Plenary Speakers

“Braiding Indigenous and Western Knowledge Systems in Environmental Science in a Good Way” – May 13 @ 9:45am ET

Dr. Jesse Popp is an emerging scholar, Chair in Indigenous Environmental Science and Assistant Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph, and member of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, and strives to promote inclusive science that embraces multiple ways of knowing while on her journey of learning and sharing. Her research and teaching weaves Indigenous and Western ways of knowing to contribute to the advancement of environmental and ecological science. Dr. Popp recognizes that the number of declining species across the globe are increasing, jeopardizing ecological and cultural integrity. Dr. Popp’s interdisciplinary research uses a two-eyed seeing approach to investigate the causes and consequences of wildlife population fluctuations in ecosystems and to Indigenous people’s ways of life, contributing to conservation, sustainability, and the progression of the natural sciences in the spirit of reconciliation. You can find out more about Dr. Popp’s work here.

“The Ecology of Fear” – May 13 @ 2:15pm ET

Dr. Liana Zanette works on fear; fear of predators, and the impact it has in nature. She has worked on a variety of wildlife, from birds to lions, in many ecosystems in Canada and abroad including the USA, South Africa, Eswatini, Uganda and Germany. Dr. Zanette and her lab have revealed that fear is a powerful force that can affect wildlife populations and stabilize (or de-stabilize) ecosystems. Her work has appeared on radio, television and in print, including Quirks and Quarks on CBC, NewsHour on the BBC WorldService, the Nature of Things, PBS NOVA, The Atlantic, Washington Post, The Guardian. Dr. Zanette is a Professor in the Biology Department at Western University where she teaches Conservation Biology and Population Ecology.  She was a Killam PostDoctoral Fellow at UBC, after receiving her PhD from the University of New England in Australia, her MSc from Queen’s and BSc from the University of Toronto. You can find out more about Dr. Zanette’s work here.

May 14 @ 9:45am ET

Dr. Jake Veasey is a behavioural ecologist specializing in the interface between animal welfare science and conservation biology with a particular interest in species at risk of extinction in the wild and prone to welfare challenges in captivity. He has an undergraduate degree from the University of London in Zoology, a Masters Degree in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare Science from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in Behavioural Ecology from the University of Glasgow. Dr. Veasey has advised governments and NGOs across four continents on species conservation and animal welfare policy and management. He has two decades of executive leadership experience running some of the biggest wildlife facilities in Europe and North America and regularly consults to zoos and sanctuaries on strategy, business development and conservation and animal welfare programming, producing development plans for some of the biggest and fastest growing wildlife based visitor attractions around the world. Most recently, he has developed methodolgies to objectively assess welfare priorities for captive animals. You can find out more about Dr. Veasey’s work here.

“Behavior is a Motor and Brake for Evolution” – May 14 @ 2:45pm ET

Dr. Martha Muñoz is Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University. Her research focuses on conceptually and empirically synthesizing pattern and process in evolution. To uncover the mechanisms that cause evolution to accelerate or stall, she investigates how animals currently interact with their environments, and how those interactions scale up to repeatable patterns across deep evolutionary time. She then applies her discoveries to major contemporary issues like global climate change and bioinspired engineering. Prior to joining Yale, she served for two years as an Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech. Prior to joining Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, she conducted postdoctoral research at Duke University and at the Australian National University and was a William J. Fulbright research fellow at the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2014, and her B.A. from Boston University in 2007. You can find out more about Dr. Muñoz’s work here.