Research

We collaborate with partners to achieve our research goals related to understanding the ecology and behaviour of rare and cryptic wildlife. Many of our research goals align with the recommendations, response statements and recovery strategies described by the provincial and federal government.

Massasauga Recovery Project

Massasauga’s live in an isolated and degraded bog ecosystem in south Niagara. Due to the dynamic hydrology of this wetland and depending on both weather and dam-removal activities by people, the snakes are experiencing inconsistent habitat quality over the past decade. We investigated the underground, overwintering habitat of these snakes over several seasons to determine areas of low- and high-quality habitat. Next steps include translocation of individuals into good-quality habitat. Click here to learn more about our Massasauga research!

Fowler's Toad Recovery Project

Fowler’s toads are endangered in Canada, only existing in three remnant populations along the Lake Erie shoreline. Niagara is home to several sub-populations of Fowler’s toads, but the level of human activity on beaches is the greatest compared to the other two populations (Long Point and Rondeau). We investigated the impact of habitat changes and human activity (cars and people) on the Fowler’s toads living at Nickel Beach in Port Colborne, Ontario.  Overall, due to recent high lake levels and increased erosion, viable breeding sites became limited causing reduced recruitment. This was a major factor contributing to the toad population decline during this time. Further monitoring of the population is needed to determine its long-term viability. 

Long Point is another heavily studied population of Fowler’s toads. For more information on the Long Point project Click here !

Gray Ratsnake and Eastern Foxsnake Recovery Project Project

Gray ratsnakes and Eastern foxsnakes in the Carolinian region, are listed as endangered in Ontario. We investigated the presence of these rare species across the Niagara, Hamilton and Haldimand regions via our Citizen Science Coverboard Project, and have been working to characterize their potential hibernation habitat such as caves and karst formations found along the Niagara Escarpment.

Blue Racer and Eastern Foxsnake Recovery Project

Blue Racers are endangered in Canada, and are only found on Peele Island in Lake Erie. We collaborate with our partners, NRSI, Ontario Nature, and Nature Conservancy Canada, on investigating, monitoring and restoring the communal hibernation habitat for snakes on Peele Island.