Currently, researchers have access to many statistical tools to impute missing genotypes, but guidelines with contexts on how to use the different imputation methods remain unclear.
This working group proposes to broadly assess the effects of missing data in genomics data sets on different types of analyses commonly used in molecular ecology and conservation genetics such as genome scans, population and parental assignment, demographic inferences, and NE estimations. To do so, workshop participants will use simulated data sets with varying proportions of missing genotypes artificially introduced, and publicly available GBS data sets from a broad range of organisms, with different life histories, to address two main objectives. First, to gain insights on the statistical conditions and the biological contexts where missing data have the biggest impact on inferences. Second, to systematically evaluate the effects of the different imputation methods on common analyses described above. These analyses will enable workshop participants to make key recommendations about (i) analysis and programs robustness to missing data, (ii) biological contexts and thresholds of missing data that can potentially introduce bias, (iii) the best imputation methods to overcome these biases. These analyses and recommendations will be published in a peer reviewed
article resulting from the workshop.
Diversity and structure of coastal eelgrass communities along environmental and human disturbance gradients,
Dr. Julia K. Baum and Dr. Josephine C. Iacarella (University of Victoria). This working group is bringing together 19 researches from 11 Canadian Institutions including Univ. of Victoria, UBC, Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Hakai Institute, Seagrass Conservation Working Group, Precision Identification Biological Consultants, Project Watershed Society, Skeena Fisheries Commission, Gwaii Haanas National Park, Gulf Islands National Park, and Pacific Rim National Park.
Coastal ecosystems provide critical ecosystem services that are in decline globally owing to ongoing anthropogenic stressors. Seagrass ecosystems in particular are highly valued for the provision of nursery and refugia habitat for commercially-important species, but are heavily impacted by human disturbance. The loss of such habitat has fueled monitoring efforts across the coast of British Columbia, though to-date these organizations have worked independently and been restricted to local-scale inferences. This working group will compile existing eelgrass datasets across coastal BC, with the objective of determining changes in biodiversity and community structure of fishes in eelgrass habitats along environmental and human disturbance gradients. This collaborative effort will develop the most spatio-temporally comprehensive assessment of eelgrass biodiversity to-date, fostering a network for long-term monitoring and aiding in the prioritization of marine management.
The working group is holding two workshops during 2016 that will unite government, NGO, and academic researchers with expertise in BC’s coastal communities, as well as graduate students who will provide analytical and technical support. The workshop will be hosted by UBC’s Biodiversity Research Centre and data will be provided by working group members. The proposed workshop will be one of two workshops held in partnership with the international Smithsonian Marine Global Earth Observatory (www.marinegeo.si.edu) branch based at the Hakai Institute in BC. Outcomes of this working group will include a series of high-quality peer-reviewed publications, public outreach reports, open-access statistical analyses, and conference presentations. The workshops are providing important training opportunities for multiple HQP, and create a network of eelgrass research programs. The network will synthesize data collectively to determine the extent to which eelgrass communities are being impacted by anthropogenic stressors and their resilience to such change, and will maximize effective data collection going forward.
Understanding recent biodiversity change across spatial and temporal scales
Mary I. O’Connor (University of British Columbia); Andrew Gonzalez (McGill University); Jon Chase (iDiv, German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research, Germany); Mark Vellend (Sherbrooke University); Fangliang He (University of Alberta); Robin Elahi (University of British Columbia); Grace Murphy (Dalhousie University); Sarah Supp (University of Wisconsin, US.); Jillian Dunic (University of Massachusetts, US); Jarrett Byrnes (University of Massachusetts, US.); Maria Dornelas (St. Andrews University, UK); Isla Myers-Smith; St. (University of Edinburg, UK); and Forest Isbell (University of Georgia, US).
Recent global biodiversity declines present major ecological, social and economic problems. Despite substantial and compelling evidence for biodiversity loss in many places, new data syntheses suggest that local communities are resilient to species richness declines, throwing into question the seriousness, reality and implications of the modern biodiversity crisis. These recent findings have highlighted major and urgent research challenges for both basic and conservation-oriented biodiversity science. The main objective of this project is to resolve controversy over biodiversity trends by improving data and methods for detecting and attributing biodiversity change.
This project will synthesize theory about how diversity varies in space and time, and will re-analyze existing diversity/abundance databases in light of these theoretical expectations. The working group will meet three times, the first meeting will take place at the UBC’s Biodiversity Research Centre in April 2015, the second meeting will be at the Gault Nature Reserve, Quebec, in June 2015, and the third meeting will be held at German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) in Leipzig, Germany, in September 2015.
