CURRENT STUDENTS

We currently have many talented graduate students working on a variety of projects. Browse below to see profiles of current student.

Hannah Carey
MNRM
 Student

I will be examining adult and fledgling success and habitat selection in Baird’s sparrow and Chestnut-collared longspurs in southern Alberta. I will be using radio-telemetry in order to track and monitor individuals. This will contribute towards a better understanding of the effects of oil infrastructure on grassland songbirds. I completed my BSc. in Biology at Bishop’s University. 

Christopher De Ruyck
PhD Candidate

Thesis Title: Terrestrial Bird Species’ Phenology, Energetics, and Conservation on Grenada, Lesser Antilles.

I completed my Master’s research on Northern Saw-whet Owl migratory behavior and population dynamics in Manitoba with Dr. Nicola Koper at the U. of M. in 2009.  Since then I have worked as a field researcher for the RSPB (a UK-based NGO), primarily focussed on farmland bird conservation biology.

I began a Ph.D. program with Dr. Koper in 2017, using mist-netting and banding to study the moult and breeding phenology of terrestrial birds on the remarkable Caribbean island of Grenada.  I am interested in understanding the phenology and energetics of Grenadian birds to determine what the important drivers of adaptation and evolution are for this unique, but relatively, depauperate avifaunal community.  I am also interested in helping to establish educational resources for children, landowners, and policy-makers to expand knowledge of natural history and biodiversity conservation issues, and help improve the perceived value of biodiversity conservation within local agro-forestry and eco-tourism industries.

JP Medina
PhD Student
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I began a Ph.D. program with Dr. Koper in the fall of 2018. My thesis research will focus on the mechanisms that explain if oil wells and associated habitat fragmentation (e.g. noise and infrastructure) on grassland birds occur top-down mediated by the effects on the predator community of the prairie region of southern Alberta. I am also interested on the possible physiological effects of the oil wells, whether mediated by predators or not (e.g. health and stress).

Jessica Waldinger
MNRM Student

My research seeks to examine the potential adaptive strategies employed by Savannah Sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis) to increase signal transmission in environments inundated by oil and gas infrastructure noise in southern Alberta. I originally hail from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where I attended Temple University and received my BA in Environmental Studies, a minor in Biology and a certificate in GIS. Primarily my research interests are concerned with how birds exist and persist in built environments.

Marie-Ève Cyr
MNRM Student

My research project focuses on the effects of oil and gas infrastructure on extra-pair paternity and mate choice in Chestnut-collared longspurs (Calcarius ornatus) in the mixed-grass prairies of Southern Alberta. When I started my Masters in Natural Resources Management, I was awarded the University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship. I am originally from Montreal, Quebec and completed my Bachelor of Biological Sciences at the University of Montreal. My interests cover a wide range of subjects within the field of conservation biology, which I plan on exploring throughout my career.

Jennie Horvat
MNRM Student

The focus of my thesis research is on summarizing the impacts of conventional oil development in southern Alberta on threatened and endangered grassland songbirds in order to develop industry policy recommendations to mitigate these impacts. I have a Bachelor of Science majoring in Biological Science and minoring in Zoology, from University of Guelph 2012. My career aspirations are to one day work in provincial or federal government helping to develop environmental or natural resources policy.

Lee Sutcliffe
MNRM Student
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I received my B.Sc. honors degree in 2014 from the University of New Hampshire in Environmental Conservation Studies with a specialization in Wildlife Ecology and a minor in Psychology. Since graduating, I have been working on various grassland songbird projects across the United States and in Argentina, an interest that led me to the Koper Lab.  Here I intend to continue my studies in grassland passerines, specifically investigating the impacts of oil and gas well drilling on breeding behavior.

Kimberley Wetten
MNRM Student

My thesis research will focus on the genetic and morphological divergence of the Grenada House Wren from other House Wren populations. This will contribute to a better understanding of its taxonomic status. I completed my B.A. from Vancouver Island University in 2014 with a major in Sports Health and a minor in Ecology. Between my degrees, I worked mainly as a bird bander in western Canada and abroad.