Gowans captures Drummond prize

October 07, 2004, vol. 31, no. 3

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Billie Gowans, a masters student in Simon Fraser University's school of resource and environmental management (REM), is the first recipient of the Doug Drummond research fellowship.

The new $3,200 award, named after Burnaby's mayor, will help Gowans complete her research on urban habitats in Burnaby.

Gowans is exploring the effectiveness of using focal species in biodiversity conservation under the supervision of REM professor Kris Rothley.

Scientists study the status of specific (focal) species to evaluate whether the wildlife and habitat diversity of their ecological region is declining.

“A common planning strategy is to direct conservation efforts toward preserving these species so that most or all other less vulnerable species in the same habitat will also be conserved,” notes Gowans.

Gowans is investigating whether the presence and abundance of a small group of birds can provide information about habitat quality and the persistence of other species.

“I believe her research will make a very valuable contribution to our understanding of bird ecology and conservation in the urban forests of the Lower Mainland,” says REM professor Ken Lertzman, a member of Gowans' supervisory committee.

Gowans did her undergraduate work at SFU, obtaining a bachelor of science degree with a major in biological sciences in 1997.

SFU created the research fellowship last year to honour the Burnaby mayor's accomplishments and his efforts in fostering relations with the university.

SFU graduate students pursuing research on subjects related to Burnaby are eligible for the award.

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