Shannon Turvey

Department of Forest Sciences
3041-2424 Main Mall, UBC
Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z4
Position: M.Sc. Candidate

Study topics: Examining the role of downed wood in influencing congruent diversity patterns. 

Congruence can be defined as covariation in diversity patterns across different taxa. Demonstrating across-taxa congruence and furthering understanding of the mechanisms underlying congruence has great utility to understanding diversity patterns at varying scales. Furthermore, congruence has potential utility in indicator selection and conservation planning.

When a taxon utilizes a single habitat element for some aspect of their life history, diversity of that taxon may covary with availability of that habitat element. In the case where several groups of organisms use the same habitat element, diversity of one taxon may co-vary with diversity of the other taxa. This would constitute across-taxon congruence.

I plan to investigate the influence of a number of habitat variables on diversity and abundance of certain taxa (small mammals, amphibians, Carabid beetles, and plants) within riparian zones in the Pacific Northwest. In particular, I will explore the relationship between species diversity and downed wood availability. I will test the hypothesis that small mammal diversity, amphibian diversity, and Carabid beetle density are positively related at a stand scale due to a common dependence on downed wood as a functional resource. Exploring the linkages between downed wood and animal communities will inform riparian management decisions. In particular, demonstrating a dependence of community structure on downed wood availability will inform management decisions regarding the salvage of windthrown timber in riparian buffer zones.

Background and interests: Born and raised in Burnaby, I completed a B.Sc. Co-op degree in Biology and Chemistry at Simon Fraser University. Over the course of my degree, I worked in fields ranging from proteomics and cell biology to plant ecology and limnology. I was recently lucky enough to spend a summer working on arctic lakes and rivers in Canada’s Northwest Territories. I am an avid runner and my other interests include bird-watching, fly-fishing, gardening, and cooking.