The group will publish guidelines (in peer-reviewed journals, open access if possible) and analytical tools (e.g., R code) for detecting and attributing biodiversity change through time. They will produce a global database of >1200 local biodiversity time-series, and will quantitatively assess biases and future data needs. This project aims to determine the scale and severity of biodiversity change, to resolve recent controversy through collaborative exchange. The group will constructively and productively consider not only the causes and magnitude of biodiversity change, but also its consequences for management and decision-making.
It is important to highlight that this project reflects the joint collaboration between two synthesis centres: the Synthesis Centre for Biodiversity Sciences of Germany (sDiv) and our Canadian Institute of Ecology and Evolution. This working group also reveals the strengths and support of three biodiversity research centres: the Canadians “UBC’s Biodiversity Research Centre” and “Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science”, and the “German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research” (iDiv), pledge in kind and financial support.
Adaptation versus maladaptation in response to environmental change
Andrew Hendry(McGill University); Rowan Barrett (McGill University); Alison Derry (Université du Québec à Montréal); Gregor Fussmann (McGill University); Steven Brady (Dartmouth College, US); Lauren Chapman (McGill University); Erika Crispo (Pace University, US); Ian Fleming (Memorial University of Newfoundland); Dylan Fraser (Concordia University); Andrew Gonzalez (McGill University); Gareth Hopkins (Utah State University Logan, US); Thomas Lamy (Université de Montréal); Jeffrey Lane (University of Saskatchewan); Andrew McAdam (University of Guelph); Antoine Paccard (McGill University); Bruce Robertson (Bard College, US); Denis Réale (University of Quebec); Mary Rogalski (Yale University, US); Gregor Rolshausen (McGill University); Andrew Simons (Carleton University); Mark Vellend (University of Sherbrooke); Christopher Eckert (Queen’s University); Murray Humphries (McGill University); Jeffrey Hutchings (Dalhousie University); Amy Newman (University of Guelph); Patricia Schulte (University of British Columbia); Stan Boutin (University of Alberta).
The global footprint of human activities is severely impacting natural environments, thus posing serious challenges to the success and persistence of wild populations. Although the consequences of environmental change have long been studied, new research is revealing that the potential outcomes are far more complex than once thought. For instance, although evolution has long been recognized to have been critically important for past changes, it was assumed to be too slow to matter on time frames of contemporary interest. Now, however, we know that evolution occurs rapidly and can strongly modify population fitness across generations. This effect appears to be particularly critical when organisms are faced by anthropogenic disturbances, such as exploitation, habitat conversion, pollution, and climate change. Despite documentation of adaptive responses in many such instances, many other examples are also known of populations failing to adapt to environmental change and going extinct as a consequence. Even more recently, several studies have shown that evolution in stressful environments can even cause populations to become maladapted, wherein their ability to persist decreases from one generation to the next. Developing our capacity to predict these different outcomes is of critical value to conservation.
This working group will first flesh out a conceptual framework and mathematical models to guide interpretation and prediction of mal-non-adaptation. Second, the group will assemble and curate a freely available online database of evolutionary responses to environmental change. Finally, the working group will use the database to investigate patterns of mal-non-adaptation in response to environmental change. They will ask whether certain taxa are more or less likely to adapt to particular forms of environmental change. Results will be published and communicated to both scientific and public audiences.
The terra incognita of community ecology: understanding continental-scale variation of ecological networks
Timothée Poisot (Université du Québec à Rimouski); Dominique Gravel (Université du Québec à Rimouski); Daniel B. Stouffer (University of Canterbury, New Zealand); Miguel Araujo (National Museum of Natural Sciences, Madrid, and Imperial College, London), Benjamin Baiser (Univ of Florida, US), Spencer Woods (UBC), Marie-Josée Fortin (Univ. of Toronto), Shawn LeRoux (memorial University of Newfoundland), and graduate students Kévin Cazelles, Philippe Desjardins-Proulx, and Alyssa Cirtwill.
The movement of species following habitat destruction and environmental changes will likely result in entirely novel ecosystems. These will not be a simple translation of previously existing ones: new species will arrive and new interactions will occur. Since species interaction is backbone of several important ecological processes and services (stability, resistance to invasion, nutrient cycling, biomass production), it is a key challenge for community ecologist o predict the structure of novel ecosystems. Unfortunately, current methodologies are ill suited to achieve this goal. The objective of this working group is to develop a new generation of predictive tools, putting a formal statistical approach in service of an applied ecological question.
