CSEE 2017, Victoria (BC), By Catherine Sirois-Delisle

Publié le mercredi 24 mai 2017

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CSEE 2017 is a conference held by the Canadian Society of Ecology and Evolution, a non-profit organization that includes practicing ecologists and evolutionary biologists. This year, the meeting was held in the beautiful city of Victoria, British Columbia. Symposiums, workshops, and poster presentations took place downtown, at the Victoria Conference Centre and at the Royal BC Museum. It involved almost 700 delegates, including professors and students from all over Canada. My attendance at this meeting allowed me to present my research to other delegates, for which I asked: Are there potential hotspots for the conservation of bumblebee species under different climate change scenarios? I discussed the potential changes in climatically suitable areas of 31 North American bumblebee species in year 2050, and practical conservation methods including in situ landscape management and managed relocation for declining species. The picture below was taken during a coffee break, where a constant and very loud buzz indicated continuous but excited conversations among delegates.

A field trip was organized to visit Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites. This site is home to a Garry oak ecosystem, a vulnerable ecosystem found exclusively in BC. Less than 5% of the historical extent of this ecosystem type currently remains. Main threats include habitat loss and fragmentation, disturbances of the natural fire regime, and the establishment of invasive species. Restoration efforts by Parks Canada involve research initiatives, education programs and the ongoing recovery of indigenous plants. Invasive species are monitored and removed, while native species are reestablished on the site to recreate typical Garry oak ecosystem landscapes. We witnessed the hand pollination of the Golden paintbrush [Castilleja levisecta], a species listed as endangered under Schedule 1 of the Species At Risk Act.

The field trip also involved a visit to the Haliburton Community Organic Farm, where local and small-scale sustainable organic agriculture takes place. All workers on the farm are volunteers from the community. They practice sustainable food production while restoring native ecosystems and the biodiversity of their land. Plant diversity is central to their farming practices, but they work towards increasing pollinator diversity simultaneously. They also conduct agroecology education programs for small-scale organic farming.

I would like to thank my supervisor Jeremy Kerr, the Office of the Vice-Provost, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, and the Institute of the Environment for funding this opportunity.

Catherine

Catherine Sirois-Delisle

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