Photo: Scott Nielsen
A mosaic of lakes and forests in northern Saskatchewan
The Big Picture

The new sub-discipline of Conservation Biogeography emphasizes the use of biogeography principles for biodiversity conservation questions such as climate change, protected areas management and landscape ecology, and more generally around questions of habitat loss and fragmentation.

Our biogeography research focuses at two complementary scales: (a) regional to global studies that often emphasize climate change and conservation planning topics; and (b) local scales mostly around island biogeography questions. Our island biogeography research uses boreal lake islands as a model system to better understand biodiversity-fragmentation, biodiversity-landscape, and biodiversity-disturbance questions. Here we can control for area (nested subsets of island sizes) to separate fragmentation from simple species-area relationships, while also examining how biodiversity changes in the presence of disturbances (fire) that themselves are affected by island characteristics (area and isolation). This is particularly interesting since island area-disturbance relationships can further alter local extinction rates, while island isolation alters colonization/recovery rates (rescue effects).