Laurel Moulton

Golden-winged warbler

My primary area of interest is the conservation of biodiversity, in particular studying the effects of anthropogenic landscape-scale changes on threatened species.  My organism of choice happens to be songbirds, and though I love all birds, I keep finding my way back to warblers. At the University of Manitoba, I will be focusing on Golden-winged Warblers, which are a threatened species in Canada, and quickly declining across their entire range in the Eastern US. These declines have been attributed to both habitat loss and ‘genetic swamping’ or hybridization with Blue-winged Warblers. I will take a landscape scale perspective to study the distribution and occupancy of the GWWA across Manitoba. I also want to know how landscape factors such as fragmentation and connectivity affectreproductive success, and gene flow between subpopulations which may have implications for the potential threat of future hybridization with Blue-winged Warblers.

Jessica Lockhart

JLockhart Grad Student Bio

I received a Bachelor of Science in biology from Dalhousie University, and am currently in the process of completing a Masters of Natural Resources Management at the University of Manitoba. My research interests include environmental sustainability, landscape ecology and conservation biology. Specifically, I am using avian point count data to study the landscape-level effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on grassland songbird communities in the mixed-grass prairies of south-west Manitoba. Although the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on avian biodiversity have been well studied, their relative importance is poorly understood. The primary goal of my research is to therefore identify and compare the independent effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on the relative abundance and diversity of grassland songbirds. This study will contribute towards the improved management of remnant prairie landscapes for grassland songbird communities in Manitoba.

Kelsey Molloy

spring kelsey]

I graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and a passion for birds.  I’m particularly interested in sustainable agriculture and land-uses that are compatible with conservation. For my Master’s research at the University of Manitoba I am researching the effects of cattle grazing at different stocking rates on grassland songbirds.  Grassland songbird populations are declining and several species are listed. My research takes place in the stunning Grasslands National Park, in rural southern Saskatchewan.  Although I come from coastal New England I’ve come to be very passionate about prairie conservation.

Jacy Bernath-Plaisted

CE34 17 June 2013 (CCLO NSTL D8-9)

I graduated form Beloit College in 2011 with a B.A. in creative writing and philosophy, and a minor in biology.  Following my graduation, I worked as a field technician on sage-obligate songbirds in central Wyoming, and then as both an intern and a research assistant at Archbold Biological Station, FL, studying the threatened Florida Scrub-jay. Currently, I am pursing a Masters of Natural Resource Management here at the University of Manitoba. My broad research interests are in conservation biology and avian ecology. My thesis research focuses on the effects of oil extraction on grassland songbirds in the mixed-grass prairies of southern Alberta. By finding and monitoring nests at a variety of infrastructure sites, I hope to determine if the presence of oil infrastructure influences nest survival in species, such as Sprague’s Pipit and the Chestnut-collared Longspur. My research also employs video surveillance of songbird nests in an attempt to document the little studied mixed-grass prairie predator community.

Marika Olynyk


I completed a B.A. in Environmental Studies at the University of Winnipeg and have since worked in the areas of both community development and ecology. I love the prairies and I’m always surprised by how they are often overlooked in research and conservation projects. I am interested in ecosystem functioning and how to manage and restore prairie ecosystems, and my research will look at pollination service in fragmented mixed-grass prairie. Pollination is a key ecosystem function for maintaining the biodiversity, stability, and persistence of both plant and pollinator communities. I will be using potted plants to measure pollination service in remnant mixed-grass patches and tame grasslands, while looking at edge effects. This study can help managers understand the requirements for pollination and identify best practices for the maintenance of this key ecological process.

Jody Daniel

Jody surveying birds in the Caribbean

As a native islander, identifying strategies to ensure the protection of one’s natural resources and biodiversity have always been an interest of mine. As such, I was naturally attracted to the Masters in Natural Resources Management Program at the University of Manitoba. Since I am an avid birder, I was intrigued by the opportunity to have a thesis focused on their conservation, in an area where oil and gas development has greatly impacted their survivorship. The objective of my study is to determine whether disturbances caused by shallow gas and oil wells and associated infrastructure, and other anthropogenic sources of habitat loss and fragmentation, affect the occurrence and nesting success of a range of grassland passerine species at a landscape scale.

Laurel McDonald

laurel mcdonald

Conservation of prairie birds


And many more! New updated profiles coming soon….

Dr. Nicola Koper
Associate Professor
Natural Resources Institute
University of Manitoba
70 Dysart Rd.
Winnipeg, MB
R3T 2N2
Phone: 204-474-8768
Fax: 204-261-0038