Key Biodiversity Areas
Prior to pursuing my PhD, I was research associate at Wildlife Conservation Society Canada, working on the Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) project. My role was to coordinate aspects of the identification, nomination and review processes for potential KBAs. This work involves a lot of outreach and communication with experts, stakeholders and rights-holders in various jurisdictions to ensure that KBAs are identified using the best available data, and that the resulting information is relevant, credible, and legitimate for local decision-makers. My research for the KBA project included identifying appropriate spatial and population parameters for trigger species and the quantitative assessment of KBA criteria thresholds.
Since early 2019, I've planned the logistics for, and helped facilitate two regional (Yukon and Manitoba) and two national KBA workshops, during which we identified over 100 new potential KBAs in Canada. Once potential sites are identified, I worked with a team of regional KBA coordinators to delineate spatial boundaries, research species, create proposals, and coordinate a KBA review process.
I'm was responsible for many of the communications products for both the KBA initiative and for WCS Canada. For each, I managed the websites (kbacanada.org and wcscanada.org; the latter of which I implemented a complete redesign for in 2019) and social media accounts (facebook, instagram and twitter).
For WCS Canada, I was a core member of a communications team with representatives for our fundraising and management departments. I participated in developing communications strategies for engaging the public, other scientists, and governments in our research and organizational vision. I helped develop content for blogs, story maps, videos, e-newsletter, outreach events and social media campaigns. (See my Sci Comm page for some things I've written!) Similarly, for the KBA initiative, I produced a monthly e-newsletter providing updates on our progress and opportunities for participation, and help developed blogs and videos to explain and promote our work.
After finished my MSc, I worked as the lab manager for McGill's aquatic invasive species lab, headed by Professor Tony Ricciardi. During this role I was responsible for managing administrative tasks, including obtaining research permits (for field collections and animal care), expense reporting, managing and ordering equipment and hiring and supervising field assistants and volunteers. At this time, I helped create and establish a new large-scale mesocosm experiment for freshwater fish, including acquire space off-campus, ordering artificial ponds and helping to build handmade filtration units for more than 30 units. In addition, during this period I also conducted research into the impacts of invasive round gobies, including designing and running experiments (manuscript in preparation).
I've served as a teaching assistant for courses on Conservation Biology (400-level), Invasion Ecology (400/500-level) and Animal Diversity. I've also personally supervised 10 undergraduate students as they either pursued independent research projects (three students) or worked as field and lab assistants (seven students).
Setting up a new mesocosm array at Gault Nature Reserve, Quebec. Photo by Sunci Avlijas