Doctoral student Melanie Dickie is exploring how human land use and climate intersect to influence the abundance of white-tailed deer.

White-tailed deer are expanding deeper into caribou range where they were previously less abundant, and now act as a food source that strengthens the population of caribou predators including wolves.

Under the supervision of Dr. Adam Ford, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, in the Wildlife Restoration Ecology Lab (WiRE Lab), Melanie Dickie’s research explores questions of what management interventions are available, how effective they are, and how they might be prioritized across the landscape to make the biggest impact for caribou.

“Doing my PhD at UBC Okanagan has given me the room to push my research further,” says Dickie. “I can research questions [based] in broader ecological theory that can be used by decision makers.”

Dickie’s passion for preserving and restoring ecosystems in Canada’s north stemmed from fieldwork she undertook in Nunavut during her undergraduate degree, followed by a position at local non-profit Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI).

Following completion of her doctorate, Dickie plans to work alongside academics, government and Indigenous communities for decades to come, continuing to reduce society’s effect on natural systems.