Scott is a professor of conservation biology in the Department of Renewable Resources. He has a BSc in biology and MSc in natural resources from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a PhD in ecology from the University of Alberta. His lab studies biodiversity conservation and endangered species issues by integrating field and geospatial data with landscape modeling approaches to assess and predict biotic responses to rapid environmental change. We use this information to understand the impacts of environmental change and to guide mitigation and management actions. When he's not working on his research projects, Scott enjoys canoeing, woodworking, experimenting with perennial agriculture, woodlot management and prairie restoration on his northwest Wisconsin farm, enjoying time at his cabin in NW Ontario, and of course spending time with his family.
Ashley has been working as the ACE lab's research assistant, and started her PhD in 2020. She has a broad background in field research, and has spent many seasons in the boreal trudging through peatlands and swatting away insects. She spends most summers conducting plant surveys and measuring forest characteristics. Previously, Ashley focussed on surveying lichen biomass in caribou ranges, to map important caribou winter forage habitat. She has also worked on numerous other projects, including transplantation of terrestrial and arboreal forage lichens within Central Mountain caribou range in BC, and quantifying populations of disjunct alpine and arctic plant species that occur on the north shore of Lake Superior. Her PhD work focuses further on these disjunct species, and on understanding how large boreal lakes can moderate the effects of climate change by providing refuge for cold-adapted species on their shorelines. When she's not in the field, Ashley enjoys botanizing, photography, and climbing mountains.
Garrett is studying wood bison selection of wetlands in northeastern Alberta. This will involve classifying the diverse wetlands used by the Ronald Lake bison herd and modelling their preferences based off of GPS location data. Outside of research, Garrett enjoys watching and playing hockey, camping, and reading.
Michelle is researching how peatlands and other landscape factors may influence the persistence of upland boreal forest in the face of climate change (increasing drought and fire). The project is part of the new 'Alberta Refugia and Vegetation Transitions' group and the work will take place in northern Alberta using a combination of field sampling and remote sensing techniques.
Colleen is a PhD student who is researching passive and active recovery of seismic lines for caribou habitat restoration in the northeastern oil sands region of Alberta, as part of the Boreal Ecosystem Recovery Assessment project. While her graduate research has focused on forest and disturbance ecology, Colleen spent many years on the wildlife and research technician circuit doing everything from prescribed burning to assisting in elk captures. Outside of her research, Colleen enjoys hiking, birding, fishing, listening to live music, drinking barley pop, and munching on squeaky cheese curds.
Leonardo is a PhD student in the Applied Conservation Ecology Lab at the University of Alberta. He grew up in Florence, Italy, where he completed his BSc in Biological Science. He obtained his master's in Environmental Biology at the University of Turin, which focused on conservation biology and insect pollinator monitoring. His academic and research interests are in Landscape Ecology and Biodiversity. The aim of his PhD research is to study how the local environment and climate change affect boreal forest regeneration in the context of a highly fragmented landscape. More precisely the focus of the study is to examine in depth how warmer and drier conditions due to climate change, together with more intense fires, play a role in the recovery of the boreal forest. In his sparetime Leonardo enjoys watching movies and tv series, listening to every kind of music, reading, and cooking.
Danielle is a PhD student in the Applied Conservation Ecology Lab. She obtained her MSc in the Department of Biological Sciences at the UofA looking at the impact of sedimentation and ocean currents on sponge feeding and filtration, which has implications when designing marine protected areas for sponge reefs. This interest in applied conservation led her into a job first with CPAWS Northern Alberta and then with the Government of Alberta. Specifically, her career and now her PD is focused on better understanding the cumulative impacts of land-use on biodiversity in Alberta, and the ways in which we can implement land-use plans and policies that provide better outcomes for biodiversity on a working landscape. In her free time she loves exploring with her husband and two daughters through hiking, skiing, and camping.
Complementary to Michelle's project, Alex is researching the role that peatlands play in maintaining hydrologic climate-change refugia for upland boreal tree and shrub species. His research involves studying structure, composition, and productivity, using field methods, in regenerating upland forests adjacent to peatlands that have experienced post-fire drought. Upland forest responses will be related to their hydrological connectivity to peatlands and hydrologic position on the landscape. Alex hopes to acquire knowledge of where and when the eventual northward retreat of upland boreal tree and shrub species are likely to lag behind the rest of Alberta's boreal forest with climate change.
