Julia Shonfield

Julia Shonfield
LGL Limited

PhD

About

21
Publications
7,502
Reads
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329
Citations
Introduction
I'm a wildlife biologist interested in how human disturbance affects wildlife occurrence, distribution, and behaviour. I currently work on projects related to the conservation, recovery, and protection of species at risk. I specialize in bioacoustics and avian ecology with a focus on owl biology. I completed my PhD degree at the University of Alberta on the impacts of industrial disturbance on three species of owls in Northeastern Alberta: Barred owls, Great Horned owls, and Boreal owls.
Additional affiliations
October 2018 - present
LGL Limited
Position
  • Terrestrial ecologist
August 2018 - October 2018
University of Alberta
Position
  • Instructor
Description
  • Primary instructor for a field course in Kananaskis Alberta: Field Methods in Ecology (Biol 432)
May 2018 - August 2018
City of Edmonton
Position
  • Researcher
Description
  • Worked on a pilot project to monitor urban wildlife and connectivity, and assess wildlife passage use using remote wildlife cameras
Education
September 2013 - May 2018
University of Alberta
Field of study
  • Ecology
September 2008 - August 2010
University of Guelph
Field of study
  • Biology
September 2003 - April 2007
McGill University
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (21)
Article
Full-text available
Acoustic surveys are a widely used sampling tool in ecological research and monitoring. They are used to monitor populations and ecosystems and to study various aspects of animal behavior. Autonomous recording units (ARUs) can record sound in most environments and are increasingly used by researchers to conduct acoustic surveys for birds. In this r...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding what factors influence the occurrence and distribution across the landscape is necessary for species conservation and management. Distribution data for many owl species are inadequate because of their nocturnal behavior and cryptic nature. We examined the role of climate, land cover, and human disturbance in shaping spatial distributi...
Article
Full-text available
Owls can be difficult to detect due to their secretive behavior, typically low calling rate, and low density on the landscape. Low detection probability during surveys can result in an underestimation of the presence and abundance of a species. Thus, optimizing detection probability of surveys targeting owls is necessary to accurately address ecolo...
Preprint
Full-text available
Global change creates an urgent need to predict spatial responses of biota to support the conservation of sufficient habitat to maintain biodiversity. We present species distribution model theory and a synthesis of avian literature on approaches to collecting occurrence data, selecting explanatory variables and analytical processes currently in use...
Article
Full-text available
Bioacoustics is the study of sound produced by animals, and autonomous recording units (ARUs) are increasingly used to research and monitor birds by recording vocalizations because of the benefits of reduced observer bias and the ability to collect data over longer time scales. We used ARUs to study owl vocal behaviour and habitat use by passively...
Method
Full-text available
Great gray owl and boreal owl survey protocol for the 3rd Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas (2021-2025)
Article
Full-text available
Butler’s Gartersnake (Thamnophis butleri) is listed as Endangered in Canada. Data on its spatial ecology are sparse and information on habitat use, movement patterns, and home range size are needed to prevent further declines. We captured snakes using coverboard refuges and implanted transmitters into 13 individuals (12 females, one male), to track...
Article
Anthropogenic disturbance can negatively impact animal populations and alter the behaviour of individuals. Disturbance associated with the energy sector has been increasing in the boreal forest of northern Alberta. Disturbances associated with the oil and gas industry vary in the infrastructure present and sensory stimuli generated. Two common type...
Poster
Songbirds are one of the most studied groups for being sensitive to human-caused noise since they rely on acoustic cues to maintain social interactions. For example, acoustic communication is fundamental to defend territories and female attraction. The common responses to noise are the avoidance of the noise source or the change of the songs to inc...
Thesis
Full-text available
Anthropogenic disturbance is known to have negative population consequences and alter animal behaviour, and a growing body of research on the effects of anthropogenic noise is finding similar negative impacts on wildlife. Noise in natural environments can mask important acoustic signals used for animal communication. Owls use vocal communication to...
Article
