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I am a Master’s student in the Environmental and Life Sciences Program at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. My work focuses on habitat selection by Canada lynx and bobcats on the north shore of Lake Huron, and I am supervised by Dr. Jeff Bowman (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) and Dr. Marie-Josee Fortin (University of Toronto). I am also a trainee in the NSERC-funded CREATE Enviro program, which “provides advanced training in environmental research and technologies to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at Trent University, Queen’s University, and the University of Toronto”.

I completed my B.Sc. in Biology at McGill University, where I first became involved in research as a lab assistant with Dr. Virginie Millien and her work on the role of the white-footed mouse in the spread of Lyme disease. I participated in a tropical ecology field course in Barbados the following spring and fell in love with fieldwork, going on to assist with trapping small mammals and ticks for Dr. Millien in the Monteregie area that summer, and then participating in McGill’s Canadian Field Studies in Africa semester the next winter. CFSIA was an experience that solidified my passion for wildlife biology. The next summer, I was a research assistant on a road ecology project for Dr. Jochen Jaeger at Concordia University, live-trapping radio-collared American marten in the Laurentians north of Quebec City. I returned to McGill in my fourth year to do my honours thesis with Dr. Millien: a meta-analysis involving life history, phylogenetic, and spatial range data for terrestrial mammals.

Before starting my Master’s with Jeff Bowman in September and joining his project on Canada lynx and bobcats in northern Ontario, I worked for him over the summer as an assistant wildlife biologist with the MNRF. This gave me a chance to dip my toe into several different projects (including bat surveys, muskrat surveys, live-trapping of flying squirrels, and vegetation sampling) and hone new skills.

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Research

In response to anthropogenic and natural environmental drivers, many species worldwide are experiencing changes to their distribution ranges. The Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) has undergone a contraction of its historic range throughout North America, by approximately 40%. Possible causes of this loss of range include climate change, habitat loss and/or fragmentation, changes in forest management techniques, and competition with other predators, especially the closely-related bobcat (Lynx rufus). In recent decades, the bobcat’s range has been expanding northward into areas formerly and currently occupied by lynx.

My research aims to address fine-scale habitat selection by lynx and bobcats in northern Ontario, in order to determine how the bobcat may be limited as it expands its range and to assess the interactions between the two species. Through snow-tracking and placing GPS collars on lynx and bobcats on the north shore of Lake Huron, I am investigating the land-cover types, snow conditions, and prey species that the two species select within their home ranges. Understanding the resource use of these two species is important for informing conservation and management of the Canada lynx, a species that is threatened in the contiguous US and is a valuable natural resource.

 

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Adult male lynx (March 2017)                  Juvenile female bobcat (March 2017)

Note: These animals were anesthetized and handled for research purposes and the photos were taken as I was returning them to cages for release. Taking the photos did not lengthen handling time or cause them additional stress.

 

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Canada lynx tracks (March 2017)                      Bobcat tracks (Feb 2017)

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Education and Experience

Education:

 

M.Sc. (2016-present)

Environmental and Life Sciences Graduate Program

Trent University, Peterborough, ON

Supervised by Jeff Bowman (OMNRF) and Marie-Josee Fortin (U of T)

 

Honours B.Sc. in Biology (2012-2016)

McGill University, Montreal, QC

Supervised by Virginie Millien

 

Work Experience:

 

Graduate Teaching Assistant (2016-present)

Biology Department

Trent University, Peterborough, ON

Course title: Introductory Ecology

 

Assistant Wildlife Biologist (2016)

Wildlife Research and Monitoring Section

Science and Research Branch

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Peterborough, ON

 

Research Assistant (2015)

Department of Geography, Environment, and Planning

Concordia University, Montreal, QC

 

Research Assistant (2013-2014)

Redpath Museum

McGill University, Montreal, QC

 

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Tick-proof (2014)                                                     At the peak of Kilimanjaro (2015)

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Transporting an American marten (2015)                            Muskrat survey (2016)

 

Panel 3

Contact

Please fill out this form if you’d like to get in touch with me, or send me an email at samanthamorin@trentu.ca