Scientists and post-docs
Undergraduates & Research Technicians
Jacqui Sunderland-Groves joined the Department of Forest Resources Management in April 2018 as a Research Scientist. Holding an MPhil. in Conservation Biology from the University of Sussex, Jacqui has worked in West-Central Africa and Asia since 1995, specializing in great ape ecology and conservation related research, reintroduction and management of complex conservation programs. A significant part of Jacqui’s research has focused on the distribution, ecology and conservation of Cross River gorillas in Cameroon, where she established a long-term research and conservation project. More recently her work extended to Indonesia and the reintroduction of over 330 wild Bornean orangutans in Kalimantan. Her research interests focus on great ape conservation challenges and seeking lasting solutions to abate those.
Deborah (Debbie) Jenkins is a postdoctoral research fellow in the WildCo Lab since October 2022; she earned her PhD at Trent University, ON, Canada, where she studied the response of Arctic caribou and muskoxen to a changing environment. Debbie is passionate about ecology and the conservation of biodiversity. She has a keen interest in species distributions, patterns of genetic diversity and population structure, and the ecological and functional connectivity of species – all to inform the conservation of wildlife and their habitat. Debbie’s WildCo research uses circuit theory, GIS, camera trap and citizen science observations to evaluate the influence of natural and anthropogenic features on carnivore connectivity in southwestern British Columbia. The aim is to model and map fine scale, multispecies, carnivore connectivity for conservation.
Laura Griffin is a postdoctoral research fellow working with the WildCo Lab and with the Foothills Research Institute (fRI) since April 2023. She has a PhD in Wildlife Ecology from University College Dublin (Ireland). Her PhD research focused on unravelling the effects of recreational human-wildlife feeding interactions on targeted wildlife, using deer in urban parklands as her model species, as well as testing management actions aiming to reduce these impacts. Laura is interested in exploring and mitigating factors which impact natural behaviours in wildlife. She has previously worked on several projects studying the impacts of human activities on wildlife behaviour, physiology, and welfare in Ireland, the UK, Greece, and South Africa. She is currently working on a collaborative project, designed by fRI’s Dr. Laura Finnegan, analysing large mammals’ responses to forest stands impacted both by Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) and associated MPB management by foresters. The overall goal of this project is to use these findings to inform dynamic forestry management actions in the face of MPB spread and therefore reduce the associated impacts on wildlife.
Taz started her PhD in 2020. Her research seeks to understand the extent of bottom-up and top-down effects of forest harvesting and natural disturbances on the rapidly declining Itcha Ilgachuz caribou herd. Taz completed her M.Sc. in Wildlife Ecology at the University of Manitoba, and earned her B.Sc. in Biology from McGill University. Prior to joining WildCo she worked with Panthera conducting camera trap surveys for Critically Endangered Indochinese leopards in remote Cambodia. She has also worked as a Data Analyst on several projects on radio-collared black-backed and golden jackals for the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (University of Oxford), and with the migratory landbird monitoring program in Alberta oil sands for the Canadian Wildlife Service.
Erin Tattersall originally joined the WildCo Lab as a MSc student in January 2017 and returned as a PhD student in May 2022. Her PhD work focuses on developing a long-term biodiversity monitoring program in the Northwest Territories in collaboration with the Canadian Wildlife Service and the Government of the Northwest Territories. Erin’s research interests include multi-species modelling, community responses to landscape change, and quantifying ecological resilience. Prior to her PhD, Erin researched caribou recovery and large mammal responses to anthropogenic disturbances in northern Alberta, and also worked as a Wildlife Information Specialist for the BC government’s Caribou Recovery Program. Erin lives in on Sinixt territory near Nelson, BC.
Within the last few years there has been a shift in the species of marten found in North America. Martes caurina, the Pacific Marten, has been re-elevated to species level. With Martes americana, the American Marten, there are now two species of marten on the continent. I want to find out what is going on where they meet in British Columbia. I am a MSc student that joined the WildCO Lab in September 2019 and also Curatorial Assistant of Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. I am using museum specimens and recently obtained trapped animals to determine the differences between the species. Through a combination of classical linear measurements and 3D photogrammetry techniques, I am analyzing the cranio-morphological differences and using genetics to dig into what is happening where these two small carnivores meet in BC.
Katie started her MSc in the WildCo Lab in September 2021, after previously completing her undergraduate honours thesis in the lab and working as a research technician on various projects in the lab. Her masters research uses camera traps to investigate interspecies interactions in the large mammal community of the Chilcotin Plateau in west-central BC. She will be evaluating disturbance-mediated apparent competition as a driver of population decline for the Itcha-Ilgachuz caribou herd, where forest harvesting and forest fires provide enhanced forage for moose and mule, allowing predator populations to increase, ultimately causing increased predation on the caribou. She is also evaluating potential impacts of a large feral horse population in the area and whether they may be competing with and negatively effecting native ungulates, particularly moose.
Madeleine started her MSc with WildCo in September 2021. Her research focuses on the use of non-invasive stress hormone analysis and camera traps to examine human impact on mountain goats in Banff and Yoho National Parks. She is working in collaboration with Parks Canada with the aim of informing mountain goat conservation and management decisions within the Mountain National Parks. Madeleine graduated from the University of Victoria in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science. Before joining WildCo, she worked for Parks Canada conducting ecological monitoring. This included amphibian occupancy monitoring, forest and alpine bird acoustic monitoring, maintaining a large wildlife camera trap network, and reporting on the ecological integrity of the parks.
Ali joined WildCo in June 2023. Her Master’s research focuses on recreation ecology in Mount Robson Provincial Park, as well as Joffre Lakes and Garibaldi Provincial Parks. Through her research in collaboration with BC Parks, she aims to use camera trap surveys during and after major trail closures to better understand how recreational activities impact wildlife communities. The goal of this research is to inform effective Protected Area management and conservation decisions in order to facilitate coexistence in shared landscapes. Prior to WildCo, she worked in insect ecology and Andean bear conservation research, and as a BC Parks Student Ranger in Mount Robson.
Zoe is a fourth-year student in the Natural Resource Conservation program and joined WildCo in September of 2021 as an undergraduate research assistant. She is currently assisting PhD candidate Tazarve Gharajehdaghipoor and MSc student Katie Tjaden-McClement with camera trap image processing and field work for the camera grid network throughout the Chilcotin Plateau and Itcha Ilgachuz Provincial Park. Prior to joining the lab, Zoe worked with US Fish and Wildlife as a Biological Technician focusing primarily on assessing disturbed and degraded Greater-Sage Grouse habitat within the Sheldon-Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. She is interested in disturbance ecology and how adaptive management can help support BC’s beautiful forests and wildlife in a climatically uncertain future.
Mathew Appelbaum joined the WildCo lab in September of 2023 as a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Natural Resources Conservation program. He is primarily focused on camera tagging for MSc students Ali Dimitriou and Madeleine Wrazej. Before joining WildCo, Mathew worked as an undergraduate research assistant in John Richardson’s lab and as a summer student for a community forest in British Columbia’s southern interior. Mathew is passionate about wildlife conservation and is determined to pursue a career in this field.
Jade joined WildCo in September 2023 as a fourth year student in Natural Resources Conservation. As an undergraduate research assistant, she’s assisting PhD candidate Tazarve Gharajehdaghipoor and MSc student Katie Tjaden-McClement with the processing of camera trap data collected from the Chilcotin Plateau and Itcha Ilgachuz Provincial Park regions. With a previous business degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland, she hopes to use her unique combination of education to mitigate the effects of anthropogenic disturbances and habitat degradation on wildlife populations.