Ken Thompson, SCB-TO member and graduate student at the University of Toronto, is seeking help from home owners/renters that would permit him to establish small 1.5 m2 experimental populations of white clover on their property continuously from late May to early September, 2015. Ken is studying the evolution of antiherbivore defenses in urban landscapes. To learn more about his research click here.
He hopes to have populations that span a wide range of locations, as far west as Milton, as far North as Newmarket, and as far east as Whitby. He is especially interested in hearing from homeowners/renters that have lawn-space in the downtown core of Toronto.
If any members are willing to help by hosting one of these small plots, please contact Ken Thompson directly (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Upcoming Conservation Events
Community Tree Planting at Alex Robertson Park and Duffins Heights (Pickering). Saturday, April 25. 10am-12pm. Want to enjoy some spring weather while making a positive impact on our green spaces? TRCA is looking for volunteers to restore natural habitat by planting trees at two different parks in Pickering. More information available here
Clean-up of Colonel Sam Smith Park. Sunday, April 19, 2015. 9am-3pm. If you need somewhere a little closer to home but would still like to lend a helping hand to a green space, TRCA is also hosting a clean-up of Colonel Sam Smith Park, a lakeside park which is accessible by the Queen streetcar. More information available here
Ontario Biodiversity Summit in Niagara Falls. May 19-22. This summit is the first of its kind in Ontario, and its goal is to provide information about the state of biodiversity in Ontario and our current actions to protect it. The summit will feature speakers from various backgrounds, networking events, research poster exhibition, and field trip activities. More information is available here
The Water We Drink at High Park Nature Centre. August 12 and 13. A two day workshop for middle school and high school teachers where participants learn about our urban watersheds, collecting data, constructing watershed models, measuring the health of a stream, and more hands-on projects to teach unforgettable conservation biology lessons to students. More information is available here
SCB-TO Member Spotlight: Ken Thompson
I am a M.Sc. student at the University of Toronto Mississauga. I am an evolutionary biologist currently studying the effects of urbanization on driving evolution in plant populations. All plants have ways to defend themselves against damage from herbivores, and the goal of my M.Sc. research is to understand how urbanization can influence the evolution of these defenses by altering herbivore communities. Defenses are costly for plants to produce, and if there are no herbivores, then there is no reason for plants to spend their limited resources making defenses! Have you ever seen a grasshopper in downtown Toronto? I haven’t, and I hypothesize that the absence of many dominant herbivores in cities should cause plants to evolve lower levels of defense in cities than in rural areas. Preliminary data collected last summer lends strong support to this hypothesis, and I am now preparing to conduct a large experiment this summer to further test these ideas.
For this project, I need support from residents of Toronto. I am looking for homeowners / renters who can lend 1.5 square meters (approx. 16 square feet) of lawn space with at least partial sun upon which I can set up an experimental population of potted plants from June through August. If you are interested in volunteering for this project, please contact me directly at email@example.com and I will be in touch with more specific information.