Web-page of Miya Warrington, Behavioural Ecologist

I live in the UK (Oxfordshire), but am working as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Manitoba with Prof. Jane Waterman on the amazing Cape ground squirrel system. I am also an adjunct professor at the Natural Resource Institute at the University of Manitoba). I currently have ongoing collaborative research in Australia and Canada, My most recent work is examining the effects of COVID-19 travel restrictions on wildlife as part of the C19-Wild Research Group.

There is overwhelming evidence that the ecology and behaviours of animals are changing in response to rapid global environmental changes, including the impacts of human activity and human-induced climate change. Animal behaviours can often be some of the first clues that animals are being affected by their changing environment. In current times, as animal communities are changing and biodiversity loss is occurring at a rapid rate, the need to rapidly assess the health of species and their communities is essential to acting quickly to mitigate negative effects.

My research interests primarily focus on the opportunities at the intersection of behavioural ecology and conservation. I am most interested in understanding how contemporary changes in an organism’s environment is affecting their traits and their ability to cope with these rapid environmental changes. I focus on the effects of anthropogenic factors such as human activity, noise pollution, urbanization and climate change, while considering the long-term habitat characteristics and evolutionary history of the organism. Because animal behaviour can be plastic and respond rapidly to environmental changes, I study behaviours as an index to the species’ response, using behaviour as a “message in the bottle” to elucidate the impact of underlying conditions influencing the behaviour, and therefore, the species reaction and resiliency to contemporary changes.

How do I do my research?

I accomplish my research goals using 1) field-collected data, harnessing the use of technology, 2) large community science databases (e.g. eBird), and publicly available data (e.g. NOAA weather data), and, 3) multivariate modelling approaches. I like using technology and acoustic tools/approaches that harness the use of technology to monitor the changes in animal habitat selection, movement, social interactions and other behaviours, including restricted-range, endemic and vulnerable species.

A little bit about me:

I received my B.Sc. in Biology specializing in Ecology and Environmental Sciences at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. I received my M.S. in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science from the University of Hawaii at Hilo in May 2008, and my Ph.D. (behavioral ecology) with the Avian Behavioural Ecology Group from Macquarie University in April 2014. I then continued my research as a postdoctoral associate with Prof. Nicola Koper at the Natural Resources Institute at the University of Manitoba as an assistant professor at St.George's University in Grenada, West Indies; as a collaborator with the Pied Butcherbird project (I have interests in zoomusicology).