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COSEWIC Annual Report - 2006

Appendix IV - Biosketches

Co-chair, Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK) Subcommittee

Henry Lickers has been the co-chair of the COSEWIC ATK Subcommittee since its inception in 2003.

He is a member of Seneca Nation, Turtle Clan. He has been the director of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Department of the Environment for the past 28 years.

Mr. Lickers grew up on the Six Nations reserve and studied biology at Trent University and the Waikato University, New Zealand.

He represents Akwesasne in a number of partnerships with other organizations and governments. He served as a member of the Panel on the Ecological Integrity of Canada's National Parks and is a member of the board of directors of the Algonquin to Adirondacks Conservation Association. Both are examples of working with representatives from Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and others to better protect natural ecosystems.

During this time, he has been the principal investigator on the Effect on Aboriginals in the Great Lakes Environment (EAGLE) Project and the Naturalized Knowledge Systems Project and the First Nation's Community Health Indicators Project. All of these projects involve investigating First Nations Environmental issues.

In 2005 Mr. Lickers received the Eco-Hero Community Award from Planet in Focus, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the use of film and video as catalysts for public awareness, discussion, and appropriate action on the ecological and social health of the planet.

In 2006 he was presented with the Ross Silversides Award by the Eastern Ontario Model Forest group, an organization which promotes sustainable forestry across the region and partners with other groups in projects which meet that mandate.

He also received the Jean Woodsworth Award from the Canadian Pensioner Concerned Inc. (CPC) for his dedication to community and the environment. CPC is a non-profit organization that gives voice to elders and their concerns.

Some of Mr. Lickers' other commitments have been:

  • Member of the Science and Technology Advisory Council to Environment Canada.
  • Scientific Co-Chair,The Haudenosaunee Environmental Taskforce.
  • Vice President, Board of Directors, St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences.
  • Member, Board of Directors, Eastern Ontario Model Forest.
  • Scientific Co-Chair, The Assembly of First Nations Environment Committee.
  • Past Board Member of the International Joint Commission, Science Advisory Board.
  • Past Member of the Panel on Ecological Integrity of Canada's National Parks.
  • Past Member, The Scientific Advisory Committee, Northern River Basin Study.
  • Past Board Member, Canadian Environmental Assessment Research Council.

Co-chair - Amphibians & Reptiles Specialist Subcommittee

Recommendation – Dr. Ronald J. Brooks

Dr. Ronald J. Brooks is the current co-chair the Amphibians & Reptiles Specialist Subcommittee of COSEWIC and is a Professor of Zoology at the University of Guelph. Dr. Brooks has held the Amphibians & Reptiles Specialist Subcommittee co-chair position on COSEWIC since 1995 and according to his CV has also been a member of a plethora of working groups on COSEWIC. He was the president of the Canadian Association of Herpetologists from 1996 to 2002 and has served as a member of the Board of Directors, Canadian Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Network since 1997. He has also been a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission – Tortoises and Turtles since 1996. Dr. Brooks is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Endangered Species Recovery Team of World Wildlife Canada and serves on the recovery teams for Blue Racer, Wood Turtle, Eastern Fox Snake, Eastern Hog-nosed Snake, Queensnake, Eastern Spiny Softshell and OMSTARRT (Ontario Multispecies Turtles at Risk Recovery Team).

Dr. Brooks has published about 120 articles in scientific journals including a recently-submitted article entitled “Male biting behavior during the spring courtship of painted turtles, Chrysemys picta.” His research on reptiles now covers all eight of Canada's extant freshwater turtles with some projects extending back to the 1970s. In addition, Dr. Brook's students have worked on several species of snakes, including the blue racer, eastern fox snake, brown snake, Lake Erie watersnake and eastern hognosed snake. These studies have focused on life history, ecology, demography, conservation and embryonic development, sex determination and hatching success. Dr. Brooks is also knowledgeable beyond the herpetological realm; he has published papers on leeches, earthworms, fish, mites, dipteran flies, lemmings, voles, deer mice, wolves, caribou and beaver, and is the director of the longest-running (55 years) monitoring study of small mammals in North America or perhaps the world.

Dr. Brooks recently received the Blue Racer Conservation Award from the Canadian Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Network.

Co-chair - Arthropods Specialist Subcommittee

Recommendation – Dr. Laurence Packer

Dr. Laurence Packer is a full professor in the Department of Biology, Faculty of Pure and Applied Science, at York University in Toronto. He has been at York since 1988. Prior to that, he was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary (1987-88) and an Assistant Professor of Biology at the University College of Cape Breton (1986-87). He received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1986.

Dr. Packer is a prolific researcher with over 80 primary publications, many of them in high impact journals, on the biology, systematics, behaviour, conservation genetics and biodiversity of insects, mainly bees. He is a recognized expert on bees who has obtained numerous research grants. He is a member of the editorial board for three journals, including the Canadian Journal of Zoology. He has supervised 11 Masters and Ph.D. students and served on the supervisory committees for over 20 others. He has taught undergraduate courses in entomology, biodiversity, systematics and evolution and graduate courses in ecology, entomology, phylogenetics and the biology of bees. Dr Packer is not currently a member of the Arthropods SSC and his familiarity with COSEWIC and SARA is somewhat limited. However, he has worked on the insects of oak savanna and tallgrass prairie habitats in Ontario, wrote the COSEWIC status report on the Frosted Elfin butterfly and a status report on the Karner Blue butterfly for the World Wildlife Fund and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and is a member of the Karner Blue recovery team.

