Seminar Series Fall 2021

A Tale of a River and Three Dams

Dr. Shawn Chartrand

Assistant Professor at SFU School of Environmental Science  

Overcoming the ‘Soft’ Climate Change Denier in Each of Us

Dr. Patrick Belmont 

Department Head of Watershed Sciences at Utah State University

Climate change denial has historically been defined as the overt refusal to accept scientific understanding that climate change is happening, humans are causing it, and that it will have severe consequences for humans and ecosystems. But as that viewpoint has become untenable in the face of overwhelming evidence, this talk explores various forms of 'soft' climate change denial that are still pervasive in the 2020s. By recognizing these soft forms of denial, we can overcome them and focus our efforts on real, actionable solutions to the climate emergency.

Wildfires in British Columbia: Causes, Consequences and Coexistence

Dr. Lori Daniels

Professor in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences at the University of British Columbia

Wildfire is an essential process in forest ecosystems, but can be incredibly destructive in the wildland-urban interface, as we experienced again during the 2021 fire season. Wildfire is driven by climate, weather and fuels that vary among ecosystems and through time. Combined, land-use change, fire exclusion and global warming have made many forests highly susceptible to intense fires that are difficult to control and spread to large sizes. Revolutionizing forest and fire management will improve ecosystem resilience to climate change, but we will not stop future fires from burning. Successful adaptation must also include individuals and communities learning how to coexist with wildfire.

Where are they going? A real-time forecasting system for the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales

Dr. Marine Randon

Postdoctoral Fellow at Simon Fraser University

The Salish Sea is an area of intense marine traffic with considerable industrial developments being planned. This intense traffic may disturb the marine ecosystem, and especially marine mammals, through physical and acoustic disturbances. Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW), an iconic population of cetaceans living in the Salish Sea year-round, use underwater sounds to communicate, navigate and hunt. With only 73 individuals remaining, the population is endangered in Canada and the United States, and the marine traffic is considered one of the main threats affecting the recovery of SRKW. To reduce the risk of collisions and acoustic disturbances on SRKW, Dr. Marine Randon, under the supervision of Dr. Ruth Joy and Dr. Michael Dowd, is developing a real-time forecasting system to predict the future positions and trajectories of the whales. The seminar will be an opportunity to present the meteorological-inspired methodological framework behind the forecasting system, demonstrate the high flexibility of the model used, and emphasize the value of this operational management tool to protect endangered marine wildlife from marine traffic. 

Bear-Salmon-Human Systems in Coastal British Columbia: Community-Driven Applied Conservation Research

Dr. Christina Service 

Kitasoo/Xai'xais Stewardship Authority

As conservation challenges mount on the British Columbia coast, applied research led by indigenous communities is filling critical knowledge gaps to inform evidence-based stewardship and management practices. During her talk, Christina will share both the process and values that guide the development of the Kitasoo Xai'xais First Nation's research programs and collaborations, as well as the results from recent community driven research and their applied policy outcomes. Focusing on a decade of research on bear-human-salmon systems in Kitasoo Xai'xais territory, she will share results and policy outcomes that emerge from methods that incorporate western science and indigenous knowledge. 

Christina works for the Kitasoo Xai'xais Nation's Stewardship Authority as a Wildlife Biologist and Science Coordinator, based in the village of Klemtu in the Great Bear Rainforest.  She completed her PhD in the Applied Conservation Science lab at UVic in 2019. Her research portfolio is place-based and driven by stewardship priorities of the Kitasoo Xai'xais Nation, resulting in diverse interests that span taxa including bears, mountain goats, salmon, and cultural forests.