Songbirds and in-situ oil sands projects
Photo: Wolfgang Wander, 2005.
A palm warbler (Dendroica palmarum).
Songbird responses to in situ energy extraction in lowland boreal forests
Western Boreal Forest, Canada
Graduate Student
M.Sc. (Conservation Biology) (Winter 2015-2020)
Status: Active, Study began in 2014, currently in progress.

Thea is studying the impacts of development features from Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage, a quickly expanding method of in situ energy extraction, on habitat use by songbirds in boreal peatland ecosystems.  Using two study species, Palm Warblers and Dark-eyed Juncos, she will examine how habitat and disturbance factors influence territory placement and within-territory space use by species with different resource selection strategies.  Specifically, she will examine how disturbance type, distance, and density impact population-level space use.  By concurrently examining occupancy and abundance across a larger landscape she hopes to identify if patterns are similar at different scales.  Understanding how and why species abundance and habitat use patterns respond to habitat modification by development features is important for enhancing our predictive capabilities and informing our management strategies.  This research is part of a collaborative project with Canadian Wildlife Service. Co-supervision with Dr. Erin Bayne.