5.1 ABMI’s long term biodiversity monitoring in the oil sands region: emerging results

Dr. Jim Schieck, Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute




The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) samples terrestrial biota (lichens, mosses, vascular plants, mites, birds, mammals), aquatic biota (vascular plants, benthic invertebrates), and terrestrial and aquatic habitats (live and dead trees, shrubs, herbs, litter, soil, water physiochemistry, water basin characteristics) through Alberta. In addition, ABMI maps human footprint and vegetation throughout Alberta. Data collection in the oil sands region is supported by the Oil Sands Monitoring program.

ABMI information is analyzed to describe species habitat associations and changes in human footprint over time. All types of human disturbance have increased in the oil sands region during the past decade. Species and biodiversity intactness – a measure of ecosystem deviation from undisturbed condition – vary spatially throughout the oil sands region and are tightly coupled with human disturbance. ABMI information is used to describe distribution, abundance and cumulative effects on native species in the region. Although not presented, similar data are collected and analyzed for other regions of Alberta.

Raw data collected by the ABMI, plus analyzed and summarized information about species, habitats and human footprints are available on the ABMI website. Customized analyses and reports are created for the oil sands region and for other key regions in Alberta.




Dr. Jim Schieck received his BSc and MSc form University of Western Ontario, PhD from University of Alberta, and a Post Doc at Simon Fraser University. Jim presently is a research scientist at Alberta Innovates, an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta, and a science director for the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute. Jim’s research interests include avian ecology, population dynamics, community ecology, forest ecology, and conservation biology.