Shannon began her Master of Science grad studies with the Department of Renewable Resources in September, 2003, supervised by Schmiegelow and Hudson. Shannon is currently involved with the “North Columbia Mountains Caribou Project” based out of Revelstoke, British Columbia. Her main contribution to this project is to examine the role of wolf predation and moose on the decline of local mountain caribou populations. Mountain caribou within the Southern Mountains National Ecological Area, British Columbia, are declining in response to a number of factors such as habitat alteration, largely due to forest harvesting and road building that has altered the predator-prey dynamics of the ecosystem.
Shannon built multi-species logistic regression models to contrast habitat selection between wolves, caribou and moose in five seasons. This research will identify critical time periods, habitat factors and areas of overlap that may represent high predation risk to caribou. In addition to this, she is building a model of wolf diet based on the stable isotope analysis of wolf hair from a number of wolf packs in the north Columbia Mountains to attempt to quantify the impact of spatial overlap. These types of detailed spatial and temporal analysis can be used as effective tools to better focus on mountain caribou recovery efforts into forest harvest planning and wildlife management decisions.
Shannon’s involvement with the many different aspects of biology has provided her with new insights into the complexity of the interactions between species, their environment, and the needs of local communities. In addition, her graduate work has given her the rare opportunity not only to develop and implement her own study, but also to realize its implications for wildlife management and endangered species recovery planning. She enjoys communicating science and research results to the public in the form of workshops and slide presentations, an aspect of science that is often overlooked. Shannon is looking forward to applying the skills she has acquired in grad school to projects conducted at a local and international level in the areas of conservation biology and wildlife management.
The article originally appeared in the Winter 2007 edition of the Landmark Newsletter. Shannon successfully passed her MSc exam in June 2008.
Added: 18 October 2010