TWU alumn Emma Nikkel helps land managers in Metro Vancouver tackle invasive plant species
"My hope for this research is that it provides meaningful and practical information for local land managers, (helping them) to implement prevention and management strategies that actually make a difference.”
— Emma Nikkel, BSc in Environmental Studies ('15)
"I love the outdoors and plants in particular!" said Emma Nikkel, who graduated from Trinity Western with a BSc in Environmental Studies ('15).
Nikkel has worked in several different positions within the environmental field, but a common theme has been "being hands-on and providing practical measures to improve the well-being of an ecosystem as a whole," and that includes bettering the lives of humans.
This summer, Nikkel is working with a team of researchers led by TWU’s Dr. David Clements to better understand how new invasive plants may spread into Metro Vancouver and beyond. This two-year study is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Metro Vancouver Regional District.
"I am really looking forward to delving into the species we’re focusing on, understanding how these invasive species are spreading, and determining the factors that are contributing to their spread," says Nikkel about her upcoming research.
The Metro Vancouver area is vulnerable to invasive plants due to its favourable climate and diverse landscapes. Climate change is expected to make it easier for invasive plant species to spread, particularly northward into Canada.
"My hope for this research is that it provides meaningful and practical information for local land managers, (helping them) to implement prevention and management strategies that actually make a difference."
She added, "I hope to contribute to bridging the gap between scientific knowledge and research, and actual management efforts in the field."
Studying the effects of climate change on invasive species in Metro Vancouver
Nikkel's study aims to model how invasive plants such as Brazilian elodea, European common reed, Dyer's woad, shiny geranium, mouse ear hawkweed or water hyacinth may take advantage of climate change to establish and spread across the region, and will help governments develop tools and best practices for detecting, prioritizing, and managing outbreaks of invasive species.
Nikkel, together with the team from TWU, are working to develop the methodology for modelling habitat suitability under climate change for Metro Vancouver, incorporating the unique features of the region’s diverse landscape.
Read this story in the Langley Advance Times.
See also: TWU helps governments develop tools for detecting and managing outbreaks of invasive species:
About Trinity Western University
Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is Canada’s premier Christian liberal arts university dedicated to equipping students to establish meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. It is a fully accredited research institution offering liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has four campuses and locations: Langley, Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, and Ottawa. TWU emphasizes academic excellence, research, and student engagement in a vital faith community committed to forming leaders to have a transformational impact on culture. Learn more at www.twu.ca or follow us on Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.
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