Congratulations Brandon

Congratulations to Brandon Edwards on being named the winner of the 2019 Taverner Award from the Society of Canadian Ornithologists. The Taverner Award is an annual research award presented by the society to honour the work of Percy A. Taverner, an ornithologist from Guelph, Ontario.

As described on the Society of Canadian Ornithologists website:

Taverner Awards are offered by the SCO-SOC to honour Percy A. Taverner and to further his accomplishments in increasing the knowledge of Canadian birds through research, conservation, and public education. The awards are aimed at people with limited or no access to major funding, regardless of professional status, who are undertaking ornithological work in Canada. Two awards of up to $2,000 each are made annually.

Brandon, a student in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics at the University of Guelph, has been developing environmental agent based models to better understand the impacts of human activities on an endangered shorebird known as the Piping Plover. This work is particularly relevant given the current Ontario Government’s unfortunate decisions around endangered species, and the disregard for Piping Plover (in particular) shown by the Mayor of Sauble Beach.

His winning research proposal “Toward a general Environment Agent-Based Model: Development of an R Package using Great Lakes Piping Plover as a Motivating Example” will allow him to continue this work. His research proposal is below in case you are interested.

Congratulations Brandon. This is quite the achievement (although I can’t say that I’m surprised).


Environment agent-based models (eABMs) are an efficient class of models that can be used for accurate risk assessment of a population of animals. Previous work using an eABM on Sauble Beach piping plovers (Charadrius melodus) has proven successful in demonstrating the negative effects of anthropogenic disturbance and beach grooming on the growth rate of piping plover chicks. This project seeks to continue the development and improvement of the calibrated eABM used on Sauble Beach piping plovers to provide more accurate risk assessment for management decisions at the tourist-heavy beach. Furthermore, using the piping plover eABM as a motivating example, we seek to generalize the eABM framework into an R package for conservation managers to use for other avian or non-avian species, allowing managers to develop and simulate their own scenarios of management decisions for species-at-risk.

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