Summary of Research Program at
Glynnis A Hood, University of Alberta,
Updated: January 18, 2011
Since May 2007, Dr. David Larson and Dr. Glynnis Hood from the University of Alberta’s Augustana campus have been sampling aquatic invertebrates, vegetation, and water quality to determine how beavers and varying types of land use (e.g., agriculture) affect biodiversity.
In turn these interactions can be used to assess a broader measure of landscape biodiversity and wetland function.
In addition to examining biological measures, such as aquatic invertebrates, amphibians and water birds, they have also been mapping the pond shapes and bathymetric features to see how microhabitats influence biodiversity.
Beavers are great engineers and many of their changes to the land and wetlands occur under the surface of the water.
Undergraduate involvement in their research program is critical and they have been very fortunate to have worked with several talented and innovative students.
These students have not only participated in the gathering of data, they have helped design and evaluate research projects from beginning to end.
Currently, one of Dr. Hood’s students is studying how coyote diet and coyote densities change from the habitats within Miquelon Lake Provincial Park to the agricultural areas elsewhere in the northern part of Camrose County.
This project will help us better understand the role of a mesopredator in an ever-changing landscape. Another student is examining how microhabitats created by beavers in Miquelon influence the distribution and abundance of amphibians and aquatic invertebrates.
One long-term goal of Dr. Hood’s research program is to use the abiotic and biotic measures from less disturbed and more productive wetlands to aid in the design and creation of constructed or rehabilitated wetlands.
Translating the most important features from functioning natural wetlands into design features of anthropogenic wetlands will improve conservation outcomes in an increasingly urbanized and industrialized landscape.
Ultimately the key is effectively conserving and maintaining existing natural wetlands and the biodiversity they support.
This research has aided in the development of a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Augustana Campus and Alberta Parks that helps maximize research opportunities between the two organizations and strongly supports Alberta Parks’ new Science Strategy.
Ultimately, the goal of the MOU is to facilitate research in east-central area parks and provide increased opportunities for students at Augustana to conduct rigorous field studies and gain valuable research skills.
You can find more information about Dr. Hood’s research program in the Miquelon area at: www.augustana.ualberta.ca/profs/ghood/students/