Welcome to the C19-Wild Research Group website. We are a group of ecologists and other scientists studying impacts of COVID-19 related travel restrictions on wildlife.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented impacts on human social behaviour. Air and ground traffic has been dramatically altered as a result of travel restrictions imposed on communities world-wide. This may have impacts on many species of wildlife, including mammals, resident and migratory birds, and many species at risk. Our research group brings together ecological scientists from across the world who are studying these impacts on wildlife.
Juan Pablo Medina
Our objectives are to:
Understand impacts of COVID-19 related travel restrictions on wildlife,
Provide a virtual venue to bring together research teams from across the world,
Share knowledge, ideas, and data sources to optimize the quality of scientific research conducted,
Maximize complementarity among different research projects,
Minimize duplication of research efforts.
Travel restrictions may have both positive and negative impacts on wildlife. Reduced anthropogenic noise and traffic may decrease traffic mortality and acoustic masking of vocal communications (songs and calls), which may benefit some species. Conversely, some species may actually respond negatively to decreased traffic, often because noise and traffic mediate complex interactions among prey, predators, and competitors of focal species. For example, decreased traffic may lead to increased abundance and activity of introduced mammals such as rats and domestic cats; as these introduced species are responsible for declines of many bird and reptile species, their increased abundance or activity may negatively impact native species. To understand the impacts of traffic and associated disturbances, such as air and noise pollution, we must monitor the wildlife that may be impacted by them. This will help us understand impacts of traffic on wildlife, while also alerting us to population responses that require management intervention.
University of Manitoba, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Carleton University, University of Alberta, Arizona State University
We are studying impacts of COVID-19-related travel restrictions on birds across the continental USA and Canada, using data collected through eBird from 2017-2020. We are particularly interested in impacts of changes in ground-level and near-ground traffic in the vicinities of airports and major roads. We will be working with collaborators to evaluate whether observed impacts on birds are due to traffic mortality, noise, pollution, exotic species (cats, rats), or other changes to urban wildlife communities. We are using eBird data and other large national and international data sets, supplemented by some local empirical field studies, to evaluate these impacts.
Technical committee: Drs. Nicola Koper, Michael Schrimpf, Lenore Fahrig, Barry Robinson, Nancy Mahoney, and Adam Smith. Mr. Paulson Des Brisay.
University of Washington
PhD student Olivia Sanderfoot has initiated a citizen-science based project in the Pacific North-West region of the USA to understand impacts of COVID-19 related environmental changes on birds. Community members will collect observations of birds in their backyards in 2020 and 2021 to compare impacted and non-impacted years. This research group will place a particular focus on impacts of air pollutants on bird communities.
For more information on this project, please see https://ebird.org/pnw/news/impact-of-social-distancing-on-bird-activity. For more information on Dr. Gardner’s research program, please see http://depts.washington.edu/sefsqel/.
Personnel: Dr. Beth Gardner and Ms. Olivia Sanderfoot oliviavs"at"uw.edu
Jessica Sanchez Jasso
Urban Wildlife Information Network
The Urban Wildlife Information Network (UWIN) is a global network collecting urban wildlife data. This team is coordinating data analyses (mostly from camera trap studies) across North American cities to understand impacts of COVID 19 travel and transportation restrictions on urban wildlife.
Juan Pablo Medina
University of British Columbia
UBC is coordinating an international study using camera traps and other measures of animal mobility to evaluate impacts of COVID-19-related travel changes, including human activities within protected areas, on mammals.
Team lead: Dr. Cole Burton, cole.burton"at"ubc.ca
Florida Gulf Coast University
Florida Gulf Coast University (www.fgcu.edu) is a young institution in Fort Myers, Florida, founded in 1997. This campus in the southwest, subtropical part of the state is situated within a context of upland forests, cypress swamps and restored wetlands. Accordingly it is common to see wildlife on campus including alligators, wading birds, various turtles and snakes, boar, deer, black bears, and even panthers.
