Surgically implanting an acoustic transmitter into a common carp to investigate movement patterns.
Hi there - my name is Jordanna and I'm an aquatic ecologist and conservation scientist based in eastern Ontario, Canada. My love for the outdoors fueled a passion to protect and conserve our natural world, and encouraged my desire to pursue a career in conservation research. I have had the privilege to hold a variety of conservation-focused positions across North America: from kelp forest ecologist, to professional and scientific diver, to marine fisheries biologist, my efforts have been consistently focused towards the conservation of our world's aquatic ecosystems.
My past research and professional roles focused primarily on the marine environment; for my PhD, I've turned my attention to freshwater ecosystems, which need our help now more than ever. Freshwater biodiversity is rapidly declining, with freshwater species extinctions occurring faster compared to marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Roughly 8,000 freshwater-dependent species are threatened with extinction; 28% of those being freshwater fishes. For my thesis, I am investigating the ecological connectivity of a freshwater historic canal as experienced by both native and invasive fish species. Our goal is to determine the seasonal, species-specific, and/or hydraulic drivers of fish movement patterns within the waterway itself and between anthropogenic barriers (i.e., locks, dams). Using a multidisciplinary and integrative approach, we aim to use results from my thesis to support conservation actions and develop strategies to protect and enhance Ontario’s economically-important, and beautiful, freshwater ecosystems.
Although my past research experiences have provided me with a strong scientific background, graduate school has offered a special chance to continue to learn and grow as a researcher, and person. My research is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC PGS-D), Parks Canada, and Carleton University.
Leading a dive on the RMS Rhone, British Virgin Islands.
Conducting giant kelp surveys off the Central Coast of British Columbia.
Had to snag a quick photo before releasing an acoustically tagged muskellunge into the Rideau River.
Cooke, S.J., Cramp, R.L., Madliger, C.L., Bergman, J.N., Reeve, C., Rummer, J.L., Hultine, K.R., Fuller, A., French, S.S., Franklin, C.E. (2021). Conservation physiology and the COVID-19 pandemic. Conservation Physiology. 9: coaa139. https://doi.org/10.1093/conphys/coaa139
Buxton, R.*, Bergman, J.N.*, Lin, H.-Y., Binley, A., Avery-Gomm, S., Schuster, R., Roche, D., Bennett, J. (2020). Three lessons conservation science can learn from the COVID-19 pandemic: A call to action from early career researchers. Conservation Biology. *equal contributors. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13652
Cooke, S.J., Bergman, J.N., Nyboer E.A., Reid, A.J., Gallagher, A.J., Hammerschlag, N., Van de Riet, K., Vermaire, J.C. (2020). Overcoming the Concrete Conquest of Aquatic Ecosystems. Biological Conservation 247: 108589. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2020.108589
Bergman, J.N.*, Binley, A.D.*, Murphy, R.E.*, Proctor, C.A.*, Nguyen, A.T.*, Urness, E.S.*, Vala, M.A.*, Vincent, J.G.*, Fahrig, L., Bennett, J.R. (2020). How to rescue Ontario’s Endangered Species Act: A biologist’s perspective. FACETS 423-431. *equal contributors. https://doi.org/10.1139/facets-2019-0050
Bergman, J.N., Bennett, J.R., Binley, A.D., Cooke, S.J., Vincent, F., Hlina, B.L., Reid, C.H., Vala, M.A., Madliger, C.L. (2019). Scaling from individual physiological measures to population-level demographic change: case studies and future directions for conservation management. Biological Conservation 238, 108242. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108242
Bergman, J.N., Lajeunesse, M.J., Motta, P.J. (2017). Teeth penetration force of the tiger shark Galeocerdo cuvier and sandbar shark Carcharhinus plumbeus. Journal of Fish Biology 91, 460-472. doi:10.1111/jfb.13351
Krumhansl, K.A., Bergman, J.N., Salomon, A.K. (2017). Assessing the ecosystem-level consequences of a small-scale artisanal kelp fishery within the context of climate-change. Ecological Applications 27, 799-813. doi:10.1002/eap.1484
Bergman, J.N., Bennet, J.R., Cooke, S.J. (2021). Investigating the longitudinal connectivity of Canada’s Rideau Canal Waterway to inform conservation decisions. Canadian Conference for Fisheries Research (CCFFR), Virtual Meeting (invited).
Bergman, J.N., Buxton, R.T., Lin, H.-Y., Attinello, K., Hajdasz, A.C., Rivest, S.A., Nguyen, T.T., Cooke, S.J., Bennett., J.R. (2020). The power of posting: a review of the benefits and risks of social media for wildlife conservation. North American Congress for Conservation Biology (NACCB), Virtual Meeting.