Emilie is studying innovative ways to monitor vegetation under the supervision of Dr. Scott Nielsen and Dr. Diane Haughland. Using community and environmental DNA, she would like to develop new methods in monitoring lichens, bryophytes, and vascular plants in Alberta that are more efficient and have less impact on the environment than traditional techniques. In her free time, Em enjoys reading, gardening, hiking, and has recently taken up cross-country skiing.
Sebastian was born in Nevia, a small town in Colombia, and moved to the capital city (Bogota) where he completed his BSc in Biology at the National University of Colombia. His research interests are landscape ecology and wildlife management, with a strong preference for mammal species. His thesis is focused on the study of wood bison movement and habitat selection during summer in the Ronald Lake area in Northeast Alberta. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor activities like cycling and hiking, but also watching movies and listening to podcasts.
Hailey is an MSc student co-supervised by Dr. Anne McIntosh and Dr. Scott Nielsen, researching plant functional traits in anthropogenically disturbed forest ecosystems near Fox Creek, Alberta. These disturbed ecosystems may have recovered naturally or were actively reclaimed, but have not been further evaluated to determine if recovery/reclamation objectives have been reached. This research is part of a larger project with Natural Resources Canada studying the Fox Creek area. Outside of research, Hailey enjoys hiking, running, and watching movies.
Spencer is a master's student working on the interaction between seismic line regeneration and hungry ungulate populations in the Lower Athabasca regions. In the summer he migrates to northeast Alberta to measure and stare closely at thousands of saplings and shrubs. Luckily he likes saplings and shrubs. In the winter, the plan is to keep tabs on the ungulates through an array of wildlife cameras.
Supervised by Dr. Scott Nielsen and Dr. Mark Edwards, Kalene's research focuses on better understanding how various spatio-temporal factors impact the carrying capacity of the Ronald Lake bison herd in northern Alberta. With previous experience working in community with Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, this project aims to support species stewardship through both western science and Indigenous ways of knowsing. Whenever possible, Kalene can be found hanging upside down practicing aerial or playing board games with friends.
Rebeeca is a MSc student researching black bears in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region under the supervision of Dr. Scott Nielsen and Dr. Mark Edwards. Her project involves studying black bear movement and behaviour within a gradient of disturbance and assessing the effectiveness of aversive conditioning, a common bear management program conducted on worksites. This research will inform bear management practices to reduce impacts on black bear populations and the likelihood of human-bear conflict. Outside of her research, Rebecca enjoys hiking, watching movies, and reading.
Zach is from Colorado, USA. He grew up in the mountains, and they are his favourite place to be all year round. His project investigates the expansion of shrubs in alpine tundra outside of Jasper National Park. Shrub expansion is a result of warmer climates and earlier snowmelt, however there is little understanding between the relationship of shrub expansion and extreme terrain variability found in the alpine. Zach's work consists of looking at how shrubs respond to warming and snow removal, and how they influence other plant communities around them. When he is not working on his project, Zach likes to go for hikes, swim in lakes, climb mountains, or snowboard.
Danique is studying the influence of forest edges on the boreal upland mixed-wood forest in fragmented areas in northeastern Alberta. Her project involves different-sized disturbances to investigate how their edges influence tree recuitment and growth differently. This project aims to fill the knowledge gaps regarding small footprint edge-effects in the upland forests of the Alberta oilsands region. Aside from her research, Danique loves hiking, paddling, and skiing.
Iyesha is studying innovative methods of photo-based vegetation monitoring under the supervison of Dr. Scott Nielsen and Dr. Diane Haughland. Her research involves the application of convolutional neural networks to photo IDs and photo plots, with a focus on monitoring lichens, bryophytes, and vascular plants in Alberta. Iyesha earned her B.Sc degree in Botanty and a course-based Master's degree in GIS and Remote Sensing fromt he University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. In er free time, she enjoys nature walks, hiking, photography, and listening to all kinds of music.
Molly is a MSc student researching interspecific relationships between black bears and wood bison. Her research will explore black bear predation risk on the Ronald Lake bison herd during the spring calving season. Molly loves all animals and she has been practicing as a Registered Veterinary Technologist for 4 years. In her free time, Molly enjoys exercising, hiking, and reading.