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Who


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Who


Come on in, meet the team, meet the birds, and learn a little bit more about who we are! 


 
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Meet the Team


Meet the Team


The High Arctic Gull Research Group team is constantly growing. Beyond a core group of full-time members, we are constantly taking advantage of opportunities to join forces with talented researchers from government agencies, universities, conservation groups and industry. We all share a passion for the Arctic and for birds. Learn more about us below.

Dr. Mark Mallory is a Canada Research Chair on Coastal Wetland Ecosystems, based at Acadia University in Nova Scotia.  He has been studying High Arctic gulls since 2000, and was the lead on building the Nasaruvaalik Island research station.  His work has been highly collaborative with most of the rest of the HAGRG members, investigating issues of breeding phenology, reproductive success, annual survival, movements and key habitat sites, and contaminants in many of these birds.

Dr. Iain Stenhouse is a Senior Science Director at the Biodiversity Research Institute. He has been studying Arctic gulls since 1998, when he began his doctoral research focused on the behaviour and ecology of Sabine’s Gulls breeding on Southampton Island. He completed post-doctoral studies on the conservation and management of Ivory Gulls in 2004. More recently, Iain collaborated with Danish researcher, Dr. Carsten Egevang, to track Sabine’s Gulls and Arctic Terns from a breeding colony in Northeast Greenland to their wintering grounds in the southern hemisphere.

Tim Sailor cut his teeth at Nasaruvaalik Island where he was invovled with a number of projects looking at the general biology of High Arctic gulls (Ross's and Sabine's), as well as common eiders. He is currently pursuing a B.Sc. at Waterloo University. 

Dr. Birgit Braune is a Research Scientist with Environment Canada whose primary interest is in environmental contaminants in the Arctic marine environment, and how those contaminants may affect seabirds, including High Arctic gulls. She has been involved with ongoing studies of birds at Seymour, Nasaruvaalik, and Prince Leopold Island.

Dana Kellett  is a Wildlife Technician with Environment Canada based in Saskatoon.  She has worked with Dr. Ray Alisauskas in the Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary since 1994 on the population and reproductive ecology of geese and sea ducks, and more recently, on the impacts of overabundant lesser snow and Ross's geese on arctic habitats and sympatric avian and small mammal communities.  She was fortunate to visit Nasaruvaalik Island in 2014, and looks forward to future collaboration with HAGRG.

The one, the only, Johnny Hughes, AKA The Looprechaun. Canadian Coast Guard Search and Rescue specialist, RHIOT master,  founding member of the the world-renown Broken Group, and so much more. He might not know too much about gulls, but in big ways and small, Johnny is always there for us, and we are there for him.

Shanti Davis has been working in the Arctic for a decade, during which time she's been involved with numerous studies focused on the biology and ecology of birds. She studied tundra nesting seaducks in NWT while doing her B.Sc. at the University of Victoria, and then directed her attention to unravelling the life history and migration patterns of Sabine's gulls on Nasaruvaalik Island for her M.Sc. at Memorial University. 

Autumn-Lynn Harrison is a Research Scientist with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and Program Manager of the Migratory Connectivity Project. She holds a Ph.D. from University of California, Santa Cruz with a focus on the ecology and conservation of migratory marine predators of the North Pacific. Together with many collaborators, she uses modern technology to contribute to an understanding of the full-life-cycle of understudied Arctic species.

Isabeau Pratte has spent the last three years studying birds that breed in the Arctic, especially seabirds and seaducks, notably at Nasaruvaalik Island and Prince Leopold Island. After a B.Sc. at the Université du Québec à Rimouski in 2012, she is working on an M.Sc. at Acadia University. Part of her research examines the interaction between common eiders and arctic terns that breed at Nasaruvaalik Island. "The Arctic  is a phenomenal region, always changing, never the same... It is a great opportunity to be able work in this area"

Brian Uher-Koch is a Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center specializing in Arctic waterbirds.  He completed an M.Sc. at Simon Fraser University studying the non-breeding ecology of sea ducks and its implications for conservation and management. His other research interests include population biology, demography, and community ecology.  His current work focuses on the responses of Arctic birds to a changing climate and the nesting ecology of a variety of species including yellow-billed loons and emperor geese in Alaska.

Nora Spencer has a B.Sc from Dalhousie University and a M.Sc. in Biology from Acadia University. She began working with passerines and transitioned to seabird conservation for her graduate work. Her master's thesis investigated the annual movements and critical winter habitat of the endangered ivory gull (Pagophila eburnea) in the Canadian High Arctic.  Nora's research interests include examining the spatial ecology and behaviour of animals in relation to their conservation.

Carina Gjerdrum is a biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment Canada based out of Nova Scotia.  She coordinates the Pelagic Seabird Monitoring and Conservation Program for Atlantic Canada, which uses ships of opportunity to survey birds at sea.  Since 2007, she has been working with partners to put observers on vessels in the Arctic, collecting data to identify areas where seabirds may be at risk to human activities, and to monitor the impacts of climate change in the marine environment.

Mark Maftei has been studying birds in the Arctic since 2004, and focused on avian ecology during his B.Sc. at the University of Toronto and his M.Sc. at Memorial University. His main interests include migration biology and the ecology of Arctic breeding species. He has worked all over the circumpolar Arctic, but returns to Nasaruvaalik Island each summer to continue research on the diverse community of nesting species. He is a leading expert on Ross's gulls. 