Bergman, J.N., Bennet, J.R., Cooke, S.J. (2020). Examining the ecological connectivity of the Rideau Canal Waterway as experienced by native and invasive fish. GLATOS, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
Bergman, J.N., Bennet, J.R., Balshine, S., Raby, G., Cooke, S.J. (2020). Using acoustic telemetry to monitor an invasion front: investigating movement patterns and behaviour of round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) in the Rideau Canal Waterway. American Fisheries Society Ontario Chapter Annual Meeting, Orillia, ON, CAN (awarded best student oral presentation).
Bergman, J.N. (2020). Integrating Ecological Connectivity into Management Strategies. Carleton University’s Science Café Series, Ottawa, ON, CAN (invited).
Bergman, J.N., Bennet, J.R., Cooke, S.J. (2018). Can selective fragmentation of Canada’s Rideau Canal optimize conservation decisions? Science to support management of Parks Canada's historic Rideau and Trent-Severn waterways to maintain and enhance ecosystem services: Year 1 Symposium. NSERC Strategic Partnership Grant. Ottawa, ON, CAN.
Bergman, J.N., Heppell, S.A., Shea, C.P., Lowerre-Barbieri, S.K. (2017). Seasonal cycles of gonadal development and plasma sex steroid levels in the protogynous gag grouper Mycteroperca microlepis. 147th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society, Tampa, FL, USA (invited).
Krumhansl, K.A., Bergman, J.N., Salomon, A.K. (2015). Impacts of Giant Kelp Canopy Harvest on Temperate Reef Fish. Western Society of Naturalists, Sacramento, CA, USA.
To collect our acoustic receivers, I suit up and brave the cold water.
Awards, grants, and honours
NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship - Doctoral Program, 2020-2023
Ontario Graduate Scholarship, 2020-2021 (declined)
E.J. Crossman Award for Best Student Oral Presentation, 2020
NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarships - Master’s Program, 2019-2020
Carleton University Biology Department Scholarship, 2019-2020
Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship, 2018-2019
Carleton University Biology Department Entrance & Scholarship, 2018-2019
NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award Summer, 2015
Florida Bright Futures Scholarship, 2010-2015
University of South Florida Scholarship Grant, 2010-2013
Dean’s Honour List, University of South Florida, Fall 2011
Snow or shine, you can find us in the field.
The Rideau Canal, located in eastern Ontario, Canada, forms a 202-km continuous route between Lake Ontario and the Ottawa River, and is interconnected by 23 lockstations. When the Rideau Canal was constructed in the 1830s, previously disconnected aquatic habitats were connected, enabling movement through barriers to both invasive and native species. As invasive species pose one of the greatest threats to the biotic integrity of freshwater ecosystems, with potentially adverse socio-economic effects on human welfare, it is vital to consider how infrastructure and operations could be refined to reduce their spread. To do so, and without compromising connectivity to native fish species, we must first assess if, when, and to what extent native and invasive fish move throughout the waterway and the potential factors driving movements.
With much help from peers, professors, and field assistants, I am externally (anchor tag) and internally (acoustic transmitter) tagging thousands of fish in the Rideau Canal. It is currently unclear to what extent fish movement occurs at the site of individual locks and dams, or if seasonal movement patterns exist within confined reaches of the system. Do fish attempt to make reproductive migrations through barriers but are blocked? Are movements species-specific? Could lock operations and/or types be refined to reduce invasive species spread with no impact to native species? These are some of the research questions we are focusing our efforts towards answering. To date, no research has been conducted to simultaneously model movement patterns of native and invasive species in the Rideau Canal to inform conservation decisions and protect aquatic biodiversity. Given that anthropogenic waterways are pervasive worldwide, this research informs not only the conservation and management of the Rideau Canal, but also of other waterways in Canada and beyond.
To develop and implement successful management strategies that simultaneously restrict and enable movements of invasive and native species, respectively, an understanding of the drivers of movements is necessary. We are currently examining the movement patterns of two recreationally-important native fish species, largemouth bass and northern pike, and two invasive fish species, common carp and round goby, through the use of acoustic telemetry.
Although external tagging does not provide the same level of fine-scale movement data as acoustic telemetry, it offers a way to tag thousands of fish quickly and use recapture locations to understand broad movement patterns. To date, we have externally tagged ~5,000 fish throughout the Rideau Canal, and will continue until we reach our goal of 10,000 tagged fish. With the generous help of anglers who report tagged fish they've caught, we can track the movements of tagged fish for as long as they're swimming (we mark, you recapture!). If you've caught a tagged fish or would like more information, please contact .
Implanting an acoustic transmitter into a round goby. Tiny fish call for tiny tags - this tag is about the size of a black bean and weighs 0.28 grams.
Tagging black bass at a Bass Anglers Association tournament.