Research Group: Environmental Processes & Natural Resources
The Foothills Research Institute's Grizzly Bear Program was created in 1999 to provide knowledge and planning tools to land and resource managers to ensure the long-term conservation of grizzly bears in Alberta. Key to its efforts are sound scientific field research, practical results, and a large-scale or "landscape level" approach toward grizzly bear conservation. Significant research findings for wildlife management and the development of important land management tools have been developed and include:
- New remote sensing procedures that produce habitat maps for large areas using satellite imagery;
- New resource selection function (RSF) models that combines the remote sensing based habitat maps and grizzly bear location data to identify where grizzly bears are most likely to be on the landscape;
- New models, using graph theory analysis, that identify grizzly bear movement corridors across the landscape;
- New techniques to monitor and assess grizzly bear health. Preliminary work has identified significant differences between two populations of grizzly bears in Alberta, in relation to reproductive health measures. We are now in the process of looking at grizzly bear health and possible links with landscape condition for all populations in Alberta.
- Advancement in the area of DNA grizzly bear census techniques to enhance the ability to monitor grizzly bear population status over time;
- New procedures and techniques for the capture and handling of grizzly bears for research and management purposes. These procedures are now being adopted as new leading edge standards for grizzly bear handling in Alberta and other jurisdictions in North America.
Geography faculty member Dr. Greg McDermid and his research team are long-time contributors to the Foothills Research Institute Grizzly Bear Research Program. Greg conducted his PhD research on the use of remote sensing for large-area habitat mapping within the project, and has since become a co-PI with the group. Several current and former members of McDermid's research lab - the Foothills Facility for Remote Sensing and GIScience - have contributed to this exciting program, and new opportunities exist. Please contact Dr. McDermid for more information.
Research Group Members