Congratulations to Taylor who earned third place in the ecology section at the University of Windsor’s Biology colloquium! She was able to describe her data amalgamation and GIS modelling techniques perfectly, and found significant differences between the seven rivers in British Columbia that were the focus of an NSERC SPG project.
Taylor takes home third at the Biology colloquium!
The Semeniuk Lab presents at CCFFR 2017 in Montreal
Lida, Jessica, Natalie, Pauline, along with Tina, all presented their work at the Canadian Conference for Fisheries Research (CCFFR) in Montreal, January 5-8th, 2017. Theresa and Kevyn both contributed to the poster session. The conference was full of amazing talks, and everyone had the chance to meet with past, present, and future colleagues and collaborators! #CCFFR2017
Cody is published in Global Change Biology
A big congratulations to Cody Dey, whose paper “Increasing nest predation will be insufficient to maintain polar bear body condition in the face of sea-ice loss” was recently accepted to Global Change Biology.
Read the full press release is below:
Polar Bears Enjoy Eggs for Breakfast
Arctic sea ice is melting earlier than ever, and this is causing changes in the diet of polar bears, concludes a recent study in the journal Global Change Biology.
New research from scientists at the University of Windsor, and Environment and Climate Change Canada, has shown that polar bears are feasting on the eggs of seabirds, rather than their preferred food, seals, once the sea ice has melted each spring.
“Historically, polar bears would use ice as a platform to hunt seal pups during the spring, but now that sea ice break-up is occurring so much earlier, they are forced ashore onto areas where seabirds are nesting” says Dey, a postdoctoral researcher at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, and lead author of the study. “As a result, polar bears are eating thousands of seabird nests each year, and the number is increasing as climate warming progresses.”
One of the seabirds that is most affected is the common eider. This large duck nests in groups on small Arctic islands, and has no defense if a polar bear shows up in their colony for a snack.
To study the interaction between polar bears and common eiders, Dey travelled to Baffin Island and worked with local Inuit from the community of Cape Dorset.
“Inuit are very in tune to this type of environmental change because they hunt eiders for meat, and collect eggs and down from their nests” Dey says. “Our research suggests that eiders might nest in different locations to avoid bear predation, which could make it harder for local people to harvest eiders”.
To further understand the relationship between polar bears and common eiders, Dey used data from his field studies to build computer simulation models. These model predict that polar bear predation of eider nests will continue to increase over the next 25 years, and that a large percentage of eider nests will be consumed by polar bears in years with earlier sea ice melt.
The models also predict that polar bears will get skinnier over time, even though they are eating more eider eggs.
“When the sea ice is melted polar bears are forced to fast until it freezes up again. Even if bears are eating eider eggs they probably can’t meet their caloric demand because eider eggs are relatively low in calories (compared to seals),” Dey says. “Our models suggest that polar bears can’t compensate for the loss of ice-based hunting opportunities by consuming eider eggs.”
Dey plans to extend this research by investigating how polar bear predation will affect common eider populations: “Some eider colonies are being decimated year after year by polar bears. This will clearly have some consequences for the eiders, but we don’t know the exact effects yet.”
Honours thesis students rock the Biology colloquium
The Semeniuk lab is so proud of Maya Haida, Jasvinder Mann, and Nadeen Shaabana for their research presentations during the Honours Thesis Undergraduate Colloquium. You all represented the lab so well! Nadeen’s talk earned top presentation in Ecology, a combination of making computer modelling easily understandable to everyone, and turtles.
The Semeniuk lab at Devonshire Research Showcase
The Semeniuk lab was out in force at the Devonshire Research Showcase with our live-tracking cameras and goldfish completing behavioural trials with mirrors and legos. Our display was enjoyed by everyone, and Predator-on-a-String (POAS) is always an interactive crowdpleaser.
We’ll be at Science Rendezvous this Saturday May 7th if you missed this event!
Pauline Capelle is awarded the Chris Wysiekierski Memorial Scholarship
3 Minute Thesis finals
Congratulations Mitch on making it to final round! Please come out and support him this Wednesday, March 30 at 2PM in the CAW Ambassador Auditorium.
Honours thesis students at Ontario Biology Day
We are so proud of Nadeen, JP, and Maya who represented the Semeniuk lab, and the University of Windsor, so well at Ontario Biology Day at Ryerson University.
A special congratulations to Nadeen who won top presentation in the ecology division!
Mitch’s 3 minute thesis — “Farming super salmon for supper”
Mitch is competing in the 3 minute thesis competition this Thursday, March 24th at 3PM. Come out to the Katzman Lounge in Vanier Hall to hear his thrilling talk “Farming super salmon for supper”. The lab will be there cheering you on Mitch!
Meagan’s defense — Friday Jan 22, 2016
Meagan will be defending her thesis, The determination of behavioural plasticity in Yellow Perch, Perca flavescens, this Friday, January 22, at 9:00 AM in the GLIER conference room. She is the first Semeniuk lab defense! All are welcome to attend her presentation.