" I chose to come to SFU to study the pacific morphotype of Canada Jays with the Green Lab, part of the Center for Wildlife Ecology. "

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Andie Siemens

June 11, 2024

Biological Sciences master's student in the Faculty of Science

Tell us a little about yourself, including what inspires you to learn and continue in your chosen field

I did my undergrad at the University of Guelph studying Wildlife Biology & Conservation, with a minor in Applied Geomatics. I love learning about how species interact with each other and their habitat, and the ecological drivers behind their behaviours. Understanding how and why animals act the way they do can give us valuable insight into protecting our at risk species.

Why did you choose to come to SFU?

I chose to come to SFU to study the pacific morphotype of Canada Jays with the Green Lab, part of the Center for Wildlife Ecology.

How would you describe your research or your program to a family member?

I am studying the social dominance of the pacific morphotype of Canada Jays. These birds are plural breeders (a type of cooperative breeding where multiple breeding pairs share a territory) and they have a very strict social dominance structure. However, we don't really understand cooperative breeding in birds or why they would share their territory with other breeding pairs. What are the evolutionary fitness benefits from plural breeding? What determines their social dominance structure and therefore their breeding system? Understanding the drivers behind plural breeding can give us insight into the fitness and reproductive success of these birds, which is vital for protecting their declining populations.

What three (3) keywords would you use to describe your research?

Behavioural ecology, social dominance, ornithology

How have your courses, RA-ships, TA-ships, or non-academic school experiences contributed to your academic and/or professional development?

My field course to Ecuador sparked by love of birds by being surrounded by such unique species. Seeing the species richness of the Andean cloud forests and the Amazon jungle inspired me to work to conserve our declining bird diversity in North America

Have you been the recipient of any major or donor-funded awards? If so, please tell us which ones and a little about how the awards have impacted your studies and/or research

I received NSERC-CGS and BSGS grants for my research.


Contact Andie:andie@bell.net


Banded Canada jay