Lab Members

Dr. Brad Fedy

Assistant Professor
Environment, Resources and Sustainability, University of Waterloo.

PhD – Department of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia.

MSc – Department of Biology, York University.

BES – Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo.

Twitter: @fedy_lab

Dr. Fedy Google Scholar Profile

Facilities website


Dr. Jeff Row (Postdoctoral Fellow)jeff

Over the last 20 years, our ability to use genetic insights to quantify within and between species diversity and understand the underlying mechanisms has greatly increased. This has been facilitated by an increase in computational power, availability of statistical techniques and our ability to genetically characterize individuals and populations. Broadly speaking, my current research interests lie in combining spatial, ecological and genetic techniques to quantify and understand the underpinnings of both neutral and adaptive diversity within and between closely related species. At the University of Waterloo, I will be working with Dr. Brad Fedy to understand the influences of landscape characteristics in driving genetic connectivity between populations of the Greater Sage-Grouse across Wyoming. This work will build on previous research, which has identified seasonal habitat use preferences for this species. Combined this work will contribute to our understanding of sage-grouse ecology and assist with identifying landscape features and regions important for maintaining stable and connected populations. (Website:

Dr. Jeremy Pittman (Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellow)

Balancing food production and biodiversity conservation is one of the most challenging, yet necessary, tasks facing humanity. We need to feed a growing global population, while minimizing our impacts to other species. Nowhere is this challenge more apparent than on the Canadian Prairies. Historically modified and persistently occupied by people, Canada’s prairies have been transformed from a vast expanse of continuous grass to a fragmented patchwork of native habitat. This transformation has placed many species at risk and made grasslands conservation a top priority; while at the same time the region has become globally important due to its agriculture sector and the hotbed of a rich rural identity. Any efforts to conserve Canada’s grasslands must acknowledge the hardworking people who earn their living from these landscapes. My postdoctoral research will contribute to such efforts. By employing an innovative and integrated set of tools from the natural and social sciences, I will examine – in a case study from southern Saskatchewan – how patterns of social relationships between people, ecological relationships across landscapes, and social-ecological relationships between people and their landscapes influence conservation outcomes. I will endeavour to identify not only the problems associated with the observed patterns of relationships, but also strategies to leverage these patterns that will enhance conservation and improve the wellbeing of rural people. I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of the Liber Ero program, and I look forward to contributing to grassland conservation in Canada.


Matt Dyson (PhD)dyson_square

My primary interests are waterfowl and wetlands. I completed my Master’s at Western University working with Long Point Waterfowl investigating survival and habitat use of wood ducks produced from nest boxes. I completed my honours BSc in Natural Resources Management at the University of Northern British Columbia. I am also generally interested in spatial ecology, and the application of GIS and statistical techniques, to better understand how animal movement and habit use influences fitness. My PhD research at the University of Waterloo is in partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada. The Western Boreal Forest (WBF) is considered the second most important breeding area for waterfowl in North America; however, changes in habitat caused by timber harvest, oil and gas exploration and extraction, mining, hydroelectric development, and recreation threaten carrying capacity. The goal of my research is to test a top-down hypothesis that landscape change in the WBF is increasing predation rates on waterfowl, because of range expansion of new predator species, increased success rates of native predators, or predator population increases in response to increased alternative prey. Based on my findings, we can then model predation rates at a landscape scale to help identify potential ecological sinks and better inform future conservation efforts in the WBF.


Chris Kirol (PhD)

kirol_squareI received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from another UW, the University of Wyoming, in 2000.  After working in a variety of capacities in wildlife research and management, I returned to the University of Wyoming and received a Master of Science in the Ecosystem Science and Managements Department in 2012.  My Master’s project focused primarily on predicting Greater Sage-grouse selection and fitness on a landscape scale in an area influenced by energy development and assessing microhabitat vegetation conditions that are most important to female Greater Sage-grouse during the reproductive period in xeric sagebrush habitats. My interests broadly lie in applied research informing science-based wildlife management and conservation planning. To-date my research has focused on the sagebrush-steppe ecosystem and sagebrush obligate avian species such as the sage-grouse. My research has explored sage-grouse habitat at microhabitat and microhabitat (landscape scales) and primarily in human-altered sagebrush landscapes. Specifically, how is habitat quality-the ability of the environment to provide conditions suitable for individual and population persistence compromised by human features and activities, such as oil and gas development, in the sagebrush ecosystems and what can be done better to reduce the impacts of these activates.


Marcus Maddalena (Master’s)

marcus_squareI am returning to the University of Waterloo to pursue a M.E.S, having also completed my B.E.S in the Department of Environment and Resource Studies. My research interests include habitat selection and use by a variety of wildlife populations, with the goal of developing effective management strategies. My undergraduate thesis compared two survey methods for white-tailed deer, and examined factors driving overwinter habitat selection by a Central Ontario population. I am currently working with Parks Canada and the Toronto Zoo to assess the population of Eastern Milksnakes, a species of special concern nationally, within the Greater Toronto Area. The project focuses on the Rouge Valley population of Milksnakes and their movement patterns. With the fragmented state of our urban green spaces, it is important to understand how Milksnakes move through these landscapes to implement effective management strategies. By identifying surrounding populations, we can then examine connectivity and the influence of potential disturbances on habitat selection.




Former Graduate Students

Holly Bookerholly
Master’s Thesis: The application of occupancy modelling to evaluate the determinants of distribution for jaguars Panthera onca, pumas Puma concolor, and valued prey species in a protected area. 2016



Ryan Watchorn
Master’s Thesis: Assessing the efficacy of fathead minnows for mosquito control in semiarid rangelands. 2016



Anushi DeSilvaAnushi
Master’s Thesis: A large-scale multi-seasonal habitat prioritization and an analysis of structural connectivity for the conservation of greater sage-grouse in Wyoming. 2015


Jason TackJason Fishing
Doctoral Thesis: Guiding conservation of golden eagle population in light of expanding renewable energy development: a demographic and habitat-based approach. 2015


Ken Burrell Burrell_Ken_FishPt_May2011
Master’s Thesis: The spring reverse migration of songbirds in the Pelee region: 2010-2012. 2013