Philip Walker

My study area is in North-western Ontario where woodland Caribou have been classified as “threatened” under Canada’s Species at Risk Act and the Ontario Endangered Species Act. Several studies have implicated predation and human disturbance, for declining caribou populations; however, despite this research the potential limiting role of the quality of the foraging landscape to meet the nutritional and energetic demands of caribou remains untested.

My research will look to quantify the nutritional landscape of caribou habitats disturbed and undisturbed by forestry, and related these to a distribution of radio-collared caribou. I will be working with John and Rachel Cook to collect data from tame caribou that will identify selected forage species within natural feeding pens embedded in different habitat types. Through vegetation surveys and nutritional analysis (digestible energy and protein) the nutritional quality of vegetation in these penned habitats will be related to bite size, intakes and nutritional gain for the tame caribou.

The information from this intensive sampling will allow myself to create a nutritional resource map (foodscape) within GIS for Ontario based on land cover types.  The map will be used to (1)

identify habitats with the greatest nutritional benefit to wild caribou, and (2) determine the relative contribution of the foodscape compared to other factors such as human disturbance and risk of predation to caribou habitat selection using GPS telemetry data from free-ranging caribou.

Funding Agencies:
National Council of Air and Stream Improvement
NSERC CREATE EI
Wildlife Conservation Society Canada – W. Garfield Weston Foundation Fellowship

Presentations:
2020
Walker, P., Rodgers, A., Shutter, J. Thompson, I. Fryxell, J. Cook, J. Cook, R. Merrill, E. Comparison of woodland caribou calving areas determined by movement rates in northern Ontario. Oral presentation at the Wildlife Society Conference held virtually, September 28- October 2, 2020.

Walker, P., Rodgers, A., Shutter, J., Thompson, I., Fryxell, J. Cook, J. Cook, R. Merrill, E. Comparison of woodland caribou calving areas determined by movement rates in northern Ontario. Poster presentation at the Gordon Research Conference: Predator-Prey Interactions held in Ventura, CA, January 26-31, 2020.

2019
Walker, P., Rodgers, A., Shutter, J., Thompson, I., Fryxell, J., Cook, J., Cook, R., Merrill, E. Calving areas and neonatal mortality in northern Ontario. Poster presentation at the World Mountain Ungulate Conference, held in Boseman, MT, September 10-13, 2019.

Walker, P., Rodgers, A., Shutter, J., Thompson, I., Fryxell, J., Cook, J., Cook, R., Merrill, E. Identification and evaluation of calving areas in northern Ontario. Oral presentation at the Alberta Chapter of the Wildlife Society Conference, held in Canmore, AB, March 22-24, 2019. *Won best student oral presentation.

Walker, P., Rodgers, A., Shutter, J., Thompson, I., Fryxell, J., Cook, J., Cook, R., Merrill, E. Identification and evaluation of calving areas in northern Ontario. Oral presentation at the Dr. R.E. Peter Biology Conference, held in Edmonton, AB, March 6-8, 2019.

2018
Walker, P., Rodgers, A., Shutter, J., Thompson, I., Fryxell, J., Cook, J., Cook, R., Merrill, E. Preliminary identification and evaluation of calving areas in northern Ontario. Poster presentation at the North America Caribou Workshop, held in Ottawa, ON, October 29- November 2, 2018.

Walker, P., Cook, J., Cook, R., Rodgers, A., Merrill, E. Characterizing understory communities by caribou nutrition in northwestern Ontario. Poster presentation at the Alberta Chapter of the Wildlife Society Conference, held in Lethbridge, AB, March 9-11, 2018.

Kushnerick, B., Walker, P., Kemna, C., Visscher, D. Spatial and temporal distribution of ungulates in relation to canids and humans in the Beaver Hills. Poster presentation at the Alberta Chapter of the Wildlife Society Conference, held in Lethbridge, AB, March 9-11, 2018.

Kemna, C., Vujnovic, K., Allen, L., Anderson, K., Karpuk, E., Maijer, M., Walker, P., Visscher, D. Multivariate analysis for the conservation of Antelope Hill Provincial Park. Alberta Chapter of the Wildlife Society Conference, held in Lethbridge, AB, March 9-11, 2018.

2016
Walker, P., DeJong, K., Nanninga, L., Loewen, K., Witter, K., Van Woerden, S., McFarlane, K., Visscher, D. Spatial and temporal distribution of wolves in the Beaver Hills. Poster presentation at the Undergraduate Research in Science Conference of Alberta, held in Edmonton, AB, April 1-2, 2016. *Honorable Mention.

DeJong, K., Nanninga, L., Walker, P., Loewen, K., Witter, K., Van Woerden, S., McFarlane, K., Visscher, D. Optimizing procedures for canid genomic analysis. Poster presentation at the Undergraduate Research in Science Conference of Alberta, held in Edmonton, AB, April 1-2, 2016. *Honorable Mention.

Loewen, K., Witter, K., Van Woerden, S., Walker, P., DeJong, K., Nanninga, L., McFarlane, K., Visscher, D. Scat based dietary analysis of the Beaver Hill’s canids. Poster presentation at the Undergraduate Research in Science Conference of Alberta, held in Edmonton, AB, April 1-2, 2016. *Honorable Mention.

Walker, P., DeJong, K., Nanninga, L., Loewen, K., Witter, K., Van Woerden, S., McFarlane, K., Visscher, D. Non-invasive monitoring of wolves in the Beaver Hills. Poster presentation at the Alberta Chapter of the Wildlife Society Conference, held in Drumheller, AB, March 4-6, 2016. *Won second place.

2015
Walker, P., Nobel, J., Visscher D. Critical Analysis of The Grey in light of Cultivation Theory. Oral presentation at the International Association of the Study of the Commons, held in Edmonton, AB, May 25-29, 2015.

Walker, P., Barszczewski, S. The Big Bad Wolf? Poster presentation at the Western Division, Canadian Association of Geographers, held in Kamloops, BC, March 13-14, 2015.

Publications:
Walker, P., Rodgers, A., Shutter, J., Thompson, I., Fryxell, J., Cook, J., Cook, R., Merrill, E. (2020). Comparison of woodland caribou calving areas determined by movement patterns in northern Ontario. In press. Journal of Wildlife Management, DOI:10.1002/jwmg.21961.

Janzen, M., Ritter, A., Walker, P., Visscher, D.R. (2019) EventFinder: A program for screening remotely captured images. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 191(6), 406.