Team Profile: Shantel KoenigPh.D. Landscape Ecologist & GIS Specialist
Shantel started with Fiera in October of 2016, and brought highly valued capabilities in complex spatial modelling and statistical analysis. She came with a Masters in Geographic Information Systems, and completed her PhD a short while after settling in. Her graduate research focused on using Spatial Interaction Models (SIMS) to model metapopulations and analyze landscape connectivity. Since then, her experience creating Resource Selection Function (RSF) models for species at risk, processing and analyzing wildlife movement (telemetry) data, creating land cover classifications, and conducting habitat connectivity analysis using a variety of spatial modeling techniques has been invaluable. During her time with us she has published two peer reviewed research papers, one in the field of theoretical ecology, and another in the field of remote sensing, and contributed significantly to at least a dozen high profile technical reports. When Shantel isn’t in the office helping to make Fiera awesome, there is a good chance that she is riding a muddy bicycle somewhere really, really fast, playing electric base on a jazz or folk music album, or countering the stigma associated with having advanced statistical skills by posting images of her beloved cat, Ella.
This week, I heard my first robin of the season. That bubbly, cheery song, like nothing else, tells me that spring is here… and that more birds are on their way! I’m not sure which I’m most excited about. Yes, I’m one of those weird people who loves birds. Not that liking birds is weird, but the thing I look forward to most is conducting bird point count surveys, which involves waking up really, really early. That’s the weird part, I guess. Read more
What a great year 2016 was for Fiera Biological. We landed new clients, formed new working relationships, hired new talent, and ventured into new lines of business. Honestly, so much happened in 2016 that there is just too much to report in this blog, so we’re narrowing our focus to the top 5 highlights of 2016.
A lot of planning goes in to designing a North American City. Area Structure Plans that lay out specific land uses, transportation systems, population goals, provision of essential services and facilities, and considers things like expected population growth, and types and sources of employment often happen decades in advance of development.
At Fiera Biological, we know a lot about nature and wildlife. A lot of what we know we have learned through years of observation – not just in the course of wildlife consulting, but in our every day outdoor activities. At the coffee shop, for sure, some of us are people watchers, but once we are out of doors, we are all bird beholders, squirrel spyers, lily lookers, frog fixators, orchid oglers, and coyote casers. I don’t mean to brag, but from a hundred meters away, we can detect and properly identify species by sounds most people might not recognize as being from wildlife at all. Some of our wildlife consultants are expert trackers too; we can look at scuffmarks in the snow, and see the tell-tail sign of a least weasel passing by, or note that both a wolf and a coyote has passed by while stepping in the footprints of a boreal caribou. I know, impressive, right? We’re pretty up to date on our plants too. Grasses? Got’em covered. Mosses? … not a problem. Still there are things that we can’t do. For instance, we don’t have ultrasonic hearing, and that is a problem when one of our clients needs us to identify the species of bat occurring at a proposed development, or to determine if a particular bit of habitat is being utilized by bats.