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Jordanna Nicole Bergman,
PhD

Aquatic Conservation Scientist     

                  
Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation Directorate, Parks Canada Agency

contact me at: jordannanbergman@gmail.com

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About
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Surgically implanting an acoustic tag into an invasive carp to investigate movement patterns. 

About

MY BACKGROUND

Hi there - my name is Jordanna and I'm a dual Canadian-American aquatic ecologist and conservation scientist currently based in British Columbia, 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 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. My doctoral research investigated the ecological connectivity of a freshwater historic waterway as experienced by both native and invasive fish species. Our goal is to determine the seasonal, species-specific, and ecohydraulic drivers of fish movement patterns within the waterway itself and across barriers (i.e., navigation locks, dams). Using an interdisciplinary and integrative approach, we aim to use results from my dissertation to support conservation actions and develop strategies to protect and enhance Ontario’s economically important, and beautiful, freshwater ecosystems. My PhD was co-supervised by Drs. Steven Cooke and Joseph Bennett, and supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Parks Canada, and Carleton University. 

Currently, I'm an Aquatic Conservation Scientist with Parks Canada. My work here focuses on developing a review of the effectiveness of no-take protection zones in large lake ecosystems. Additionally, I'm working to bridge the "knowledge-action gap" by collating research outputs from a large-scale grant to provide managers with actionable conservation recommendations. 

 

I am also an incoming postdoctoral fellow (April 2024) at the University of Victoria where I will be working with Drs. Maycira Costa and Anne Salomon to evaluate the spatial-temporal dynamics of kelp-encrusting bryozoans across British Columbia's coast. 

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Leading a dive on the RMS Rhone, British Virgin Islands.

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Conducting giant kelp surveys off the Central Coast of British Columbia.

Pulication & presentations

Select publications

Select oral presentations

indicates PhD chapter; *indicates equal contributors

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Had to snag a quick photo before releasing this beautiful acoustically tagged muskellunge into the Rideau River. 

Bergman JN, Bennett J, Minelga V, et al. (2024) Ecological connectivity of invasive and native fishes in a historic navigation waterway. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfas-2023-0207   

Bergman JN, Negiel K, Landsman S, et al. (2022) Multi-year evaluation of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) spatial ecology during winter drawdowns in a regulated, urban waterway in Canada. Hydrobiologia https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-022-05085-3

 

Cooke SJ, Bergman JN, Twardek W, et al. (2022) The Movement Ecology of Fishes. Journal of Fish Biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/jfb.15153

Reid J,* Bergman JN,* Kadykalo A,* Taylor J,* et al. (2022) Developing a national level evidence-based toolbox for addressing freshwater biodiversity threats. Biological Conservation https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2022.109533

Read a fun summary of this work here.

Bergman JN,* Buxton RT,* Lin H-Y,* et al. (2022) Evaluating the benefits and risks of social media for wildlife conservation. FACETS https://doi.org/10.1139/facets-2021-0112 

Plain language summary here.

†Bergman JN, Raby G, Neigel K, et al. (2022) Tracking the early stages of an invasion with biotelemetry: behaviour of round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) in Canada’s historic Rideau Canal. Biological Invasions https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-021-02705-2

†Bergman JN, Beaudoin C, Mistry I, et al. (2021) Historical, contemporary, and future perspectives on a coupled social-ecological system in a changing world: Canada’s historic Rideau Canal. Environmental Reviews https://doi.org/10.1139/er-2021-0026

Cooke SJ, Madliger CL, Bergman JN, et al. (2021) Optimism and opportunities for conservation physiology in the Anthropocene: a synthesis and conclusions. In Madliger C, C Franklin, O Love, SJ Cooke (eds) Conservation Physiology: Applications for wildlife conservation and management. pp. 319-329). Oxford University Press, UK.

Buxton R*, Bergman JN*, Lin HY*, et al. (2020) Three lessons conservation science can learn from the COVID-19 pandemic: A call to action from early career researchers. Conservation Biology https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13652

 

Bergman JN*, Binley AD*, Murphy RE*, et al. (2020) How to rescue Ontario’s Endangered Species Act: A biologist’s perspective. FACETS https://doi.org/10.1139/facets-2019-0050

 

Bergman JN, Bennett JR, Binley AD, et al. (2019) Scaling from individual physiological measures to population-level demographic change: case studies and future directions for conservation management. Biological Conservation doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108242

Bergman JN, Lajeunesse MJ, Motta PJ. (2017) Teeth penetration force of the tiger shark Galeocerdo cuvier and sandbar shark Carcharhinus plumbeus. Journal of Fish Biology doi:10.1111/jfb.13351

Krumhansl KA, Bergman JN, Salomon AK. (2017) Assessing the ecosystem-level consequences of a small-scale artisanal kelp fishery within the context of climate-change. Ecological Applications doi:10.1002/eap.1484

Bergman JN, Bennett J, Minelga V, et al. (2023) An Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Multi-Species Fish Connectivity in Canada’s Historic Rideau Canal Waterway. International Conference on Fish Telemetry, Sète, France.

