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Welcome to the Rooney Lab

The focus of our lab is on aquatic ecology, restoration ecology, and landscape ecology.  We look at the relationships between plants, invertebrates, and birds with their abiotic environment; both in terms of ecosystem properties and processes.  In particular, we focus on the response of these biotic communities and their environmental correlates to human disturbance. 

We are recruiting talented, bright, hard working, self-motivated students with solid communication skills.  If this describes you and you are interested in the type of research questions we address, please look at our Biology Department program requirements and contact Dr. Rooney: rrooney(at)

Right now, we have an opportunity open for a PhD. student interested in working with a comprehensive dataset on nearly 100 wetlands from Alberta, including bird, invertebrate and vegetation community data, as well as environmental covariates. This project affords the opportunity to publish extensively.  The successful applicant will have experience with multivariate analysis of community data in ecology. Experience with R software is a plus.

In addition, we are seeking a MSc. student to work with vegetation community data to develop biomonitoring tools for Albertan wetlands.  Experience with R software is a plus.

Word art depicting Dr. Rooney's research interests

  1. Sep. 14, 2017Wetland configuration is altered by landscape disturbance - new paper in Landscape Ecology

    In a new paper published in the journal Landscape Ecology, collaborators Ian Evans, Derek Robinson, and Rebecca Rooney examine over 1000 landscapes spanning a gradient in human disturbance to characterize how the configuration of wetland habitat is affected.  The paper, available freely at this link, provides a method for landscape-level habitat assessments and paves the road for the development of landscape performance indicators and suitable targets for large-scale reclamation projects.

  2. July 31, 2017Invertebrate bioindicators are too much work: new research from Rooney LabFigure 2 from the paper shows the overlap in community composition among wetlands in highly disturbed & reference landscapes

    New research published from the Rooney Lab highlights the weak relationship between aquatic macroinvertebrate community structure and surrounding land use in prairie pothole wetlands.  Macroinvertebrates are one of the most popular bioindicators used in freshwater ecosystems, but efforts to develop bioindicator tools with these taxa in wetlands has generated mixed results.  Recent Grad from the Rooney Lab, Jenny Gleason, suggests that the strong environmental filter of wetland hydroperiod (i.e. permanence class) may be responsible.

  3. July 26, 2017*New* Fully Funded PhD OpportunityHarmful algal blooms, beach fouling, and botulism are some of the management challenges in Lake Erie

    PhD Opportunity: Linking Land and Water - Modeling causes and consequences of nutrient loadings to Lake Erie with incomplete information.

    Exciting opportunity for a Ph.D. student to join the Lake Futures: Enhancing Adaptive Capacity and Resilience of Lakes and their Watersheds project, funded under the Global Water Futures.

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