Behavioural Ecology and Conservation

Web-page of Miya Warrington, Behavioural Ecologist

I am a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Manitoba with Prof. Jane Waterman on the amazing Cape ground squirrel system. I am also an adjunct professor at the Natural Resource Institute at the University of Manitoba). My main research project is in the South African veld, but I also have ongoing collaborations in Canada and Australia.

My research interests follow several main lines:

1) The evolution of sociality, including how social behaviours may be related to species resiliency to rapid environmental change.

2) Species response to changes in human activity and and the transition to a more sustainable society. In current times, as the environment rapidly changes and humans respond to the climate crisis with sustainable energy technologies (e.g. electric cars, wind farms), the need to rapidly assess the response of species is essential to acting quickly to mitigate negative effects of new technology use, which includes new technology and support structure, as well as changes in human activity.

3) Species response to climate change. There is overwhelming evidence that the ecology of animals are changing in response to human-induced climate change. Animals may respond to environmental changes with alterations in their physical, physiological and behavioural traits, and I am interesting in examining the different methods that animals use to cope (and adapt) to rapid environmental changes.

A little bit about me:

I received my B.Sc. in Biology specializing in Ecology and Environmental Sciences at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. I received my M.S. in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science from the University of Hawaii at Hilo in May 2008, and my Ph.D. (behavioral ecology) with the Avian Behavioural Ecology Group from Macquarie University in April 2014.

I am an expert in the evolution and ecology of animal behaviour with a focus on conservation biology and animal adaptations to environmental change. My research combines field-based mensurative and manipulative experiments with laboratory approaches (e.g. genetics) to explore the evolutionary and ecological drivers of cooperation, and behavioural response to impacts of natural environmental change, and human-induced disturbances (e.g. traffic, noise, and industrial activity) and climate change. I employ a wide variety of skills and tools including molecular/genetic approaches and the use of novel datalogging technology, resulting in new knowledge with high academic and management impact. I use an interdisciplinary approach to integrate diverse ideas across sub-disciplines such as behavioural ecology, genetics and physiology to gain novel insights into ecological and evolutionary theory, with the aims of using this new knowledge to develop effective conservation strategies. To achieve these goals, I draw from my wide international research network to develop collaborative teams consisting of people with diverse skills, expertise and perspectives to work together to solve the world’s most significant conservation problems.