The Northern Biodiversity Program
A collaborative research initiative to document changes in the
ecological structure of northern arthropods using a comparative approach.


Principal investigators

Chris Buddle is an Associate Professor of Insect Ecology at McGill University in Montreal Quebec, Canada. His research interests are varied, from canopy ecology to integrated pest management and biodiversity of arthropods in Arctic Canada.  Chris is interested in understanding the links between habitat features, ecosystem processes and arthropod biodiversity.

Terry Wheeler is an Associate Professor at McGill University and Director of the Lyman Entomological Museum in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Terry’s current research program investigates systematics and ecology of flies, especially the abundant and diverse family Chloropidae.  He has broad interests in systematics and community ecology, and the NBP will provide a basis from which to examine the diversity and distribution of flies in northern environments over time.

Doug Currie is Senior Curator of Entomology at the Royal Ontario Museum and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto. Doug’s research interests are focused on the systematics and comparative biology of aquatic insects, with special reference to black flies. His current research focuses on the diversity and biogeography of northern Holarctic black flies and is based on material collected from major expeditions to Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory, Alaska and eastern Siberia. The NBP will provide an opportunity to continue this line of research while exploring new avenues related to climate change in northern environments.

Post-doctoral Researcher

Laura Timms is a post-doctoral researcher at McGill University.  She is an entomologist with a background in invasive species biology, community  ecology, biological control, and both agricultural and forest integrated pest management.  Laura is interested in the effects of disturbance on insect diversity, particularly how processes such as climate change, invasive species, and natural resource management affect host-parasitoid communities.  As a postdoc with the NBP, Laura will be pursuing her own research parasitic wasps as well as acting in an administrative role.  Please visit Laura's website by clicking here.  

Graduate Students

Crystal Ernst (Ph.D., supervisor Chris Buddle).  Crystal is studying the effects of climate change on ground-dwelling arthropod assemblages in arctic and sub-arctic ecozones of northern Canada.  More broadly, she is interested in how the structures of ground-dwelling insect communities are affected by climate change and other environmental variables.  She will use data from her own field experiments as well as the sampling being conducted by the entire team to answer her research questions. Crystal can be reached at:

Patrick Schaefer (Ph.D., supervisor Doug Currie).  Patrick's research is about the contemporary and historical biogeographical patterns of black flies (Simuliidae: Diptera). We will use a combination of molecular, morphological and cytological data to examine recent (50-60 years ago) and historical (ca. 10,000  years ago) phylogeographical patterns in northern black flies in response to changing climates.

Meagan Blair (M.Sc., supervisor: Terry Wheeler).  Meagan's project is titled "Diversity of higher Diptera on a latitudinal gradient in the Canadian arctic".  She will assess the spatial distribution of higher flies between the northern-boreal region of Canada and the sub-Arctic and Arctic ecoclimatic zones.  This will be done by collecting, identifying, and then spatially comparing species abundance from the 12 research sites.  A small portion of my project also includes comparing this distribution, diversity, and abundance to that of the Northern Insect Survey, which was conducted in the 1950s and 1960s.  Meagan can be contacted at the following e-mail address:

Sarah Loboda (M.Sc., supervisor: Chris Buddle).  Sarah is studying the structure of spider assemblages across multiple scales in Canada's North.  She will investigate the patterns of spider assemblages at multiple scales in Canada ‘s North and try to determine what environmental factors that can explain these patterns.   Sarah also wants to identify which spider species can be used as bioindicator of climate change in Arctic and Subarctic zones. Results will be used to better understand patterns of species richness and relative abundance at different scales. Sarah can be contacted at the following e-mail address:

Katie Sim (M.Sc., supervisors: Chris Buddle and Terry Wheeler).  Katie is interested in patterns of genetic diversity of spiders.

Anna Solecki (M.Sc., supervisors: Terry Wheeler and Chris Buddle .  Anna is working on phylogeoraphy of Diptera.

Ruben Cordero (M.Sc., supervisor: Doug Currie).  Ruben will be working on some of the aquatic insects.


Donna Giberson is a Professor at the University of Prince Edward Island and a fresh water ecologist with a particular interest in aquatic insects. Current interests include the study of aquatic insect biodiversity, life history responses to disturbance regime, salt marsh insects, pitcher plant-insect relationships, and general aquatic insect ecology. Donna has several years of working experience in the arctic and is interested in the potential effects of climate change on the biodiversity of northern aquatic insects.

David Langor is an entomologist at the Northern Forestry Centre in Edmonton (Natural Resources Canada) and Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta. He works in the areas of biodiversity and pest management, and has extensive experience with beetle taxonomy and ecology and large-scale biodiversity projects.

Jeremy Kerr is an Associate Professor at University of Ottawa. He has extensive expertise in ecoinformatics and works at the interface of macroecology, conservation biology and remote sensing, detection of global change influences on species distributions. He has significant interest in the response of arthropods to changing northern environments.

Wayne Pollard is an Associate Professor at McGill University and has widespread experience working in Canada’s arctic. He is also the Director of Centre for Climate and Global Change Research at McGill University and the Director of McGill Northern Field Stations in Schefferville and on Axel Heiberg Island. He will act in an advisory position.

Grant Gilchrist (Canadian Wildlife Service) has extensive experience working in Arctic Canada, as a wildlife biologist with broad research interests including marine birds and arthropod ecology.,form&formid=3D08965B-325F-42E9-854F-1D32319000C3