Bergman JN, Cooke S, Bennett J, et al. (2023) An Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Native and Invasive 
Fish Connectivity in a Navigational Waterway. International Association for Great Lakes Research, Toronto, Ontario, CAN.

Bergman JN, Buxton R, Lin HY, et al. (2022) The power of posting: evaluating benefits and risks of social media for wildlife conservation. Joint Ecological Society of America & Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution Annual Meeting, Montréal, Québec, CAN.  

Bergman JN, Neigel K, Landsman S, et al. (2022) Spatial ecology of muskellunge during a winter drawdown in a regulated, urban waterway in Canada. The Ontario Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (AFS-OC) Annual Meeting, Virtual Meeting (awarded best student oral presentation).

Bergman JN, Neigel K, Landsman S, et al. (2022) What are the ecological impacts of winter water level drawdowns on muskellunge in Canada’s historic Rideau Canal? Canadian Conference for Fisheries Research, Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN. 

Bergman JN, Raby G, Neigel K, et al. (2021) Evaluating a round goby invasion with telemetry. The River Institute’s 28th Annual River Symposium, Virtual Meeting (invited).

Bergman JN, Buxton RT, Lin H-Y, et al. (2020) The power of posting: a review of the benefits and risks of social media for wildlife conservation. North American Congress for Conservation Biology, Virtual Meeting. 

Bergman JN, Bennett JR, Cooke SJ. (2020) Examining the ecological connectivity of the Rideau Canal Waterway as experienced by native and invasive fish. Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System (GLATOS) Annual Meeting, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

Bergman JN, Bennett JR, Balshine S, et al. (2020) Using acoustic telemetry to monitor an invasion front: investigating movement patterns and behaviour of round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) in the Rideau Canal Waterway. AFS-OC, Orillia, Ontario, CAN (awarded best student oral presentation).

 

Bergman JN. (2020) Integrating Ecological Connectivity into Management Strategies. Carleton University’s Science Café Series, Ottawa, Ontario, CAN (invited).

Bergman JN, Heppell S, Shea C, Lowerre-Barbieri S. (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, Florida, USA (invited).

Krumhansl KA, Bergman JN, Salomon AK. (2015) Impacts of Giant Kelp Canopy Harvest on Temperate Reef Fish. Western Society of Naturalists, Sacramento, California, USA.

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To collect our acoustic receivers, I suit up and brave the cold water.  

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What I'm working on:

Bennett J, Edwards B, Bergman JN, Binley A, Buxton R,…Rytwinski, T (Accepted) How ignoring detection probability hurts biodiversity conservation. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

†Bergman JN, Vis C, Bennett J, Minelga V, Cooke S (In prep) Investigating the multi-species use of freshwater protected areas in a historic freshwater waterway. 

Hudgins E, Leung B, Francis A, Young B, Bergman JN, et al. (In prep) New perspectives on invasive forest insect and disease management in Canada and the United States.  

Preparing to dive for a receiver deployed near a lockstation.  

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 Snow or shine, you can find us in the field.    

Awards, grants, and honours

  • International Conference on Fish Telemetry Travel Award, 2023 

  • The American Fisheries Society Fish Habitat Section Best Student Oral Presentation (Honorable Mention)

  • American Fisheries Society - Ontario Chapter E.J. Crossman Award for Best Student Oral Presentation, 2022

  • Wyndham Scholarship for Graduate Studies in Biology, 2022

  • Canadian Aquatic Resources Section of the American Fisheries Society Peter A. Larkin Award for Excellence in Fisheries, 2021 

  • Society for Conservation Biology Graduate Student Research Fellowship Award, 2021 - read this fun interview!

  • Muskies Canada Inc. Research Award, 2020, 2021

  • NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship - Doctoral Program, 2020-2023

  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship, 2020-2021 (declined)

  • American Fisheries Society - Ontario Chapter 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

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A fun, autumn field day on Big Rideau Lake, Ontario.

