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Amy Thorkelson

Amy Thorkelson Title: Graduate Student
Room: 4CM52
Building: Centennial Hall
Email: thorkelson-a@webmail.uwinnipeg.ca

Degree: Master of Science
Thesis: Implications of Climate Change for Endangered Prairie Butterflies
Supervisor: Dr. Richard Westwood & Dr. Katherine Dearborn
Entry: Fall 2022

Research Interests:
I am interested in investigating the impact of weather and climate change on the abundances and ranges of three endangered skipper butterflies; Dakota skipper, Poweshiek skipperling, and Mottled duskywing. There is currently considerable uncertainty as to why these species have experienced drastic declines in abundance and range, and the impact of climate change has not yet been explored, presenting a challenge for conservation efforts. If current ranges are to become climatically inhospitable in the near future, habitat may need to be conserved or managed in other regions as ranges shift. Understanding the extent to which climate governs skipper population dynamics will help ensure viable, climatically hospitable habitat can be identified, managed, and protected in the future.

In 2022 I completed by BSc in Environmental Science (Global Systems) at the University of Winnipeg. During my time here I completed a Research Assistant position with Dr. Dearborn and Dr. Westwood helping with their work on skipper habitat research. The next summer I worked with the Assiniboine Park Zoo as a Conservation Assistant on skipper husbandry and other conservation efforts. The culmination of these experiences, my love for the prairies and the natural world, and my passion for climate change research led me to my current project. I am thrilled to be working on a project that has real world applications and incorporates the ever-growing threat of climate change into conservation.