Broadening and Enriching the Conservation Conversation

As a graduate student, and perhaps particularly as a Ph.D. student, I am frequently reminded of the value of narrowing my focus. The advice is fitting; in the field of Applied Conservation Science, our scholarship is necessarily concentrated. Our diverse ecosystems, and the myriad ways humans understand and interact with them, are so complex as […]

To Cover Ground

The mantra of this field season for the Kitasoo/Xai’xais Cultural Feature Inventory team is to cover ground. We have spent the last 5 weeks conducting cultural feature surveys throughout Kitasoo/Xai’xais Territory, tacking on the kilometers each day. Our all-star crew is made up of Vernon Brown (project co-lead), Stephen Neasloss, Santana Edgar, Chantal Pronteau, Sarein […]

Thinking Big with Open Access data

Studying a wide-ranging and highly-mobile mammal like the grizzly bear means thinking big. To address questions that are relevant for individual bears or populations over space and time, our research group has to seek out comprehensive datasets that span thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of square kilometres and often over many decades. These data […]

Coastal Carnivores of the Great Bear Rainforest

Standing in silence, eyes glued to the creek, we wait. Marven Robinson, a Coastal Guardian Watchman, Ecotour Operator, Knowledge Holder and member of the Gitga’at Nation Bear Monitoring Project with Raincoast and UVic in Gitga’at Territory, lets out an impressive howl. We listen for a response, but, nothing. Perhaps the nearby landslide, one of many […]

Fish Bait Finale

  It was bitter-sweet to pour fish oil bait for the final time of the Spring 2018 Raincoast Conservation Foundation / Nuxalk Bear Study. I have grown rather fond of the nostalgia associated with whiffs of the fishy scent, which will soon lay dormant for another year. We use the non-reward bait to lure bears […]

First days in a foreign land

Now that the first round of field work is complete on the Heiltsuk bear project I’m finding it hard to put into words what it’s been like.  Last night around a crowded dinner table a long-time friend of Raincoast, colleague and mentor – Chester Starr – asked me “How are you liking my country?”. I […]

As spring comes knocking, field work preparations are underway!

With the start of spring comes a new season of field work for the ACS lab. This means a lot of preparation in the weeks leading up to May, from purchasing and packing field equipment, to detailed plans and schedules. It’s a busy time, but one that carries a certain excitement. The lab is abuzz […]

Computer Vision and Conservation Science

Artificial intelligence, computer vision, machine learning, shape predictors, GPUs, face recognition….not usually terms you hear within a lab dedicated to conservation science! However, these technological advances are starting to become of interest to scientists outside the field of computer science. ‘Conservation technology’ is a rapidly emerging field which bridges the gap between hardware/software development, and […]

Predator Presence

Predators are the wildlife marmite of our living landscapes, dividing the human populace into lovers and haters of our carnivore companions. In my relatively short scientific career I’ve been drawn to the plight of predators, working on a debilitating gastrointestinal disease in maned and red wolves, a tick-borne pathogen in African wild dogs, and finally, […]

A white bear crosses a running stream on the coast in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Kid Conservationists and the Value of Outreach

A flourish of waving hands darts across my computer screen as I close my video chat window. The waves goodbye signal the end of my first virtual hangout with Ms. Michael’s fourth grade class. Based near Chicago, IL, the class is as diverse as they are enthusiastic. I smile with a mix of relief and […]