Presence or abundance of owls is frequently assessed using call-broadcast surveys to elicit responses and increase detection rates, but can draw owls in from a distance and could affect conclusions about fine-scale habitat associations. Passive acoustic surveys with field personnel or autonomous recording units (ARUs) may be a less biased method fo...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Bioacoustics is the study of sound produced by animals and has gained momentum with technology able to record sound autonomously in many different environments. Autonomous recording units (ARUs) are increasingly used to research and monitor birds because of the benefit of reduced observer bias and the ability to collect data over longer time scales...
Article
Full-text available
Noise in natural environments can mask important acoustic signals used for animal communication. Owls use vocal communication to attract mates and defend territories, and also rely on acoustic cues to locate their prey. Industrial noise has been shown to negatively affect owl hunting success and reduce foraging efficiency by affecting their ability...
Article
Full-text available
Kin recognition can facilitate kin selection and may have played a role in the evolution of sociality. Red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) defend territories using vocalizations known as rattles. They use rattles to discriminate kin, though the mechanism underlying this ability is unknown. Our objective was to distinguish between the mechanisms...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to discriminate among individuals, or among classes of individuals, can provide animals with important fitness benefits. Although several mechanisms for discrimination are possible, most require animals to show stable phenotypic variation that reflects their identity or their membership in a particular class (e.g. sex, mate, kin). For t...
Article
Full-text available
Accidental mortality is pervasive in small mammal livetrapping studies and presents a welfare concern for the particularly vulnerable shrews (Soricomorpha: Soricidae). Although small mammal researchers are aware of this problem and generally suspect that high mortality rates are caused by nutritional constraints and potentially high moisture requir...
Article
Full-text available
Shrews (Soricomorpha: Soricidae) are particularly vulnerable to mortality associated with small-mammal livetrapping. We compiled data on mortality rates and protocols from 16 different small-mammal studies and analyzed 16 years of livetrapping data from a single study in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario to assess factors affecting shrew mortality...
Article
While many animals defend territories to secure resources such as food and mates, little is known about why territory owners of the same species vary in their territorial defence behaviour. We tested whether potential intruder pressure, defence of offspring, resource-holding potential or aggressiveness of the individual territory owner best explain...
Article
Full-text available
Vigilance enables an animal to obtain information about the environment but often at a cost of reduced foraging rate. Some environmental information may not change rapidly, so vigilance might be safely reduced with familiarity with an area. Studies have noted this decline in vigilance with familiarity, but the reason for this decline has not been t...
Thesis
Full-text available
I investigated territorial defence behaviour and tested the mechanism of kin recognition in red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) using playbacks of territorial calls. Red squirrels did not discriminate between the calls of kin and non-kin despite previous evidence that they are capable of recognizing kin through territorial vocalizations. I sugg...

Questions

Question (1)
Question
I've typically seen examples of spatially explicit mark-recapture (SECR) analysis done with datasets of animals with large home ranges across a single large study area, does anyone know of examples where SECR has been used on small mammal mark-recapture data where there are typically multiple grids of traps? Is there a compelling reason to use SECR in this kind of scenario where the objective is to compare small mammal densities between grids in different habitats/treatments, or are other mark-recapture approaches just as useful and maybe more appropriate in this case?

Network

Cited By

Projects

Project (1)
Project
My thesis aims to determine what effect industrial disturbance has on three species of owls in northern Alberta: Barred owls, Boreal owls, and Great Horned owls. I'm using bioacoustic methods to survey for owls and determine where they are present on the landscape. Specifically, my objectives for this project are to 1) assess the utility of using bioacoustic methods to survey for owls, 2) determine if owls avoid the areas surrounding industrial noise sources, 3) evaluate the impacts of industrial noise on prey availability (i.e. small mammal abundance) and 4) assess cumulative effects of various types of industrial disturbance on owls.