Dr. Karen E. Hodges  Professor, Conservation Ecology

Major Research Interests

Human activities are causing species extinctions, extensive loss of habitats, damage to existing wild areas, and global changes in climate that are altering the distribution, abundance, and persistence of many species.  Further, increases in fire frequency, severity, and size are structuring forest landscapes for decades to come.

As a conservation ecologist, I focus my research on how range position and habitat configuration affect species interactions and endangerment of at-risk species. I am particularly interested in understanding population dynamics at the periphery of species’ ranges, as these populations either may be more vulnerable to the various threats facing many of the world’s species or may contribute to range expansions as species respond to rapid climate change. The majority of my field-based research projects examine terrestrial vertebrates in western montane forests (Rockies, Cascades, and other mountains) and the sage-steppe habitats within British Columbia. I’m interested in how fires and human activities enable or prevent imperiled species from persisting in these landscapes.  I am also interested in population cycles and their causes.

Current projects in my lab focus on snowshoe hares, owls and raptors, marten, small mammals, bats,  and bluebirds.  Previous students have worked on lynx and bobcats, small mammals, yellow-breasted chats, grassland plants, turtles, and snakes.

Research projects by people in my lab group often require demographic, behavioral, genetic, or GIS tools to examine how species respond to different habitat types and landscape patterns. Other projects address the scientific effectiveness of conservation laws and policies, particularly the critical habitat provisions of the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the Canadian Species at Risk Act.

If you are interested in joining my lab group, please explore these pages further.  I welcome working with undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers.  I am committed to fostering an inclusive, diverse lab and supporting students from groups that are under-represented in science.

Education and Honours

Bert Brink Canada Research Chair in Conservation Biology
Aldo Leopold Leadership Program Fellow www.leopoldleadership.org
Ph.D., University of British Columbia, Vancouver (Zoology)
B.A. Summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi. Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts (English and Biology double major)


Select publications can be found here.


Other Activities

Some Useful Links


All photographs used on this website are © Karen E. Hodges; not for reproduction without permission.