Atlantic Cooperative Wildlife Ecology Research Network, or ACWERN is no longer operational. It was a
small government-university research partnership.
Established in 1994, ACWERN brought together Environment Canada’s
Wildlife Service with three universities in Atlantic Canada to
provide the critical mass needed to work on applied research
questions in wildlife conservation.
partnership included research chairs at:
of New Brunswick (Dr. Tony Diamond),
Memorial University of
Acadia University (Dr. Phil Taylor).
addressed research questions in a range of areas of wildlife ecology,
with a focus on migratory birds and species at risk. Example research
- quantifying impacts of marine oil pollution on seabirds of Atlantic Canada,
- modelling causes of population declines of endangered Piping Plover,
- assessing and mitigating risks presented by wind turbines to migrating landbirds,
- understanding impacts of forest harvesting on songbirds in New Brunswick and western Newfoundland,
- assessing impacts of changing climate and ocean temperatures on seabird populations in Labrador and the Bay of Fundy,
- minimizing impacts of tour boat disturbance on colonial seabirds,
- identifying essential foraging habitats for migrating shorebirds in the Bay of Fundy, and
- quantifying impacts of low-flying jets on threatened Harlequin Ducks.
|The ACWERN Mission
Our central mission was to enhance
understanding of wildlife ecology in Atlantic Region ecosystems.
We focused mainly on the relationship between human activities and
ecological patterns and processes with the goal of relating research results to real problems in
biodiversity conservation. The university-based scientists' research programs
were linked with the more applied
research objectives of the Canadian Wildlife Service and other
ACWERN’s 2004 Strategic Plan
identified ways to implement the mission. In doing so, it focused
on the following goals:
• to enhance understanding of wildlife in Atlantic ecosystems,
• to apply scientific research to priority conservation and management issues, and
• to provide applied educational opportunities for students.
Universities and CWS
The ACWERN research chairs were tenured members of university faculty
who supervised graduate and honours students, conducted their own
research, and taught a limited range of senior-level courses. ACWERN
chairs were influential scientists in the field of wildlife ecology involved in a
variety of ecological, conservation and academic organizations. They were linked to CWS through a range of collaborative
projects involving many different CWS researchers, most of whom had
adjunct status at partner universities.
CWS and other research partners such as Parks Canada and provincial
wildlife agencies benefited considerably from ACWERN’s help in
addressing priority wildlife research questions. This included access
to high-quality student support, peer review in the design of research
projects, interaction with students through lectures and thesis
supervision, and opportunities to up-grade specific scientific skills.
ACWERN had an annual operating budget that first exceeded $1M in
2004-05. CWS’s annual contribution of $200K mainly provided research
funding and student stipends. It was supplemented by university
contributions of about $300K in chair salaries and benefits, and $150K
in student and research support. About $650K in support for specific
research projects came from partners in the industrial sector,
non-government conservation organisations, and other government and
received guidance from a management board of two representatives from CWS, two senior
representatives and one graduate student from each university. The board mets twice a year to review
programs, approve work plans and budgets, and provide support to the