Eric Neilson

ENeilsonPhoto (1)

Wolf-mediated effects of oil sands development on moose survival and abundance

My research interests focus on changes to species interactions in the context of human disturbance. I completed my MSc at Oxford Brookes University, studying pileated gibbons (Hylobates pileatus) in Cambodia, where deforestation, hunting and industrial development are continually changing the forest landscape. I began a PhD in Dr. Stan Boutin’s lab in the fall of 2013.

Alberta’s Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR) is characterized by extensive human disturbance of varying types and intensities of human use. For my PhD research I will use a long term data set to examine wolf (Canis lupus)-moose (Alces alces) predator-prey dynamics in AOSR. In particular, I will test alternative hypotheses describing variable spatial responses of wolves to mining features to identify changes to wolf hunting strategies and/or the existence of prey refuge. Interacting predator-prey spatial strategies have important consequences for population regulation and investigating predator-prey space use dynamics in a system disturbed by human activity is crucial.

Also, I enjoy science fiction, loud music and going into forests.



Neilson, E., V. Nijman, and K. A. I. Nekaris. 2013. Conservation Assessments of Arboreal Mammals in Difficult Terrain: Occupancy Modeling of Pileated Gibbons (Hylobates pileatus). International Journal of Primatology 34:823–835.