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Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellow at Carleton University

Project: Combining full annual cycle population models and conservation optimization to address population declines of migratory birds in Canada.
Primary mentor institutions: Carleton University (Dr. Joseph Bennett), Cornell Lab of Ornithology (Dr. Amanda Rodewald), Environment Canada (Dr. Scott Wilson), Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (Dr. Peter Marra), Boreal Songbird Initiative (Dr. Jeff Wells)

Summary: Alarming declines are currently underway in numerous migratory vertebrate populations, creating an urgent need to understand when and how these populations are limited. My goal for this fellowship is to help improve conservation efforts along the migratory cycle for a suite of bird species breeding in Canada. Specifically, my project will address three questions:

  • How abundant are migratory bird species in landscapes that have differing levels of anthropogenic disturbance in breeding and overwintering habitats?
  • What is the influence of alternative scenarios of habitat loss and protection over large geographic areas on the population trends of migratory species?
  • Which regions are the best candidates for habitat protection, with the goals of maximizing biodiversity protection and minimizing risk of conservation failure?

This project will dramatically advance the development and application of metapopulation models for migratory species over space and time. I will deliver strategic plans that optimize conservation strategies across entire ranges for migratory species and identify portfolios of sites critical to the global persistence of these species. The framework I will develop has great potential to facilitate better-informed and more cost-effective conservation programs, which in turn have a higher likelihood of implementation and success.

Previous post-doc (1 year): “Cross-boundary Planning for Resilience and Restoration of Endangered Oak Savannah and Coastal Douglas-fir Forest Ecosystems” partly funded by the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative.

For my PhD I investigated systematic conservation planning in human-dominated landscapes and developed novel techniques to maximize efficiency in biodiversity conservation via carbon sequestration and land management. This work provided guidelines to successfully fund conservation investments and highlighted their potential benefits and shortfalls.

Education:
2014 PhD, Conservation Biology (University of British Columbia, Canada)
2009 MSc, Zoology (University of Graz, Austria)
2006 BSc, Behaviour (University of Graz, Austria)
1997 Diploma, Engineering and Electronics (College of Electrical Engineering, Austria)

Mailing address:
4742 Straume Ave
Terrace, BC V8G 2C5

Email: mail [at] richard-schuster.com

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