Moose Survey Research in Algonquin Provincial Park
|Norm Quinn, Park Biologist (retired) oversaw many wildlife research projects during his 20 years in Algonquin Park.||
Norm Quinn became interested in wildlife biology during his childhood, as he spent time in the out-of-doors bird-watching, fishing, and hunting. "Throughout high school I was interested in journalism, but upon my graduation I was not accepted into a journalism program at university. I subsequently worked and travelled for two years, with most of my time spent in the Negev Desert in Israel, during which my interest in science and nature was re-kindled" says Quinn. "After returning from my travels abroad, I applied and was accepted to the Wildlife Biology program at the University of Guelph. In 1976, I graduated from Guelph and continued my education at the University of New Brunswick where I did work on population biology of Spruce Grouse."
"After I graduated with a Masters of Science degree in Wildlife Management, I was hired by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources as a District Biologist in Kirkland Lake in 1978. In 1984, I moved south to a new job as Park Biologist in Algonquin Provincial Park until I retired in January 2005."
Why conduct research in Algonquin Park?
"Algonquin is a great place to work as a biologist because I am free of many of the routine issues, like major development projects, that preoccupy biologists outside the Park. This allows me to spend more time conducting long-term research studies within Park boundaries", says Norm Quinn.
The Park Biologist's priorities are set by the changing priorities of Ontario Government and in recent years these have focused on the effects of forestry on wildlife and the status of wolves in the Park. Norm Quinn's work with moose populations follows a great deal of work in the Park aimed at understanding what determines the numbers of moose on the landscape or what biologists call 'population regulation'. "The profession of wildlife biology is challenging, but this field has always offered rich opportunities for people with initiative and imagination", says Quinn.
How has technology aided your research efforts?
"The aircraft used today have better navigational technology. There is software now that can direct the pilot right to the survey area and show him (with the use of an on-board laptop computer) the position of the aircraft and Moose (based on global positioning systems) as the survey is done.
To look at population dynamics, there are computer models that are constantly getting better (more actively predictive) with time. Ontario has developed one recently, the Provincial Moose Model, which can be used to predict how a moose population will change over time under different scenarios involving mortality and survival, e.g., calf mortality from bear predation.
The workload involved in data analysis has been reduced greatly thanks to statistical software that is now available. This means the old days of calculating probability statistics by hand are over."
Norm Quinn conducts his research from the Administrative Headquarters at Algonquin Park's East Gate Complex and from the Algonquin Visitor Centre.
Educators: Learn more about Algonquin’s habitats, download readings and worksheets from the Educator Resources section of the Web Site, or you may also learn more through the following publications:
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