1. Cesar Estevo (University of Alberta) – A Hill Has Many Faces: The influence of topography on microclimates, vegetation, and boreal songbirds
2. Alexandre Caouette (MacEwan University) – Elucidating the Distribution of a Non-Native Species of Katydid in Alberta Using Bioacoustics
3. Howie Harshaw (University of Alberta) – The Human Dimensions of Waterfowl Hunting Participation: Understanding Albertan waterfowl hunting retention, recruitment, and reactivation
Our Lunch and Learn Webinar Series continues to offer great opportunities for our members to share their important research. Our third webinar discussed how the Alberta landscape is changing with climate change, a new non-native species, and the human dimensions of waterfowl hunting. The diversity in topics kept me engaged well beyond the hour of the webinar!
Cesar Estevo presented a great talk about how climate change is impacting boreal birds and vegetation distribution. By examining topography and other landscape features, he compared the potential for climate refugia between four sites across Alberta (2 in the northern boreal, 1 in central Alberta, and 1 in Cypress Hills). Cesar assessed species specific responses to fine-scale topographic variation by using a combination of models to explore how terrain influenced songbirds and tree distribution. He found that topography and local temperature were positively correlated with solar radiation and negatively correlated with terrain roughness. While all areas will get warmer with climate change, they will also likely retain their heterogeneity. There were some mixed effects between birds and vegetation; in some cases, birds seemed to display niche plasticity and were able to adapt to changing vegetative structures. Even though local refugia may be too small to accommodate all bird populations, there is still good refugia potential in boreal ecosystems.
Our second speaker, Alex Caouette, presented his work measuring the distribution of a new species of Katydid in Alberta. Alex used bioacoustics monitoring and audio recognition software to measure the presence of the Katydid across Alberta. His used data from ABMI monitoring sites across Alberta and his own sound recordings from sites known to contain this novel Katydid. By recording the Katydid in known locations, he was able to test for that same call from other areas of the province. He first tested the effectiveness of his approach and technology and was able to identify 51 recordings of the Katydid in Alberta. His results did not find any Katydid calls outside of its known range, but some new populations have been found using other methods. Alex is working to refine bioacoustics as a monitoring tool. His work may prove valuable for tracking insect distribution changes with climate change.
In a topic twist, the webinar shifted with Howie Harshaw’s presentation detailing the human dimensions of waterfowl hunting in Alberta. He aims to understand peoples’ preferences so they may be incorporated into management. Howie found that barriers to hunting for existing hunters included access to good sites and time constraints. His research also showed, however, a disconnect between non-hunters and hunters. Some people didn’t hunt because of a lack of interest or a moral opposition to hunting. He compared various scenarios to better understand when people would choose to hunt and found three drivers: 1) competition from other hunters (people liked less competition); 2) travel time (people liked to hunt closer to home); and 3) harvest (people wanted to catch more birds). Waterfowl hunters strongly identified as conservationists and valued being in nature. Howie’s work contributes to broader conservations about waterfowl hunting and management.
This webinar was attended by 23 people and all of them thought the webinar was useful.
We are happy that our webinars are being so well received!
A video of the webinar is posted in our members area.
We are always looking for corporate sponsors for our webinar series. Call Sarah if you’d like more information.
Professional refers to someone who works with wildlife and/or their habitats in a professional setting.
In this context, it is not in reference to a legal professional designation.