Awards & Interests
Current research

Doctoral research 

In interconnected freshwater systems like waterways and historic canals, ensuring connectivity across the landscape can stem biodiversity losses by enhancing migratory populations, supporting genetic diversity, and providing access to ideal critical habitats. However, these waterways are often plagued with anthropogenic river fragmentation and connectivity loss because of barriers like navigation locks and dams, and the diffusion and consequential negative effects of invasive species. Selectively managing barriers in waterways to promote the movements of native species while simultaneously minimizing invasive species dispersal – a conservation strategy known as 'selective fragmentation' – could provide a solution, but is a major challenge.

Located in eastern Ontario, Canada is the Rideau Canal Waterway, one such waterway that embodies this challenge. It is a 202-kilometre continuous navigable route that forms a connection between the Ottawa River, at Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, and Lake Ontario, at the city of Kingston. Although the waterway was originally constructed in the 1830s for commercial shipping and national defense, today it is primarily operated for recreation by the federal agency Parks Canada and for its international significance as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The waterway features large and small lakes, riverine areas, and constructed channels all interconnected by 46 operating navigation locks, many of which have water-control or hydroelectric dams (collectively, 'lockstations'). Because waterways with barriers – like lockstations – have been referred to as invasion highways for aquatic species, it is vital to consider how infrastructure and operations could be refined to reduce invasive species spread. To do so, and without compromising connectivity for native species, we must first assess the extent that both native and invasive fishes move throughout the waterway and the ecological and/or hydraulic factors influencing movements.

With much help from peers, professors, and field assistants, I externally (FLOY tag) and internally (acoustic tag) tagged thousands of fish across the Rideau Canal Waterway, discovering several interesting findings. Our movement data suggests that lockstations reduce, but do not entirely restrict, connectivity, and that seasonal water-level drawdowns further reduce connectivity within river reaches. We found that most fish passages were in the direction of flow, a potential issue to native upstream migratory species. Notably, while we documented several native fish species crossing barriers, no invasive common carp passages were detected and only a single invasive round goby moved upstream through a lock. Results from my doctoral work add to the limited, but growing, literature base of native and invasive fish movements in waterways, providing evidence and suggestions for managers and conservation groups to develop selective fish passage strategies or take restorative actions. Given that waterways are pervasive globally, our hope is that this research informs not only the conservation and management of fish populations in the Rideau Canal Waterway, but of other waterways in Canada and beyond.

Read about our findings in a fun magazine article here or see published articles from July 2021, January 2022, and November 2022.

Acoustic telemetry

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To develop and implement successful management strategies that simultaneously restrict and enable movements of invasive and native species, respectively, an understanding of movement patterns and the drivers of movements is first needed. We acoustically tracked three recreationally-important native fish species, largemouth bass, muskellunge, and northern pike, and two invasive fish species, common carp and round goby.

Mark-recapture 

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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 almost 10,000 fish throughout the waterway. 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 me at carleton.tag@gmail.com.  

Teaching and mentoring experience

Undergraduate Honours Thesis Mentor | 2022-2023

Article topic: A review of navigation locks as a fish connectivity pathway | Carleton University

Invited Contract Instructor | Fall 2022

Course: Environmental Science Field Methods | Queen's University Biological Station (via Carleton University)

Undergraduate course

Contract Instructor | Fall 2022 & 2023 

Course: Environmental Science Seminar | Carleton University

Undergraduate course 

 

Co-Instructor | Fall 2021

Course: Environmental Science Seminar | Carleton University

Undergraduate course 

Invited Lecturer | Fall 2018 & Fall 2019, Spring 2023, Winter 2024

Courses: Environmental Science and Management - Theory and Practice; Conservation Biology; Landscape Ecology | Carleton University

Teaching Assistant

Courses: Foundations of Biology I and II, Fish Ecology, and Herpetology | Carleton University | 2018-present

Course: Fish Biology | University of South Florida | Fall 2015

Undergraduate courses 

PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor | 2013-present                                                                                

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I'm an avid backpacker and have had the pleasure and privilege to spend time in wild places across North America. In 2020, pictured here, I thru-hiked the Nüümü Poyo (also known as the John Muir Trail).

Surgically implanting an acoustic tag into an invasive round goby. Tiny fish call for tiny tags - this tag is about the size of a black bean and weighs 0.28 grams. 

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Floy tagging black bass at a Bass Anglers Association tournament. 

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