The group met three times in 2014 and will meet once in 2015. The first meeting occurred via Skype over three days during February 2014. This initial session focused on: (i) reviewing the literature, including currently unpublished projects by working group members, (ii) going through possible datasets to estimate their relevance and usability, and (iii) defined main conceptual objectives, methodology, and questions. After that first meeting, and during the March-September 2014 period, the group (i) developed the methodological framework to estimate the probability of interactions based on previous observations and knowledge of species traits; (ii) developed the graph alignment methodology and software, that allows to compare the structure of any two networks, and (iii) collected and prepared data for the second meeting. The activities of the working group during this period resulted in the two publications indicated below. The second working group meeting took place in person over four days in late August 2014, at the Domaine de Valga, near the Université du Québec à Rimouski. A third meeting of this working group occurred at the Joint 2014 Annual Meeting British Ecological Society and Société Française d’Ecologie, in Lille, France, on December 2014. During these two meetings, the group worked on (i) polishing the code implementing the new methods, (ii) applying these methods to the collected datasets, and (iii) laying out the basis for more conceptual papers. The last 3-days meeting will take place at the Université de Montréal during the first week of March. During this last meeting, the working group will write the most conceptual papers, and establish a roadmap to finish the remaining projects.
This extremely productive working group produced a peer-reviewed publication (1), and in another publication and associated database currently under review (2):
1. Poisot T, Stouffer DB, Gravel D (2014) Beyond species: why ecological interaction networks vary through space and time. Oikos. Di 10.1111/oik.01719
2. Poisot TE, Baiser B, Dunne JA, Kéfi S, Massol F, et al. (2014) mangal - making complex ecological network analysis simpler. bioRxiv. http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/002634
In addition, this working group is currently working on five manuscripts:
1. Modularity of spatially constrained networks (Gravel, Cyrtwill) - analysis of the modular structure at the local and regional scale, when there are strong constraints on interactions due to non-overlapping species distributions. Using data from trophic interaction between fishes at the worldwide scale (over 10000 species). Analyses in progress.
2. Dissimilarity of high-order interactions (Poisot) - analysis of the dissimilarity of direct vs. indirect interactions in trophic networks (fishes in the Mediterranean sea, worlwide marine fishes, Ontario lakes). This project will also introduce new methodological development in the form of metrics of structure and dissimilarity for probabilistic networks. Preliminary results discussed, analysis in progress.
3. Network-area relationships (Galiana-Ibanez, Gravel) - synthetic review of the mechanisms involved in the variation of network structure at increasing spatial scales. This project will establish parallels between well-known Species Area Relationships and their network counterpart. Outline of the paper and illustrative examples being worked on.
4. Representation of spatial networks (Fortin) - methodological/conceptual paper proposing a formal mathematical representation of networks in spatially continuous environments. Theoretical developments in progress.
5. Sensitivity of network structure to environmental change (Gravel, Poisot) - using simulations of climate warming, we will determine and apply measure of network structure sensitivity. This will produce insights about the resilience of whole ecosystems to global changes. Methodological development in progress.
This working group also resulted in several new grant applications. Specically, Poisot listed several working group members as key collaborators in his FRQNT New researcher establishment program application. Further, Poisot and Gravel have applied to the FRQNT Research teams program to apply some of the new methodological developments made during the CIEE workshop to conservation and stewardship of Northern Québec ecosystems. Finally, Gravel and Fortin are listed as co-PIs on an Investigative Workshop hosted by NimBIOS in March 2015, of which Poisot is a contributing member.
Forecasting groundfish biodiversity change in the Newfoundland shelf
Andrew Gonzalez (McGill University), Fred Guichard (McGill University), Patrick Thompson (McGill University), Eric Pedersen (McGill University), Pierre Pepin (Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans), Aaron Ball (McGill University), Marie- Josée Fortin (University of Toronto), Tarik Gouhier (Northeastern University, Massachusetts), Heike Link, (McGill University), Charlotte Moritz (UQAR), Hedvig Nenzén (UQAM), Ryan Stanley (Memorial University), Zofia Taranu (McGill University).
The objective of this working group is to identify spatial and temporal patterns of groundfish biodiversity in the Newfoundland shelf and to create predictive models of individual species dynamics for ecosystem managers.This project is co-funded between the CIEE and the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science (QCBS).
