Lab members

Brad FedyDr. Brad Fedy

Associate Professor, School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability

PhD: Department of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia
MSc: Department of Biology, York University
BES: Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo


Dr. Todd Cross (Postdoctoral Fellow)Todd Cross

I strive to conduct research that concurrently explores the evolutionary ecology of species and that results in the provision of data-driven research products and spatial tools relevant to the management of wildlife species of conservation concern. I am primarily focused on two areas of research in addition to several side projects. Firstly, I am fortunate to be involved in a large-scale conservation genetics project that aims to understand population structure and to identify landscape and environmental features critical to maintaining genetic connectivity for greater sage-grouse. We use cutting-edge genomic methods and robust genetic tools to gather information from thousands of birds sampled from leks across the species’ range. Our efforts are in close collaboration with state and federal agencies responsible for sage grouse management across the eleven western states within the species’ range. Together, we are tackling an unprecedentedly large study that is providing a comprehensive view of genetic population structure, patterns of diversity, and qualitative connectivity data. Secondly, for the last few years I’ve been working to identify critical habitat for two different woodpecker species of conservation concern. Lewis’s woodpecker, reliant upon post-wildfire habitat and the tree snags therein for foraging, nesting, and brood rearing. White-headed woodpecker, reliant upon in-tact forested landscapes. The landscapes that both species rely upon are actively managed. Standing snags are of timber value and may need removal for hazard mitigation, and forested landscapes that are part of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program. I leverage habitat selection models and occupancy models to determine critical habitat and to quantify the effects of management decisions on species occupancy, then create spatial tools from these models for use in decision support for natural resource managers. Website Google Scholar


Matt Dyson (PhD)Matt Dyson

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. e-mail:


Chris KirolChris Kirol (PhD)

I received my 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 macrohabitat scales, primarily in human-altered sagebrush landscapes. Specifically, my reseacrch explores how habitat quality—the ability of the environment to provide conditions suitable for individual and population persistence—is compromised by human features and activities, such as oil and gas development, and what can be changed to reduce the impacts of these activities. e-mail:


Kelly McLean (PhD)Kelly Maclean

As an outdoor enthusiast I am interested in using applied wildlife research to develop sustainable wildlife management strategies, specifically for game species. I completed my MSc at the University of New Brunswick, where I researched the effects of commercial forestry on the distribution of American black ducks. Prior to that I completed an honours BSc in Biology at Trent University. I am excited to combine sophisticated statistical modelling and spatial ecology techniques in my PhD research in the Fedy lab. For this project I will be analyzing movement data from sandhill cranes outfitted with GPS transmitters. Sandhill cranes were once close to extinction but have made a remarkable recovery and are re-occupying their historic range. Cranes often feed in agricultural areas, and the crane population growth has been associated with an increase in crop damage, particularly in agricultural areas along the edge of the Boreal forest in Ontario and Quebec. My research, in partnership with the Canadian Wildlife Service, will fill information gaps in crane habitat use and spatial ecology which will then be used to determine areas most susceptible to crop damage and develop mitigation strategies to minimize crop loss. e-mail:


Ryan Johnston (Master's)Ryan Johnstone

As an avid waterfowl hunter and passionate conservationist, it is my aspiration to devote my academic and professional career to contemporary waterfowl conservation. I started as a Fish and Wildlife student at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario. I then completed my honours BSc in Biology at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. Throughout my undergraduate career, I have worked in various capacities, expanding my skillset and solidifying my passion for waterfowl management. As a member of the Fedy Lab, I am eager to explore the modern applications of statistical modelling and apply them to waterfowl conservation initiatives. The western boreal forest is integral for North American waterfowl production. However, the increasing demand for its natural resources has resulted in an elevated anthropogenic presence, posing potential issue for breeding waterfowl on this landscape. My masters research will explore the effects of traditional natural resource development on breeding waterfowl in the boreal forest. I am certain that my passion and research, combined with the experience of the lab, will benefit North American waterfowl populations and inform wildlife managers for years to come.  e-mail:


Marie Racioppa (Master's)Marie Racioppa

My interest in wildlife conservation stems from a deep appreciation of nature and since a young age I have been particularly drawn to environmental injustices. I started to get involved in ecological research in my undergraduate degree, and I obtained a BSc Specialist in Environmental Biology at the University of Toronto in 2019. In my final semester, I traveled to the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Colorado and completed a research project to better understand the demographics of alpine bumble bees outside of their nests overnight. I am currently working towards an MES at the University of Waterloo in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability. For my thesis project I am interested in using techniques in spatial ecology to identify important habitat for the greater sage-grouse. The objective of this research is to better inform land managers who make decisions impacting sage-grouse habitat and the designation of priority areas. Beyond my current work, I hope to continue to be involved in wildlife conservation in my personal life and career. Outside of my research, I enjoy bouldering, I am an avid scuba diver (preferably in warm Caribbean water), and I have been a hobbyist beekeeper for the past two years.



Kayla Caruso (Undergraduate)Kayla Caruso

I am currently completing my undergraduate degree in Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo. During my undergraduate career, I developed a passion for wildlife conservation. I completed three co-op terms with the Canadian Wildlife Service working on shorebird conservation in Saskatchewan. The prairie pothole region of Saskatchewan provides important stopover and breeding habitat for many migratory shorebirds. Generally, shorebirds make use of large stable wetlands during migration and for breeding, but they also disperse across a broader front consisting of small, ephemeral prairie wetlands. Less research and monitoring have been conducted on shorebird use of small wetlands in the prairie pothole region. My undergraduate thesis, in partnership with the Canadian Wildlife Service, aims to fill some of these gaps by identifying priority habitat for shorebirds. The objective of this research is to better inform land management decisions in the prairie pothole region. e-mail:


Former lab members

Kris WiniarskiDr. Kris Winiarski

Postdoctoral Fellow: Landscape genetics and habitat selection. 2019


Dr. Jeffrey Row

Postdoctoral Fellow: Landscape genetics, demography, and habitat selection. 2018


Jeremy PittmanDr. Jeremy Pittman

Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellow: Conserving species at risk on Canada’s last remaining native grasslands. 2017


Natasha BarlowNatasha Barlow

Master's Thesis: Does landscape-scale habitat reclamation and the umbrella species concept work to conserve sagebrush songbirds? 2019


Marcus MaddalenaMarcus Maddalena

Master’s Thesis: Multi-scale patterns of Eastern milksnake (Lampropoeltis triangulum) habitat selection and behavioural responses to habiat fragmentation. 2018


Holly BookerHolly Booker

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 WatchornRyan Watchorn

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


Anushi DeSilvaAnushi DeSilva

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 TackDr. Jason Tack

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


Ken BurrellKen Burrell

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