Environment and Conservation
December 27, 2007
Valuable Research Conducted in Provincial Parks and Reserves
A total of 27 scientific research permits were issued in 2007 to conduct scientific research and monitoring in provincial parks and wilderness and ecological reserves. The permits authorized individuals to examine an array of topics including lichen, caribou, climate change and rare plants.
"Research activities taking place in our parks and reserves are essential to the effective management of conservation areas in our province," said the Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister of Environment and Conservation. The minister added that protected areas are extremely important, long-term study sites for research on climate change and species at risk.
Newfoundland and Labrador is renowned for its spectacular seabird colonies, and much of this year’s research focused on seabirds. Martha Fischer, a researcher from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York, collected sound recordings of seabirds found in the Witless Bay and Cape St. Mary’s Ecological reserves. These recordings will be added to the world’s largest archive of audio recordings of birds.
Bill Montevecchi, a professor at Memorial University, has been attaching geo-loggers to breeding gannets on the cliffs of Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve for the past few years. Data from geo-loggers can provide important information on seabird movements and wintering locations. Data gathered from a tagged gannet showed the gannet crossed the Atlantic Ocean in three days late in October 2005 and spent the winter off the coast of West Africa. In April 2006, the same bird moved north to southwest Ireland and crossed back to Newfoundland waters in three days.
Lichens were also a popular study topic with a total of four permits issued to research the lichen species, particularly the boreal felt lichen (Erioderma pedicellatum).
The International Tuckerman Workshop was held this year in Newfoundland and Labrador. The week-long workshop brought together world-class professional and advanced amateur lichenologists to further the study of eastern North American lichens. Approximately 35 lichenologists from the American Bryological and Lichenological Society and the British Lichen Society, as well as botanists and naturalists from Provincial Government departments and Memorial University visited several protected areas in September, including Hawke Hills Ecological Reserve and Butterpot and Cataracts Provincial Parks.
Dr. Luise Hermanutz and her students from Memorial University continue to monitor endangered plant species of the limestone barrens on the Northern Peninsula and rank the health of these populations. This work is needed to determine best management practices to protect and restore these plants that are not found elsewhere in the world. Species studied include long’s braya (Braya longii), fernald’s braya (Braya fernaldii) and barren’s willow (Salix jejuna).
Other research conducted included piping plover monitoring, habitat selection of coyotes, and causes of caribou mortality.
"The extent and variety of research conducted is very important and impressive, and our protected areas are increasingly becoming of interest to the international community," said Minister Johnson. "I support and encourage individuals to continue to explore and study wildlife and ecosystems within Newfoundland and Labrador’s 20 wilderness and ecological reserves and 32 provincial parks."
Permits to conduct scientific research or monitoring in provincial protected areas are required and can be obtained by contacting Jeri Graham, biologist, at 709-635-4529, or by visiting the Provincial Government web site at www.gov.nl.ca/parks.
List of Scientific Research in Parks and Reserve in 2007
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