Pesticide threats to birds and biodiversity in the prairies

Speaker: Dr. Christy Morrissey

Host: Crooked Creek Conservancy Society of Athabasca

Pesticides are a key tool in agriculture, but over-reliance and flaws in the regulatory process are placing biodiversity at risk. Our research has shown that pesticide use has increased in recent decades and rising use of hazardous insecticides is related to landscape simplification, not to crop yields. Seed treatments which were designed to reduce insecticide use are exasperating the problem while posing unique risks to seed eating birds, beneficial insects, and aquatic ecosystems.

In this presentation, Dr. Christy Morrissey will show the latest research on the hidden dangers of these widely used chemicals and propose solutions that involve ecologically intensifying and diversifying the landscape to harvest the power of biodiversity, and reap the economic and ecosystem gains that can benefit producers and biodiversity.

Dr. Morrissey is a Professor at the University of Saskatchewan in the department of Biology. Her research expertise is in avian ecotoxicology, aquatic ecology, ecophysiology, and wildlife conservation. Christy has over 20 years experience working on issues related to environmental contamination from pesticides and other chemicals and the use of birds as indicators of environmental health. She has published over 80 highly cited journal articles and book chapters and was named to the Royal Society College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. She works closely with provincial and national governments on regulatory issues of pesticides, wetlands and the conservation of migratory birds and is working on projects to implement Nature based solutions to improve sustainable agricultural production in the Prairies.  Dr. Morrissey has been featured broadly in the national and international media (CBC, National Geographic, Nature of Things, The Messenger Documentary etc) for her research on pesticide impacts and conservation of birds, insects and Prairie wetlands.

View the recorded presentation on YouTube: