Apply to participate in a BIOS² + LDP Student-led Working Group

The NSERC-CREATE training program in Computational Biology BIOS2, in collaboration with the NSERC-CREATE Living Data Project from the Canadian Institute of Ecology and Evolution, are now accepting applications to participate in a student-led working group that will be held from January 23 to 27, 2023, in the Montreal Area, QC.

The theme of the working group is: Assessing the potential for climate-driven range shifts through multiple landscapes features across the Canada-US border.

The applications are due by August 22, 2022 at noon (Eastern Time).

Description of the activity

Working groups consist of a small group of researchers who meet in person in a single location, and work intensively and collaboratively on a research question. The objective of the proposed activity is to provide the opportunity to students and early career researchers to get experience in team projects oriented toward biodiversity synthesis and data analysis. Participants will have the opportunity to co-author publications, and may be eligible for two course credits offered as part of CIEE certificate programs.


Applicants must be currently registered in a study program in ecology, environmental science, evolution or a related discipline in a Canadian university. The call is primarily for graduate students, but a few places will be open for undergraduate students and for postdocs whose research aligns with the theme of the working group. Students should either be enrolled in a BIOS2 or CIEE member university, or their supervisor must be a CSEE member.

Ideally, candidates will be proficient in R with some experience of working with large ecological datasets, in a collaborative environment, and communicating their analysis and results. As the working group will focus on modelling potential richness of range-expanding species along the border, previous experience using species distribution models and doing spatial analysis in R will therefore be useful.

The highest priority will go to BIOS2 Fellows, and to students who have already taken the Living Data project courses. Candidates with caring responsibilities are welcome and encouraged to apply and we will accommodate their needs, as much as possible.

Presentation of the project

Assessing the potential for climate-driven range shifts through multiple landscapes features across the Canada-US border

Facilitators: Andrea Brown (MSc student, Quantitative Biodiversity Lab, McGill University), Isaac Eckert (PhD student Quantitative Biodiversity Lab, McGill University) and Nikki Moore (MSc student, Sunday Lab, McGill University)

Date of the working group: January 23 to 27, 2023.
Location: In person, in the Montreal Area (place TBD)
Application deadline: August 22, 2022

 [Description disponible en anglais seulement]

Canadian biodiversity is predicted to increase over the next century as a result of species shifting their geographic ranges poleward in response to climate change 1,2. However, models predicting Canadian biodiversity change do not account for the presence of a potentially significant obstacle to species range shifts: the Canada-US geopolitical border. This border is a highly urbanized, highly populated and intensely farmed region, with steep environmental and topographic gradients 3,4,5. These landscape characteristics can be expected to act as filters, preventing some American species from expanding their ranges into Canada 7. To predict the future of Canadian biodiversity, we must identify which American species have the potential to shift their ranges northward and which are likely to be obstructed. This working group proposes to do this by empirically assessing the ability of species to traverse the Canada-US border, given the speed and direction of climate change. Using species distributions, land-use data, and IUCN Red List Threats, the objective is to synthesize existing data to build a spatial model that predicts (a) which American species are likely capable of traversing the Canada-US border and (b) key geographic areas that affect northward range expansions. By improving predictions of how Canadian biodiversity will change under climate warming, this work will directly inform policy by allowing authorities to make empirically backed conservation decisions. 

Apply here to participate in this working group!

Link to application form:
Applications are due by August 22, 2022 at noon (Eastern Time).

Please contact us if you have any questions :

Works Cited

  1. Chen, I-Ching, Jane K. Hill, Ralf Ohlemüller, David B. Roy, and Chris D. Thomas. “Rapid range shifts of species associated with high levels of climate warming.” Science 333, no. 6045 (2011): 1024-1026.
  2. Berteaux, Dominique, Sylvie de Blois, Jean-François Angers, Joël Bonin, Nicolas Casajus, Marcel Darveau, François Fournier et al. “The CC-Bio Project: studying the effects of climate change on Quebec biodiversity.” Diversity 2, no. 11 (2010): 1181-1204.
  3. CBC News. “The Canada-U.S. border: by the numbers”. (2011) Published Online at
  4. Coristine, Laura E., Aerin L. Jacob, Richard Schuster, Sarah P. Otto, Nancy E. Baron, Nathan J. Bennett, Sarah Joy Bittick et al. “Informing Canada’s commitment to biodiversity conservation: A science-based framework to help guide protected areas designation through Target 1 and beyond.” (2018): 531-562.
  5. Statistics Canada. “Population size and growth in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census” (2017) Published online at
  6. Keith, Sally A., Roger JH Herbert, Paul A. Norton, Stephen J. Hawkins, and Adrian C. Newton. “Individualistic species limitations of climate-induced range expansions generated by meso-scale dispersal barriers.” Diversity and Distributions 17, no. 2 (2011): 275-286. 
  7. Robillard, Cassandra M., Laura E. Coristine, Rosana N. Soares, and Jeremy T. Kerr. “Facilitating climate-change-induced range shifts across continental land-use barriers.” Conservation Biology 29, no. 6 (2015): 1586-1595. “Towards reconciliation: 10 Calls to Action to natural scientists working in Canada.” Facets 5, no. 1 (2020): 769-783. 

Photo by Tyler Donaghy on Unsplash