Understand     Conserve      Inspire




James A. Schaefer


Professor of Biology

Director of the Environmental & Life Sciences Graduate Program
Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, K9L 0G2, Canada
Telephone 705-748-1011 extension 7968
E-mail jschaefer@trentu.ca




To understand


Ecology is the study of the relationship between living things and environment.  It is my lifelong passion.  In my lab, my students and I are conducting research on the behaviour, habitat selection, and demography of mammals and other terrestrial vertebrates.  Our goal is straightforward:  To generate the understanding for conserving species and their habitat.


Much of our recent effort is focussed on woodland caribou, the shy and secretive creatures of the boreal forest.  Given their low densities, their need for vast spaces and their sensitivity to human disturbances, woodland caribou are the most formidable conservation challenge in the North.




To conserve


To be effective, conservation needs an informed public – citizens engaged and conversant in science.  I am a member of the International Boreal Conservation Science Panel and a Fellow with the Leopold Leadership Program, a network that advances environmental decision-making with more than 100 academic scientists.


Two Houses of Oikos is my recent book – stories of daily life, linked to science.  The book assumes its title from the Greek, oikos, meaning 'house' , the linguistic roots of both 'ecology' and 'economy'.  The etymology reveals the importance of both houses for human well-being, now and into the future.




Praise for Two Houses of Oikos:


“A great collection of essays – crisp, entertaining, and very good fun to read.”

– Stuart Pimm, Doris Duke Professor of Conservation, Duke University


“Timely and insightful ... told in clear and imaginative prose ... makes for excellent company on any vacation of the mind                    

– Midwest Book Review


“From bite-sized appetizers to full meaty entrees, the book is fun and eye-opening.”

– Jeff Wells, Senior Scientist, Boreal Songbird Initiative





To inspire


At Trent University, we are training the next generation of conservation professionals.  In the Department of Biology, we offer the Internship in Conservation Biology, an opportunity to gain course credit while working on a real-world problem with a sponsoring conservation agency.  The Internship is part of our Specialization in Conservation Biology.    


In the Environmental & Life Sciences Graduate Program, we offer Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in a deliberately interdisciplinary setting.  Many of the projects in my lab are conducted in partnership with governmental agencies, including the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry, Manitoba Conservation & Water Stewardship, and Newfoundland & Labrador Department of Environment & Conservation.








Selected publications


Bastille-Rousseau, G., J. A. Schaefer, K. P. Lewis, M. Mumma, E. H. Ellington, N. D. Rayl, S. P. Mahoney, D. Pouliot, and D. L. Murray.  2016.  Context-dependent-climate-predator interactions explain three decades of variation in neonatal caribou survival.  Journal of Animal Ecology 85: 445–456.


Pond, B. A., G. S. Brown, K. A. Wilson, and J. A. Schaefer.  2016.  Drawing lines: Spatial behaviours reveal two ecotypes of woodland caribou.  Biological Conservation 194:139-148.


Schaefer, J. A., S. P. Mahoney, J. N. Weir, J. G. Luther, and C. E. Soulliere.  2016.  Decades of habitat use reveal food limitation of Newfoundland caribou.  Journal of Mammalogy 97: 386-393.


Newton, E. J., K. F. Abraham, J. A. Schaefer, B. A. Pond, and G .S. Brown.  2015.  Causes and consequences of broad-scale changes in the distribution of migratory caribou (Rangifer tarandus) of southern Hudson Bay.  Arctic 68: 472-485.


Schaefer, J. A. and P. Beier.  2013.  Going public:  Scientific advocacy and North American wildlife conservation.  International Journal of Environmental Studies 70: 429-437.


Schaefer, J. A. and S. P. Mahoney.  2013.  Spatial dynamics of the rise and fall of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) in Newfoundland.  Canadian Journal of Zoology 91: 767–774.


Email me if you’d like a reprint.





Maintained by James Schaefer; last updated 28 March 2016.