Alex Arkilanian
MSc Candidate

Gonzalez Lab
Faculty of Science
McGill University

Supervised by  Andrew Gonzalez

Modelling functional connectivity for fish in the St. Lawrence Lowlands

The importance of regional scale connectivity in river systems has become recognized as an important facet of river conservation. My project consists of performing a multi-species assessment of connectivity in the rivers and stream of the St. Lawrence Lowlands. The questions I am seeking to answer with my project are : (1) which stream segments should be prioritized for conservation to preserve the largest quantity of endemic fish biodiversity in the region? (2) Which metric, among the multiple connectivity assessment methods developed, is the most actionable and appropriate to inform functional connectivity for fish?

To answer these questions I will develop a custom connectivity metric based on existing measures and, using graph theory, I will assess the state of functional connectivity in the streams of this region. This project will lead to a conservation prioritization map of each stream segment and barrier in the St. Lawrence Lowlands.