Leonard Lab
Roseate Tern CountryIsland

Bird Conservation

Broadly, we are studying factors contributing to bird species endangerment and determining how to reduce their impact.

For example, in one series of studies we focussed on the endangered Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii, pictured through binoculars at left), whose Canadian breeding range occurs principally in Nova Scotia. Along with collaborators from the Canadian Wildlife Service and the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, MSc student Becky Whittam determined how predation from large gulls affected breeding productivity at an important Roseate Tern colony. Subsequently, MSc student Jen Rock identified key tern foraging areas nearby. This work has helped guide ongoing efforts to reduce the impact of predation and to protect critical habitat throughout the Canadian range of this species.

Recent post-doc Rob Ronconi's work on the Bay of Fundy ecosystem was aimed at improving marine protected areas and oil spill mitigation, while minimizing bycatch. Recent PhD student Bob Farmer studied how volunteer bird surveys can be improved to better serve in monitoring and conservation. Other past Leonard lab students have worked on a variety of rare or threatened study systems, including the threatened Ipswich sparrow (endemic to Sable Island), bird communities on Argentinean yerba mate plantations, and the endangered Humboldt penguin (Peru). We occasionally venture beyond birds, too; most recently through Krista Patriquin's PhD research on bat sociality.