Plenary Session: Connectivity

Keynote Speaker

Fiona Schmiegelow, University of Alberta

Coming Soon

Connectivity in a working landscape

Elston Dzus, Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries

Abstract coming soon

Elston Dzus has been a forest ecologist with Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. for 19 years.  He is interested in the interaction of human activities and ecology of various wildlife species.  Much of his work has focused on understanding the complex interactions between industrial landuse and predator-prey dynamics in relation to conservation of woodland caribou. He has been an advocate for advancing ecosystem-based management and other integrated land management innovations through strategic collaborations that incorporate consideration of ecological, economic and social components. Elston holds a Ph. D. from the University of Saskatchewan. He has been active for many years with The Wildlife Society (TWS, Manitoba and Alberta Chapters) and was the Canadian Section recipient of the TWS Dedicated Service Award in 2016.

Impacts of oil and gas development on migratory songbirds

Nicola Koper, University of Manitoba

Abstract coming soon

Nicola Koper is a Professor of Conservation Biology at the Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba. She received her MSc from the University of Guelph, her PhD from the University of Alberta, and held an NSERC post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Manitoba before starting her faculty position there in 2005. Her primary research focus is effects of anthropogenic development on grassland songbirds, with a particular focus on energy development and anthropogenic noise. She has won several recent awards, including the Partners in Flight award for Public Awareness, and the Jamie Smith Award for Mentorship from the Society of Canadian Ornithologists.

Connecting ecological process in the Bow Valley:  past, present, and future

Adam Ford, University of British Columbia (Okanagan)

Abstract coming soon

Adam Ford is an Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Wildlife Restoration Ecology at the University of British Columbia. Since 2004, Adam has conducted research on the impacts of infrastructure on wildlife movement, including rodents in Central Canada to the large mammals of Banff National Park. Currently, Adam and his students work on the intersection of wildlife movement, food web ecology, and human-wildlife conflict in British Columbia, Alberta, and overseas.

Stoney traditional use study on Grizzly Bears

William Snow, Stoney Nation

Abstract coming soon

William Snow is a member of the Stoney Nakoda Nation, Wesley First Nation, as well as a Dual Citizen of Canada / United States of America, and is of Stoney Nakoda / Yuma Quechan descent. Since 2012, Bill has been the Consultation Manager for Stoney Nakoda First Nation. This work involves the assessment of industrial resources projects within Stoney Nakoda Traditional Lands that involve many consultations with industry, the provincial and federal governments, in the Southern Alberta. Bill is a graduate of the University of Lethbridge, Business Administration program, and in 2016, assisted in coordinating ceremonies for Stoney Nakoda Nation for the Bison Reintroduction at Banff National Park & Elk Island National Park, as well as for the proposed renaming of Tunnel Mountain. Also, Stoney Nakoda Nation completed a Traditional Knowledge Study of Grizzly Bears in the Kananaskis Provincial Park for Environment Canada. Bill is also an advisor to the Chiniki Lecture series at the University of Calgary, and an Advisor at for the Thinking Mountains Conference (2015 and 2018), Mountains 101 and the Canadian Mountain Network initiative at the University of Alberta. In September 2017, Bill accepted the Ted Smith Conservation Award from Yellowstone to Yukon on behalf of Stoney Consultation. Bill lives in Calgary, and works at the Stoney Indian Reserve at Morley, Alberta. In 2018, Bill also became a director with Canadian Wildlife Federation.

Connectivity matters:  A portfolio of connections are needed to protect wetlands and their ecosystem functions and services

Irena Creed, University of Saskatchewan

Governments worldwide do not adequately protect freshwater ecosystems and therefore place freshwater functions and attendant ecosystem services at risk. Particularly vulnerable ecosystems are wetlands, which are being lost or degraded more quickly than any other type of ecosystem on the planet. Satellite-based measurements and process-based models were combined to estimate surface and subsurface hydrological connections at local (wetland to neighboring wetlands) and watershed (wetland to rivers) scales. The relationship between these hydrological connections, biogeochemical functions (e.g., nitrogen removal and phosphorus retention), and biodiversity functions were explored. Results show clear evidence of the interdependence of hydrologic connectivity on biogeochemistry and biodiversity. Conservation science and policy need to go beyond considering wetlands as independent objects but as integral components of wetland networks on the landscape.

Irena Creed is Executive Director of the School of Environment & Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan, and was the Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Watershed Sciences until June 2017. Irena’s research group, together with collaborators from government, industry and an international network of scientists, study the impacts of global change (climate change, atmospheric pollution, and land use/land cover change) on ecosystem structure, function and services. She works at multiple scales using contemporary techniques to investigate how hydrology influences ecological and physiological processes in terrestrial (forest, agriculture) and aquatic ecosystems (streams, wetlands, lakes, rivers).

From Yellowstone to Yukon:  Making the case for large landscape conservation

Aerin Jacob, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

Abstract coming soon

Dr. Aerin Jacob is Conservation Scientist at the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y), where she conducts and communicates applied research across the 1.4 million km2 Y2Y region. She has worked in research, conservation, teaching, and consulting across western North America, East Africa, and Central America and has advised governments about conservation planning, species at risk, climate change, and impact assessment. She was a 2015 Wilburforce Fellow, a 2016-18 Liber Ero Fellow, and serves on the board of the Society for Conservation Biology North America. Aerin earned a BSc from the University of British Columbia and a PhD from McGill University, and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Victoria.

Program + Events

PUBLIC TALK: Shane Mahoney


Please Donate Auction Items for our Conference

To help raise money for student scholarships we will be doing our annual member-supported auction at our conference banquet.  In past years our members have supported this event by donating items such as art, books, gear, personal guided experiences and other creative items.  Your donation will help support aspiring wildlife biologists at a critical time in their careers!  Please contact Cindy ( or Chuck ( to let them know what you are able to donate for this important cause.

Photo Contest

Larry Norman Comin Photo Contest: