Chantel E. Markle

Chantel E. Markle
McMaster University | McMaster · School of Earth Environment & Society

Doctor of Philosophy

About

28
Publications
3,819
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192
Citations
Introduction
My research aims to understand the effects of environmental change (e.g. climate change, wildfire, anthropogenic development) on the resilience and vulnerability of threatened species and their habitat to support evidence-based decision making for wildlife conservation and management. I use field, lab, and remote sensing/GIS techniques to create synergies among the fields of ecology and ecohydrology to tackle multi-scale, complex conservation challenges.

Publications

Publications (28)
Article
Full-text available
Mapping suitable habitat for a species at risk is one of the first steps in a conservation plan. Creating habitat suitability maps can be very challenging when the area of interest is large and located in remote areas where field excursions can be difficult to implement. Such is the case for the Blanding’s turtle, a threatened species in Ontario, t...
Article
Full-text available
We used a multi-rotor (Phantom 2 Vision+, DJI) and a fixed-wing (eBee, senseFly) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to acquire high-spatial-resolution composite photos of an impounded freshwater marsh during late summer in 2014 and 2015. Dominant type and percent cover of three vegetation classes (submerged aquatic, floating or emergent vegetation) were...
Article
A key step in generating effective recovery strategies for species at risk is to identify habitat used under a variety of geographic settings. In part attributable to habitat loss and degradation, the Blanding's turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) is considered at risk across most of its range. Because little information for this species exists for the m...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to uniquely identify individuals is critical to estimating and monitoring trends in population sizes, one of the key metrics used to evaluate a species' conservation status and success of mitigation strategies. For freshwater turtles, shell notching and/or passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags are commonly used to mark individuals....
Article
Full-text available
Understanding thermal and moisture regimes in nesting habitat is an important step in management and restoration of at-risk turtle habitat because anthropogenic stressors that affect these key properties impact hatch success. In rock barrens landscapes, freshwater turtles are known to nest in unique shallow-soil deposits in depressions in the bedro...
Article
Lichens and mosses are among the first organisms to colonize the open bedrock of eastern Georgian Bay, Ontario making them essential for primary soil formation and ecosystem succession, while also providing nesting habitat for turtle species‐at‐risk. However, the slow growing nature of lichen and moss makes them vulnerable to ecohydrological stress...
Article
The eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus) relies on small-scale differences in peatland surface elevation to survive harsh overwintering conditions at the northern limit of its range. We characterized the spatial heterogeneity of surface topography in peatlands within the eastern Georgian Bay rock barrens landscape of Ontario, Canada...
Article
Full-text available
Peatlands typically act as carbon sinks, however, increasing wildfire severity and annual area burned may challenge this carbon sink status. Whilst most peat resistance to wildfire and drought research is based on deep peatlands that rarely lose their water table below the peat profile, shallow peatlands and peat deposits may be most vulnerable to...
Article
Natural wildfire regimes are important for ecosystem succession but can have negative ecological effects depending on fire characteristics. A portion of a granite rock barrens landscape that extends along the eastern shoreline of Georgian Bay, Lake Huron to eastern Ontario, Canada, burned in 2018 during a wildfire that affected >11,000 ha. This lan...
Article
Identifying ecosystems resilient to climate and land-use changes is recognized as essential for conservation strategies. However, wetland ecosystems may respond differently to stressors depending on their successional state and the strength of ecohydrological feedbacks resulting in fluctuations in habitat availability and suitability. Long-term hab...
Article
Full-text available
The suitability of overwintering habitat in response to temporal fluctuations in winter temperatures and water table position, and variability in timing and intensity of snowfall and rainfall is critical to informing management strategies for climate-sensitive species such as the Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus). Important subte...
Article
Road networks threaten biodiversity and particularly herpetofauna, including common snapping turtles ( Chelydra serpentina), which have an especially slow life history that prevents rapid recovery of populations subjected to road mortality. Cootes Drive is a 2.5-km 4-lane highway that bisects wetland habitat used for nesting and overwintering by sn...
Article
Full-text available
Roads are one of the most widespread human‐caused habitat modifications that can increase wildlife mortality rates and alter behavior. Roads can act as barriers with variable permeability to movement and can increase distances wildlife travel to access habitats. Movement is energetically costly, and avoidance of roads could therefore impact an anim...
Article
In central Ontario, Canadian Shield rock barrens are a dominant geographic feature supporting at‐risk reptiles near their northern range limit. To better understand the characteristics of the organic soil which make Canadian Shield rock barrens suitable turtle nesting habitat, we measured moisture retention, evaporative potential, and calculated th...
Article
In many jurisdictions, rare species and their habitats can receive protection if species are assessed as being at risk of declining. The assessment process requires data on habitat occupancy as well as identification of threats to a species critical habitat, both of which are difficult to obtain when the species occurs across large spatial scales....
Article
Full-text available
At the northern limit of the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake’s (Sistrurus catenatus (Rafinesque, 1818)) range, individuals spend up to half the year overwintering. In hummock hibernacula found in peatlands, it is likely that subsurface temperature and water table position are contributing factors dictating habitat suitability. As a step towards asse...
Article
European common reed (Phragmites australis; common reed) is an aggressive invader of North American wetlands that forms homogenous patches and replaces native flora. Dense patches of common reed generally provide poor habitat for many species, although specific effects on at-risk turtles are largely unknown. We created 3 predictive scenarios to rel...
Article
Full-text available
Point Pelee National Park, located at the southern-most tip of Canada’s mainland, historically supported a large number of herpetofauna species; however, despite nearly a century of protection, six snake and five amphibian species have disappeared, and remaining species-at-risk populations are thought to be in decline. We hypothesized that long-ter...
Data
Landscape composition in hectares in Point Pelee National Park from 1931 to 2015. Habitat types are presented according to the greatest amount of change between 1931 and 2015. The quality of the 1990 image prevented classification beyond the marsh community class and therefore we have no data (nd) for ecosites/vegetation types. (DOCX)
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Phragmites australis (European common reed), is a relatively recent invader of wetlands and beaches in Ontario. It can establish large homogenous stands within wetlands and disperse widely throughout the landscape by wind and vehicular traffic. A first step in managing this invasive species includes accurate mapping and quantification of its distri...
Thesis
In Ontario, 7 of the 8 native species of freshwater turtles are listed as at-risk. Protection of species-at-risk requires delineation and identification of their critical habitat to enable the proposal of conservation strategies. Because of pre-existing development and limited resources for conservation, it is difficult to protect land required for...
Article
One of the deadliest roads in North America for species at risk fragments a marsh-lake ecosystem. To reduce road mortality, stakeholders installed >5 km of exclusion fencing along a southwestern Ontario, Canada, causeway in 2008–2009. Between 2012 and 2014, 7 culverts were installed to provide safe crossings. We evaluated the success of these mitig...
Article
Habitat restoration is a necessary strategy to protect populations of Blanding’s Turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) living in settled areas. Relatively little is known about thermal tolerances and requirements of this species in situ during the overwintering period, except that these turtles must find water bodies that do not freeze completely and that...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
With recent advances in technology, personal aerial imagery acquired with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has transformed the way ecologists can map seasonal changes in wetland habitat. Here, we use a multi-rotor (consumer quad-copter, the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+) UAV to acquire a high-resolution (< 8 cm) composite photo of a coastal wetland in summe...

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