Category Archives: undergraduate students

Update on new course on ReWilding and Ecological Restoration (ERS 375-001)

In winter 2017, I am launching a new course on ReWilding & Ecological Restoration.

The UPDATED syllabus is attached:  ers-375-001-syllabus-jan-3Note that this is even more current that what is on the SERS website (I made some changes after we closed for xmas; I’ll ask Patti to post the new version as soon as possible after we open again on Jan 3)

Like the syllabus draft says:

“ReWilding is the macro-scale approach to conserving and restoring the socioecological resilience of ecosystems.   It can be spatially explicit and quite dependent on large scale modelling and landscape ecology but it can also take a more integrative approach that is more geared towards ecological planning, management, and monitoring of the whole socioecological system. Core to the mission of the School of Environment, Resources & Sustainability, this course will explore the full range of facets that ReWilding involves.  Specifically, the course will focus on restoration and conservation at landscape scale, including an emphasis on connectivity, reintroduction of keystone species, novel ecosystems, re-introduction of apex predators, herbivores, and omnivores.  Because ReWilding can be infused with various political agenda and ideologies, technocratic issues, policy ambitions, and governance issues, students can expect to experience a course focused on ecology and technical skills but contextualized and connected to the larger concepts of socioecological change and resilience.  There will be at least one applied project that partners with a multi-sectoral group focused on ReWilding the Lake Simcoe ecosystem; in this manner, students will have an experiential application of the principles in the course.”

Looking to enrol in winter 2017? The first offering has the usual experimental number – ERS 375.  My section is 001; class number 5089.  The permission number can be obtained through Patti Bester – again, once we open for business Jan 3 (bear in mind Patti will have a zillion emails so be patient – you can show up for class Jan 4, regardless). Class is Monday and Wednesday 1300-1420 in EV1 350.

For those interested in future offerings: Pending final approval, the permanent number will be ERS 337 as of winter 2018.  For example, I’ll make make a few more changes – Jim Harris of Cranfield U and SER fame made some great additional suggestions for assigned readings that will be added for 2018.

2015-2016: Undergraduate Research Projects/Theses

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This was taken December 2015 at our xmas celebration.  These are actually CaRE undergraduate students, co-op student alumni, & special guest star.

Heather Short, Julie Galloway (c0-advised by Brad Fedy), Brian Studer, Jessica Williamson (alum), Timmy Nassar (alum), Nick Allen (special guest star), Jacob Orlandi (alum & has an IMDB credit – as a baby!), Melody Fraser, Kathryn Russell, Karissa Finlayson, Cameron Curran

Absent: Rachel Hodgson, Ben North, Cooper Sheridan, Jon Jorna

 

Heather worked on a wetland characterization and ecological restoration plan with the City of Kitchener using the Novel Ecosystems framework

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Jon worked on assessing success of ecological restoration in Pioneer Tower Natural Area

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Brian examined effectiveness at necessity of control of mosquitoes in Waterloo Region

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Karissa monitored the ecological integrity and potential need for ecological restoration in urban woodlands

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Rachel worked on how populations of amphibians respond to urbanization

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Melody worked with me and Jonathan Price on management and restoration potential for peat bogs that have been harvested for commercial use

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Cameron worked on best practices for ecological restoration of quarries

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Kathryn worked with the Long Point Biosphere Reserve on how effective policies for protection have been and how these have changed in the last 30+ years

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Leigh-Anne Bower (formerly of LPBB – now with a CA) & Brian Craig

 

Ben examined best practices for conservation management of large mammals

One of the challenges for conservation managers is to determine how large mammals like bears will respond to habitat fragmentation, human caused climate change, and other factors.  Ben is seeking to determine strategic approaches to tackling this problem.

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Cooper’s research was focused on whether tree planting (mass commercial, nursery-style reclamation) has net carbon benefits or deficits.

While tree planting (nursery-style) is not restoration ecology, it can offer some reclamation benefits to land that would otherwise be degraded.  While there may be better approaches, the mass tree-planting strategy is not likely to end anytime soon.  One interesting question is whether a life cycle analysis will reveal that the energy inputs needs to replant are lower, about equal, or greater than biomass that is the output and how this might affect the carbon source-sink relations, at least at a regional scale.  We do know that forest differ in their carbon relations depending on the species composition, successional stage, overall ‘health’, and local environmental context and conditions.  Cooper aims to examine the tree planting industry as a whole.

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 This is a local reforested (mass cathedral planting) site
St. Williams Ontario – now undergoing a more ambitious ecological restoration

SmurphCaRE @ Society for Ecological Restoration World Conference 2015 Manchester UK

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Alan Turing memorial, Sackville Park, Manchester UK

The smurphcare crew took Manchester UK by storm – delivering a series of excellent talks, workshops, and posters.

London Road (Manchester) old fire station, London Road, Piccadilly, Manchester, Greater Manchester

Old firehall (London Road) Manchester UK

As usual, we helped drive the social aspects of the whole conference experience, with much merryment and serious chats about research with old and new friends.

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John Rylands Library in Mannchester UK

Our circle includes stalwarts like SER Chair Al Unwin, Restoration Ecology ME Valter Amaral, Jim Hallett, Loretta Battaglia, Brandon Bestlemeyer, Stu Allison, Nancy Shackleford, Peter Bridgewater, Heather Bateman, Vicky Temperton, Karen Keenleyside, Allen Thompson, Dan Spencer, Marcus Collier, An Cliquet, Karel Prach – and former SER Chairs, George Gann, Jim Harris, Eric Higgs, & Steve Whisenant.

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clockwise from upper left back: Dianne, Alex, Michael, Heather, Patricia, Smurph
(via Heather Bateman)

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Brandon and Eric

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Loretta (she is not bitter; just this beer is bitter)

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Brandon and Jim Harris

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Michael, Patricia, Alex, Heather + Valter

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Al Unwin, Jim Hallett, SER’s Levi Wickwire, Valter, George Gann

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Al, smurph, Jim and Moira Harris, Allen, Eric, Karen

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Patricia’s poster with Jim and Moira Harris

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Alex and her poster

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Valter, Steve Whisenant, Stu Allison

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The resilience symposium goes to dinner

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Most of the smurphcrew and friends

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Manchester City Hall

Our Talks:

Creating tallgrass prairie from retired cropland: Initial results. H.A. Cray, M.J.M. McTavish, S.D. Murphy, Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada.

Managing for the forest not the trees: beyond the vertices of historical, hybrid, and novel. S. Murphy, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada

Learning to live with belowground novelty: Integrating exotic earthworms into the restoration of
abandoned agricultural lands. M.J.M. McTavish, H.A. Cray, S.D. Murphy, Environment & Resource Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada.

Adding insult to injury: resilient but undesirable ecosystems are created by poor land use decisions
& an ice storm. S.D. Murphy, Department of Environment & Resource Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada

Examining best management practices for roadside ecological restoration through seed mix germination rates in fine textured soils. A. Novacic1, S. Murphy1, D. McGrath2 – 1Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada, 2Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, Vineland, Canada

Towards improved social and ecological urban resilience, via assessment of plant community nutrient. density in protected areas in Kitchener, Ontario. D. Watkins, S.D. Murphy, Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada

Assessing the efficacy of livestock restriction in rural creeks of the Grand River watershed to improve water quality. P. Huynh, S. Murphy, S Courtenay – Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada.

Getting published in Restoration Ecology: A workshop for students and early career professionals. SD Murphy and V Amaral.

Teaching restoration: global perspectives to local outcomes. M Hughes, SD Murphy, E Higgs.

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SER 2015 or Ninja Warriors? You choose – but choose wisely