Alex Walmsley

Undergraduate Thesis Student (2022-present)

Southern Ontario’s landscape is dominated by farmland and human development interspersed with small, remnant patches of secondary forest. These fragments are critical habitat for many species, particularly migratory birds that are not adapted to thrive in anthropogenic environments. Rapid expansion in this region’s many urban areas has dramatically altered the landscapes surrounding many of these remnant forests, potentially altering these ecosystems and the species they support.

I will be conducting a longitudinal study of nearctic migratory bird diversity and abundance at 40 sites across the greater Waterloo area, using data collected during the 2022 breeding season as well as a historical dataset collected by Karl Heide and other lab collaborators. These fragments have been sequentially surveyed with the same protocol since the late 1990’s, allowing us to track changes in assemblage over time. This data, along with detailed geospatial records of land use change over that period, will be used to determine the relationship between adjacent development and bird population health in a changing landscape. This research will inform conservation strategies and build on a growing body of work examining the effects anthropogenic stressors on wildlife.

I am currently pursuing a BSc. in Wildlife Biology and Conservation with a minor in Applied Geomatics.

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