The group conducted three meetings at the McGill University’s Gault Nature Reserve (Mont St. Hilaire, QC), on 4-6 November 2013, 3-5 March 2014, and 23-25 September 2014. During the first two meetings, the group quantified patterns of biodiversity in groundfish communities and tested whether inclusion of biodiversity as a model predictor improved the accuracy of forecasts of commercial species dynamics relative to traditional predictors such as prior densities or abiotic parameters. For this, the group used a thirty-five year dataset of groundfish abundance on the Newfoundland shelf obtained from the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). They obtained several different measures of biodiversity (community synchrony, community composition change, functional diversity, and changes in spatial community structure) to determine that there was a clear signal of community change throughout the collapse, and that the collapse was not restricted to heavily-fished species. They found that prior to the collapse of the groundfish biomass in the 1990s, there was a dramatic increase in temporal community synchrony and a loss of spatial community structure. These community-based indicators of change were more pronounced, and could be detected earlier, than single species or total biomass indicators. Thus, during the third final meeting, the group used a structured simulation model to reproduce population patterns from the Newfoundland groundfish community. This model both supported results from prior data analyses of the DFO, and allowed testing of hypotheses about drivers of changes in this groundfish community. The group is currently working on the publication of these findings, not only in peer reviewed outlets, but also as white papers and management documents for DFO and the North Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), as well as interactive maps of marine biodiversity for public use.
Canada’s phylogenetic diversity in a changing world.
Jana Vamosi (U. of Calgary), Jeremy Kerr (U. of Ottawa), Steven Vamosi (U Calgary), Marc Cadotte (UTSC), Jonathan Davies (McGill), Arne Mooers (SFU), Simon Goring (Wisconsin), Felix Sperling (U Alberta), Amy Angert (Colorado State), Franz Feigl, Brian Starzomski (U Victoria), Steve Kembel (UQAM), Navi Garcha (SFU), and graduate students Laura Coristine (U Ottawa) and Cassandra Robillard (U Ottawa).
This working group, headed by Dr. Jana Vamosi and Dr. Jeremy Kerr, involves faculty members from seven Canadian Universities, including Alberta, Calgary, Simon Fraser, British Columbia, UQAM, McGill and Ottawa. The group is testing how evolutionary processes shape species’ range responses to climate change.
The group met at the CIEE Synthesis Centre in the University of Regina, on 23-26 June 2014. CIEE provided complete funding and logistic support, including transportation, meeting facilities, and accommodations. During the meeting the group performed initial climate change predictions in two well characterized interacting groups in Canada: butterflies of British Columbia and their host plants. After that initial meeting, the group has been working in constructing estimates of how BC butterfly species have expanded into areas that have recently fallen under the envelope of each species modelled environmental niche. Thus, for many BC butterfly species they found: 1. the estimated ranges of each species currently and in the past (ProbMaps), and 2. the final predicted presence for the taxon (DiffMaps). The group is now working to design pipelines that will allow them to address questions relating to “range filling”. In particular, they aim to determine if host breadth and/or intrinsic traits of butterfly taxa affects the mismatch between the climate models of where a butterfly species “could” be and where they actually are.
Thermal scaling and body size: the next frontier in climate change ecological theory
Mary I. O’Connor (UBC), Hamish Greig (U. Canterbury), Benjamin Gilbert (University of Toronto), Chris Harley (UBC), David Vasseur (Yale University), Monika Winder (Stockholm Univ), Heather Kharouba (UBC), Van Savage (UCLA), Kevin McCann (U. Guelph), Tyler Tunney (U. Guelph), Jonathan Shurin (UCSD), John DeLong (Yale University), Pavel Kratina (UC-Davis), and Brandon Barton (U. Wisconsin-Madison)
This group advanced consumer-resource theory to develop predictions for how temperature affects species interactions via general effects on physiology and performance. By integrating general relationships between body size, temperature and interaction strength parameters, specific theoretical predictions can be articulated and tested against observations from warming experiments. The group met at Loon Lake in British Columbia on June 2012. This work produced a framework that will allow for theory and empirical findings to be integrated into a single framework for how warming affects trophic interactions.
DeLong, J., B. Gilbert, J. B. Shurin, V. M. Savage, B. T. Barton, C. F. Clements, A. I. Dell, H. S. Greig, C. D. G. Harley, P. Kratina, K. S. McCann, T. D. Tunney, D. A. Vasseur, and M. I. O’Connor. In Revision. The body size dependence of trophic cascades. The American Naturalist.
Gilbert, B., T. D. Tunney, K. S. McCann, J. P. DeLong, D. A. Vasseur, V. Savage, J. B. Shurin, A. I. Dell, B. T. Barton, C. D. G. Harley, H. M. Kharouba, P. Kratina, J. L. Blanchard, C. Clements, M. Winder, H. S. Greig and M. I. O’Connor. 2014. A bioenergetic framework for the temperature dependence of trophic interaction strength. Ecology Letters. 17: 902-914.