Immediately after covid-19 pushed classes to a remote learning mode in mid-March 2020, the FGCU “naturalist” community began to notice changes in the abundance of wildlife observations on campus. During Spring and Summer 2020, a team of FGCU ecology and biology faculty and students will assess how the cessation of in-person classes is impacting wildlife movements on our campus. Activities include:
Movement cameras and audio recorders
Surveys to measure species abundances and rates of wildlife encounters, including comparisons with prior years
“Bioblitz” surveys as part of student service learning
Indices of human activity will be derived from campus traffic camera data and rates of nearby aircraft landings
Contact: Dr. Kara Lefevre klefevre"at"fgcu.edu
Juan Pablo Medina
PAN-Environment is an international project including researchers from dozens of research institutions world-wide who have come together to understand impacts of COVID-19-related travel and transportation changes on wildlife in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. C19-Wild is proud to be a member of this international research team.
For more information, contact Dr. Amanda Bates at Memorial University, Newfoundland. Abates"at"mun.ca.
Universities of British Columbia & Montana
Dr. Clayton Lamb is interested in seeking collaborators to work with a large telemetry dataset for grizzly bear (56 animals, 40K relocations) and elk (78 animals, 80K relocations), in Canada’s Rocky Mountains, collected before (2015-2019) and during COVID-19 travel restrictions (April 2020 onwards). The area may show very interesting changes following implementation of travel restrictions, as it features a major highway, 4 small cities, resource development, and wilderness.
The grizzly data are available on Movebank ().
Contact: Postdoctoral Researcher | Liber Ero Fellow Universities of British Columbia & Montana
Residing in Fernie, BC | Ktunaxa Nation Territory, ctlamb"at"ualberta.ca
Jessica Sanchez Jasso
University of Manitoba: Dr. Nicola Koper (Director, C19-Wild). https://koperlab.wixsite.com/koperlab. Nicola.koper"at"umanitoba.ca
Dr. Michael Schrimpf. . michael.schrimpf"at"gmail.com
Environment and Climate Change Canada: Drs. Barry Robinson, barry.robinson"at"Canada.ca; Nancy Mahony, nancy.mahony"at" canada.ca; and Adam Smith. Mr. Paulson Des Brisay, Paulson.DesBrisay"at"canada.ca
Carleton University: Dr. Lenore Fahrig. https://carleton.ca/fahriglab/. LenoreFahrig"at"Cunet.Carleton.Ca
University of Washington: Dr. Beth Gardner bg43"at"uw.edu and Ms. Olivia Sanderfoot oliviavs"at"uw.edu
Ms. Emily Williams, Avian Biologist, Alaska. ffyngau "at" gmail.com
Dr. Dan Bert, Landscape Ecologist, Ottawa, ON
Dalhousie University, Dr. Andy Horn, Behavioural Ecologist
Dalhousie University, Dr. David Barclay, oceanographer: dbarclay"at"dal.ca
Research areas: underwater noise, sound propagation, and acoustical oceanography.
PAN-Environment; a world-wide project to understand impacts of COVID-19 related travel and transportation changes on wildlife. For more information, contact Dr. Amanda Bates at Memorial University, Newfoundland. Abates"at"mun.ca
Dr. Miya Warrington (UK Lead), Behavioural Ecologist, Oxfordshire, UK. miya"at"animal-acoustics.com
Urban Wildlife Information Network (UWIN) (Contact – Cria Kay): UWIN"at"lpzoo.org
Dr. Jesse Lewis, Arizona State University. jslewi10“at”asu.edu
Lots of people are interested in how COVID-19 has influenced the natural world around us. Here are a few examples of news articles that have featured our research efforts so far:
May 22, 2020. https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/life/greenpage/u-of-m-biologist-links-global-scientists-tracking-where-the-wild-things-are-during-pandemic-570707622.html Winnipeg Free Press.
May 22, 2020. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, people are paying more attention to tweets. And not the Twitter kind. The Washington Post.
May 18, 2020. You could be the citizen scientist the world needs right now. Crosscut.
April 9, 2020. Community science project tracks changes in bird behavior during coronavirus. UW College of the Environment Newsroom.
April 9, 2020. A New Study Aims to Learn the Impacts of Social Distancing on Birds in the Pacific Northwest. The Portland Monthly.
April 3, 2020. Trapped at home? You can help UW study bird responses to social distancing. KUOW.
Jessica Sanchez Jasso
For more information on C19-Wild, you can contact us:
Nicola Koper (Director)
Natural Resources Institute
University of Manitoba
317 Sinnott Bldg.
70 Dysart Rd., Winnipeg, MB