WCS Canada


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Bat activity and richness in beetle-killed forests in southern British Columbia
Large ares of forest in western North America are characterized by dead trees caused by outbreaks of bark beetles in the past decades. Uncertain of how patches of dead trees may effect bat populations, the researchers conducted surveys of bat species richness in forests with low and high levels of tree deaths. They detected 6 species of bats, including little brown bats that are listed as endangered by the federal government. They determined that beetle-killed forest do not effect bat presence nor activity and also do not provide increased habitat use for bats.
WCS Canada Comments - Off Road Vehicle Questionnaire - March 2019
We strongly support this initiative by the Yukon Territorial Government to establish a Regulation that would make operational a provision in the Territorial Lands (Yukon) Act for the establishment of Off-Road Vehicle Management Areas (ORV MAs). By putting prohibitions and restrictions on ORV use within large management areas, society will have a tool to at least partially preclude or constrain the ongoing proliferation of ORV use and trail development which is happening across the entire territory. We are encouraged that the intention of government is to establish some ORV MAs in regions where land use planning has already provided such direction (e.g., the Peel watershed, Kusawa Territorial Park). We argue, however, that ORV MAs are not the only regulatory tool that government needs to consider in dealing with the problems ORVs create for wetlands and for ongoing trail development. We suggest specific mechanisms regarding trail permitting and wetland policy development that government needs to consider in addition to ORV MAs.
A boreal songbird's 20,000 km migration across North America and the Atlantic Ocean
Geolocation technology allowed researchers to track Blackpoll Warblers as they undertook their annual migration cycle. These 12 gram birds double their body weight before undertaking an astonishing journey, migrating over 3,000 km over the Atlantic Ocean to overwinter in South America before returning to breed. Blackpoll Warblers populations are declining and identifying key overwintering and breeding sites may be key to their survival. As a high-quality breeding site, the protection of Canada's boreal forest is critical to saving this amazing songbird
Mercury bioaccumulation in relation to changing physicochemical and ecological factors across a large and undisturbed boreal watershed
WCS researchers studied the cycling of mercury, a toxic metal in an undisturbed boreal watershed to better understand how future development may influence its behaviour. They determined that the concentration of mercury is influenced by physical and chemical attributes of water systems, including nitrogen and oxygen concentrations.
Food web rewiring in a changing world
As climate change creates climatic heterogeneity across landscapes, the authors hypothesize that generalist consumers will respond by adapting their behaviour to the environment and alter food webs in predictable ways. Using existing data from diverse ecosystems, the researchers show that this behavioural modification by generalist consumers alter food web dynamics in two ways: 1) They feed in new areas where they previously didn't, or on new prey, and alter food web connections; and 2) they alter food web interaction strengths by changing their relative use of differentially altered habitats, causing changes in energy and carbon flows. By finding shared, altered behaviour in species that share traits, the authors argue that we can better understand shifting food web dynamics, and use this tool to better predict the impacts of climate change.
Life at the top. Lake ecotype influences the foraging pattern, metabolic costs and life history of an apex fish predator
Using acoustic telemetry data and acceleration sensors, the authors compared the metabolic costs of lake trout between four populations in lakes with varying types of prey. They determined that lake trout feeding behaviour was characterized by clearly delineated periods of active hunting and rest. Populations with prey that were smaller or more difficult to catch had fewer resting periods and expended more energy during active periods.
Population genetics reveal Myotis keenii (Keen's myotis) and Myotis evotis (long-eared myotis) to be a single species
Assessing vessel slowdown as an option for reducing acoustic masking for Arctic cod in the western Canadian Arctic
Underwater sound generated from vessel traffic can negatively effect wildlife by making it difficult for them to hear biologically-important sounds. Where it isn't possible to reroute traffic, slowing down vessel travel speed may mitigate the impacts of sound. The researchers investigated how a speed reduction from 25 to 15 knots effecting the listening ability of fish. They determined that the most important factors when mitigating sound pollution was the type of vessel, and distance of the vessel from the animals, rather than speed.
Seasonal patterns in marine mammal vocalizations in the western Canadian Arctic
WCS researchers and colleagues used acoustic monitoring to monitor marine mammal populations at two sites in the Arctic: Sachs Harbour and Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, Canada. Their research revealed the presence of beluga and bowhead whales during the ice-free season, bearded seals through the ice-covered and mating seasons, and ringed seals year round. The presence of these species, and differences in the timing of species presence between the two sites, serve as baseline data for future monitoring in the region.
Tourist vessel traffic in important whale areas in the western Canadian Arctic. Risks and possible management solutions
Vessel traffic has negative impacts on whales through collisions and auditory disturbances. Tourist vessels (including passenger vessels and pleasure craft) in the Arctic greatly overlap with areas of high whale concentrations. Removing vessels from marine protected areas or restricting them to the Canadian government's proposed low-impact corridor aren't likely to significantly reduce impact. Instead, WCS researchers propose creating a corridor completely outside known whale areas and reducing vessel speed to minimize impact on whales.
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