Predicting Ecological Change: Multi-Scale Analysis of Plankton Diversity and Dynamics
Jeremy Fox (Biological Sciences, University of Calgary), Andrew Gonzales (Biology, McGill University), Bill Nelson (Biology, Queens University), Jonathan Shurin (Biological Sciences, University of California-San Diego), Jim Rusak (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources), Beatrix Beisner (Biolgical Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal), Irene Gregory-Eaves (Biology. Mc Gill University), Caterine Johnson (Fisheries and Oceans Canada), Pavel Kratina (Zoology, University of British Columbia), Colin Kremer* (Biology, Michigan State University), Claire de Mazancourt (Biology, McGill University), Beth Miller* (Biology, Michigan State University), Michael Paterson (Fisheries and Oceans Canada), Chris Steiner (Biology, Wayne State University), David Vasseur (Biology, Yale University) *Graduate student participants
This group compiled and synthesized data sets from lakes around the world to investigate the interplay of density-dependent (competition, consumer-resource interactions) and density-independent (climatic change, disturbance events) processes that cause natural communities to fluctuate on timescales ranging from days to decades. By integrating information from a large number of datasets they tested for covariance among species, correlations with environmental drivers at multiple timescales, comparing the results to theoretical predictions. The group has identified novel scale-dependent fluctuations in species abundances and fitnesses linked to species’ body sizes.
Vasseur, D., J. P. DeLong, B. Gilbert, H. S. Greig, C. D. G. Harley, K. S. McCann, V. Savage, T. D. Tunney, M. I. O’Connor. 2014. Increased temperature variation poses a greater risk to species than climate warming. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281 (1779): 20132612.
The Future of Scientific Field Research Stations in Canada
Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde (Wildlife Research Station), Frank Phelan (Queens University Biology Station), Mark Forbes (Carleton University), Art Weis (Koffler Scientific Reserve, ON), Bradly Anholt (Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre), Martin Lechowicz (Gault Nature Reserve, Mount St. Hillaire, Quebec), David Hik (Kluane Lake Research Station, Yukon), Ed Johnson (R.B. Miller Field Research Station, Alta), Michael Goodyear (Canadian Northern Studies Centre, Churchill, Manitoba), Mark Ridgway (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Harkness Fisheries Laboratory), Heather Powell, (National Ecological Observatory Network, Inc), Roxanne Maranger (Station de Biologie des Laurentides, Quebec), Krista Gooderham (Laurentian University), Greg Bulte (Carleton University), Robin Marushia (Koffler Scientific Reserve), Sean Thomas (Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto, Haliburton Forest), Brian Harvey (Universite du Quebec en Abitibi-Temiscamingue, Lac Duparquet Research and Teaching Forest Field Station)
Representatives from Canada’s field research facilities attending the CIEE workshop, The Future of Scientific Field Research Stations in Canada, voted unanimously to form the Canadian Field Research Network (CFRNet).
The CFRNet’s vision statement affirms its commitment “to facilitate and promote understanding of Canada’s natural legacy in a changing world through field research, training and outreach”. Its mission will be to 1) Provide facilities that support cost-effective world-class field research across Canada, 2) Foster the next generation of experts who will be called upon to solve Canada’s most pressing environmental problems, and 3) Build and maintain long-term studies crucial in valuing and sustaining Canada’s natural capital.
CFRNet integrates over 50 Canadian field research stations into a 'hub and spoke' network model that will enable the ecology and evolution research communities to build, from ready-made components, vehicles for biodiversity monitoring, distributed large-scale experiments, and the stewardship of long-term data sets. CFRNet also facilitates the sharing of best practices to enable cost-effective delivery of research outcomes.
An interim scientific assessment of the present and projected effectiveness of the Canadian Species at Risk Act.
Arne Mooers, (Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University), Dan Doak (Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming), David M. Green (Director, Redpath Museum, McGill University), Lisa Manne (Dept. of Biological Sciences, University of Toronto at Scarborough; currently CUNY Staten Island), Murray Rudd (Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial University; currently York University, UK.), Jeannette Whitton (Herbarium Director, Department of Botany, University of British Columbia)
Scientists from universities, provincial ministries, and NGOs across Canada gathered to evaluated how input from science is being used in the decision process for “at risk” designations, adequacy of species recovery plans and appraisal of recovery status. The meeting was held on 19-23 November 2008.