Dr. Packer has extensive experience serving on major committees both within and outside the University, including search committees for new faculty members, the departmental chair and NSERC review panels. He currently chairs the tenure and promotion committee for the Biology Department at York University. Four people with whom he has worked on committees were unanimous in their praise of his ability to work constructively within a consensus-based decision-making process. He was described as fair, organized and hardworking, and as someone with good interpersonal skills who is articulate, listens well, has a good sense of humour and “gets the job done.” He appears to be a very upbeat person who is keen to take on the job of Co-Chair of the Arthropods SC of COSEWIC.

Co-chair - Birds Specialist Subcommittee

Recommendation – Dr. Marty Leonard

Dr. Marty Leonard is the current Co-Chair of the Birds Specialist Subcommittee of COSEWIC and lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she is a full Professor at Dalhousie University. Dr. Leonard earned her B.Sc. at the University of Guelph, her M.Sc. at Carleton University and her Ph.D. at the University of Ottawa in 1987. She conducted post-docs at Queen's University and at the University of Cambridge and has also been a Research Fellow in Australia. In 2003, Dr. Leonard won an Alumni Association award for excellence in teaching at Dalhousie.

Dr. Leonard is widely published with over 60 authored and co-authored publications in the primary literature (and books) on subjects ranging from birds in yerba mate plantations in Paraguay to tree swallows; to polar pears; to wrens, penguins and blackbirds; to terns; to chickens, bats and penguins; and back to tree swallows again. Her current interests revolve around the effects of noise on parent-offspring communication, conservation of endangered birds, the function and design of avian begging signals and the role of error in the evolution of animal signals.

Dr. Leonard has a good knowledge of the biology and conservation of birds, including endangered species, and especially of birds in Eastern Canada.

She has been Co-chair of the the Birds Specialist Subcommittee of COSEWIC since 2003, is a member of the Nova Scotia Species at Risk Working Group, which also uses COSEWIC criteria, and has served on the Scientific Advisory Committee of World Wildlife Fund, and serves on the national and Nova Scotia Roseate Tern Recovery Teams.

Dr. Leonard has reviewed numerous articles, grant applications, reports and theses over her 25 year academic career, and is currently an associate editor for two journals. Her experience on COSEWIC, the Nova Scotia Species at Risk Working Group and the Roseate Tern Recovery Team has shown that she has a good ability to work in a consensus-based decision-making environment.

Co-chair - Molluscs Specialist Subcommittee

Recommendation – Mr. Robert Forsyth

Robert Forsyth's formal education is in graphic design. Over the past 15 years, he has built an impressive knowledge base on the systematics and ecology of terrestrial molluscs, as well as freshwater and marine species, through his work as a volunteer and research associate with the Royal British Columbia Museum. Mr. Forsyth has an impressive publication record. In addition to his recently published book entitled Land Snails of British Columbia, he has published 13 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He has also co-authored COSEWIC species status reports on the warty jumping-slug, dromedary jumping-slug, Oregon forestsnail and Puget Oregonian.

Robert Forsyth has a broad knowledge of Canadian molluscs, specializing in particular on terrestrial species. He has been a member of the Molluscs SSC since 2001 and has co-authored several COSEWIC status reports. This has given him a foundation in species assessment and in formulating recommendations with respect to biological status.

As an Species Specialist Subcommittee member, Mr. Forsyth has been a strong contributor as well as a good team player. He has experience in reviewing and editing COSEWIC status reports. He also has experience as a referee for manuscripts submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Non-government Science Member

Recommendation: Dr. Jeannette Whitton

Dr. Jeannette Whitton is an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia (Department of Botany). She earned a B.Sc. at McGill University and a Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut for her work on the systematics and evolution of North American Crepis agamic complex. Following this, Dr. Whitton completed a Post-Doc at Indiana University. Her current work focuses on evolutionary biology and conservation genetics, working primarily with vascular plants (e.g. Lasthenia, Calycadenia, Helianthus, Crepis, and Towsendia). She has broad experience in population biology and systematics, and her work often involves her in allied disciplines (e.g. ecology and ecophysiology). In addition to her laboratory work, Dr. Whitton has field botany experience on the Gaspe Peninsula, the Rocky Mountains, and the Pacific Coast.

Since 1996, Dr. Whitton has contributed 10 papers in peer-reviewed journals, four chapters in books, and was Co-editor of the book Plant Adaptation: Molecular Genetics and Evolution. She has supervised or co-supervised seven graduate students, and sat on a number of graduate advisory committees on a range of taxa, including vascular plants, fish and birds. Dr. Whitton is the Director and Curator of Vascular Plants at the UBC Herbarium, and is on the building steering committee for a new natural history museum at UBC. She is also a member of the Streambank Lupine Recovery Team and gave a talk during a mini-symposium organized for Parks representatives on genetic issues around plant restoration.