Hailing from Hall Beach (Sanirajak) Jason Akearok started his career as a Seabird Technician with the Canadian Wildlife Service in Iqaluit,  completed an M.Sc. at the University of Victoria, returned to the CWS as a Habitat Biologist, and now works for the Nunavut Wildlife Managment Board overseeing wildlife research in the territory. He has collaborated extensively conducting research on a variety of Arctic birds.

Hailing from Hall Beach (Sanirajak) Jason Akearok started his career as a Seabird Technician with the Canadian Wildlife Service in Iqaluit,  completed an M.Sc. at the University of Victoria, returned to the CWS as a Habitat Biologist, and now works for the Nunavut Wildlife Managment Board overseeing wildlife research in the territory. He has collaborated extensively conducting research on a variety of Arctic birds.

Callie graduated from Michigan State University in 2011 with a B.Sc. in Wildlife Biology and Management. She began working with birds as an undergraduate student and continues to today as a contract biologist. Her work studying birds has taken her to Wyoming, Minnesota, South Carolina, Idaho, Hawaii, South Dakota, Arizona, Madagascar, and multiple times to the Alaskan Arctic. 

Fabrice Genevois  studied ornithology at L’Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Paris) and did most of his research on the behavioural ecology of subantarcic petrels in the context of sexual selection.  He is also involved in field studies with French Museum of Natural History and also works as a lecturer on expedition ships in the polar regions.

Sarah Wong has been working with marine wildlife for nearly twenty years. Since 2007, she has been a  seabird observer for the Canadian Wildlife Service, conducting surveys offshore of Canada’s east coast and high Arctic. She is currently a W. Garfield Weston Postdoctoral Fellow for Northern Research at Acadia University, working with Mark Mallory and other collaborators at Canadian Wildlife Service and  Institute of Ocean Sciences, to identify factors driving marine hotspots for seabirds in the North America Arctic.

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Meet the Birds


Meet the Birds


Ross's gulls are among the rarest and least known species of seabirds. Much of what we know about these mysterious birds today is thanks to the efforts of the High Arctic Gull Research Group over the last six years. Ross's gulls are listed as Threatened in Canada, and our work has focused on establishing the range and extent of Canadian breeding populations in order to develop effective protection and conservation measures for this species. 

Ross's gulls are among the rarest and least known species of seabirds. Much of what we know about these mysterious birds today is thanks to the efforts of the High Arctic Gull Research Group over the last six years. Ross's gulls are listed as Threatened in Canada, and our work has focused on establishing the range and extent of Canadian breeding populations in order to develop effective protection and conservation measures for this species. 

Don't let the gentle disposition and fluffy softness of the common eider fool you...these birds are tougher than a coffin nail. They breed across the barren rocky tundra of the Arctic, and then winter in the freezing waters of the northern oceans. A steadily growing colony on Nasaruvaalik Island has prompted a detailed study of the factors affecting population dynamics of this species at the northernmost extent of its range.

Don't let the gentle disposition and fluffy softness of the common eider fool you...these birds are tougher than a coffin nail. They breed across the barren rocky tundra of the Arctic, and then winter in the freezing waters of the northern oceans. A steadily growing colony on Nasaruvaalik Island has prompted a detailed study of the factors affecting population dynamics of this species at the northernmost extent of its range.

Arctic terns are the focus of a long-term monitoring project on Nasaruvaalik Island since 2007. These amazing birds migrate up to 90,000 km annually between their breeding grounds in the north and their wintering areas near Antarctica. Working with terns requires an iron will and protective headgear, as entire colonies band together to mob predators and scientists alike, dive-bombing their target with deadly accuracy (and the bird version of glee). 

Classy yet obnoxious, beautiful yet scrappy, Sabine's gulls are the life of the party wherever they show up. They breed across a circumpolar range,but have only been studied in a few places before. The nesting population on Nasaruvaalik Island is one of the only marked populations in the world, and the migration routes of Pacific wintering birds was determined by tracking individuals from this isolated colony.

Classy yet obnoxious, beautiful yet scrappy, Sabine's gulls are the life of the party wherever they show up. They breed across a circumpolar range,but have only been studied in a few places before. The nesting population on Nasaruvaalik Island is one of the only marked populations in the world, and the migration routes of Pacific wintering birds was determined by tracking individuals from this isolated colony.

Hands down one of the most beautiful birds in the world, long-tailed ducks winter by the tens of thousands on the Great Lakes (notably Lake Ontario), as well both ocean coasts of Canada. They breed across the Arctic, but few make it a far north as northern Nunavut. A small population breeds on Nasaruvaalik Island, and has been the focus of a pilot tracking study to learn more about the migration routes of this species.

Black-legged kittiwakes nest in huge colonies throughout the circumpolar Arctic. Useful as indicators of the marine ecosystem at large, they are one of the most well-studied species in the north. They are one of the most annoying yet lovable birds out there, and while behavioural observations of some species are akin to watching paint dry, an afternoon spent next to a nesting ledge of kittiwakes is more like watching a high-octane Mexican soap opera

A true High Arctic icon, ivory gulls make their home in some of the most inhospitable regions of the world. Unique among gulls, they feed near the very top of the food chain, often scavenging polar bear kills to survive through the winter. Recent precipitous declines in Canadian populations have prompted this species to be listed as Endangered, but the causes responsible for these trends remain uncertain. 

Parasitic jaegers are, scientifically speaking, totally awesome. They float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. Spending most of their lives far out at sea where they harass other birds and pretty much do whatever they want, these charismatic predators switch habitats and nest in both High and Low Arctic tundra, where they also do pretty much whatever they want. Working with a (very) small population on Nasaruvaalik Island, we have only just begun to learn more about how and where these remarkable birds disperse to their pelagic wintering areas.