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



Project Title

Andrus Voitk,

Humber Natural History Society

13 Provincial Parks Mushroom survey of Newfoundland
Anne Storey/Carolyn Walsh,

Memorial University

Witless Bay Ecological Reserve Behavioural ecology of alcid parental decisions
Anne Storey/Carolyn Walsh,

Memorial University

Witless Bay Ecological Reserve Parent-young interactions in Atlantic puffins under different foraging conditions
Bill Montevecchi,

Memorial University

Baccalieu Island, Cape St. Mary’s, Funk Island, Witless Bay Ecological Reserves Foraging, feeding and migratory ecology of Newfoundland seabirds
Brian Nakashima, Fisheries and Oceans Bellevue Beach Provincial Park Reserve Spawning, egg deposition, and recruitment of capelin-

Bellevue Beach, Trinity Bay

Claudia Hanel, Environment and Conservation Jipujikuei Kuespem Provincial Park Reserve Boreal felt lichen inventory and monitoring in the Bay D’Espoir region
David Fifield,

Memorial University

Witless Bay Ecological Reserve Winter ecology of Atlantic puffins: diet, distribution and movement
Frank Norman, Environment and Conservation Bay du Nord Wilderness Reserve Causes and rates of mortality of caribou calves of the Middle Ridge herd
Greg Robertson, Canadian Wildlife Service Gannet Islands Ecological Reserve Census of seabirds in the Gannet Islands Ecological Reserve 2007-2008
Greg Robertson, Canadian Wildlife Service Witless Bay Ecological Reserve At sea behaviour and assessing the risk of oiling to murres in the Northwest Atlantic
Greg Robertson, Canadian Wildlife Service Witless Bay, Funk Island, Gannet Islands Ecological Reserves Demographic studies of seabirds in Witless Bay Islands Ecological Reserve, with additional banding of murres at Funk and Gannet Islands
Greg Robertson, Canadian Wildlife Service Witless Bay, Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserves Censuses of selected seabirds in the Witless Bay Islands Ecological Reserve (ongoing) and Cape St. Mary’s (new)
Hubert Crummey, Natural Resources Butterpot, Lockston Path, Squires, Marine Drive, Jipujijkuei Kuespem, Pistolet Bay and Barachois Provincial Parks, Little Grand Lake Provisional, King George IV, Hare Bay Island Ecological Reserves Insect survey (forecast)
James Lendermer, Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia Burnt Cape, Watts Point, Pistolet Bay Provincial Parks Survey of lichens of the limestone barrens of northwestern Newfoundland
John Reynolds, Environment and Conservation Butterpot Provincial Park The effects of hunting on snowshoe hare abundance
Louise Hermanutz, Julie Robinson, Susan Squires, Memorial University Watts Point, Burnt Cape, Sandy Cove Ecological Reserve Restoration ecology of endangered plants on the limestone barrens
Mac Pitcher,

Salmonier Nature Park

Hawke Hills and Mistaken Point Ecological Reserves, Chance Cove and Cataracts Provincial Parks Lichen reconnaissance survey (pre-Tuckerman lichen workshop)
Martha Fischer, Cornell Lab of Ornithology Witless Bay and Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserves Recording the sounds of Newfoundland birds
Paul Harris,

Canadian Wildlife Service

J. T. Cheeseman, Codroy and Sandbanks Provincial Parks Piping plover recovery and monitoring program
Peter Thomas,

Canadian Wildlife Service

Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve Harlequin duck and purple sandpiper survey and Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve
Rob Otto, Dept of Environment and Conservation Bay du Nord Wilderness Reserve Spatio-temporal habitat selection patterns and the functional role of eastern coyotes in insular Newfoundland
Theresa Burg,

University of Lethbridge

Barachois, J. T. Cheeseman, Squires Memorial, and Pistolet Provincial Parks Evolution of high latitude forest birds
Tom Hutchinson,

Trent University

Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve A comparative study of the climate and soil factors causing the occurrence of tree-less oceanic barrens on the Avalon and Burin peninsulas
David Curtis,

Environment Canada

J. T. Cheeseman Provincial Park Marine water quality monitoring as part of the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program
Paul Harris,

Canadian Wildlife Service

Chance Cove and Codroy Valley Provincial Parks Atlantic Canada shorebird survey – Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter
Mac Pitcher,

Salmonier Nature Park

Hawke Hills Ecological Reserve, Cataracts and Butterpot Provincial Parks Tuckerman workshop survey
Paul Harris,

Canadian Wildlife Service

Chance Cove Provincial Park, Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve Newfoundland and Labrador purple sandpiper winter monitoring program

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Media contact:
Diane Hart
Director of Communications
Department of Environment and Conservation
709-729-2575, 685-4401

2007 12 27                                                      9:30 a.m.

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