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Andrea Norris (Alumni)

Andrea Norris (Post-Doctoral Fellow)

Andrea Norris

Many common birds across North America are exhibiting alarming population declines. These community-wide declines are primarily the results of habitat loss and climate change, and the interaction of these two factors. Large, infrequent, abrupt disturbance events such as insect outbreaks and fire regulate many communities of forest-dependent birds and mammals, but the intensity and severity of events are increasing with climate change. It is imperative to understand and communicate the effects of these large-scale habitat perturbations for effective community-wide conservation.

I am a community ecologist with broad interests in ecology and conservation. Primarily, I am interested in understanding how disturbance events influence direct and indirect relationships within forest bird communities, and applying this knowledge to conservation goals. For my PDF, I investigated how large-scale forest insect outbreaks influence resource limitation and species interactions within cavity-nesting communities, in British Columbia, Canada. A large proportion of forest birds and mammals reproduce in tree cavities produced by woodpeckers, and interact with one another in an ecological network, or nest web. As many species in the nest web are insectivores and readily respond to disturbance events, the nest web is an ideal system in which to examine the effects of insect outbreaks on community dynamics.

I received my BSc in Biology from the University of Victoria. I completed my M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees under the supervision of Dr. Kathy Martin at UBC. Although most of my fieldwork was conducted in interior British Columbia, the heart of the mountain pine beetle outbreak, I have traveled from the Yukon to Argentina for adventures in fieldwork and networking with other scientists, during my graduate studies. I have worked with research scientists and biologists from the federal and provincial governments, and members of the forest industry to apply my research to advance forest conservation policy.

Please visit my website for more information about my research


Journal publications and book chapters

  • Vellend, M., Srivastava, D. S., Anderson, K. M., Brown, C. D., Jankowski, J.E., Kleynhans, E. J., Kraft, N. J. B., Letaw, A. D., Macdonald, A. A. M., Maclean, J. E., Myers-Smith, I. H., Norris, A. R. and Xue, X. 2014. Assessing the relative importance of neutral stochasticity in ecological communities. Oikos. doi: 10.1111/oik.01493
  • Norris, A.R., and Martin, K. 2014. Direct and indirect effects of an insect outbreak increase the reproductive output for an avian insectivore, the red-breasted nuthatch Sitta canadensis. Journal of Avian Biology, 45: 280–290.
  • Norris, A. R., Drever, M. C., and Martin, K. (2013) Insect outbreaks increase populations and facilitate reproduction in a cavity-dependent songbird, the Mountain Chickadee Poecile gambeli. Ibis, 155: 165–176.
  • Norris. A. R., and K. Martin. (2013) Red-breasted nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) increases cavity excavation in response to a mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) outbreak. Ecoscience, 19: 308-315.
  • Norris, A.R., Cockle, K.L., and Martin, K. (2010) Evidence for tolerance of parasitism in a tropical cavity-nesting bird, planalto woodcreeper (Dendrocolaptes platyrostris), in northern Argentina. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 26:619-626. pdf (English) (pdf-Spanish)
  • Norris, A.R., and Martin, K. (2010) The perils of plasticity: dual resource pulses increase facilitation but destabilize populations of small-bodied cavity-nesters. Oikos, 119:1126–1135. pdf
  • Norris, A.R., and Martin, K. (2008) Mountain pine beetle presence affects nest patch choice of red-breasted nuthatches. Journal of Wildlife Management. 72:733–737. pdf
  • Drever, M.C., Aitken, K.E.H., Norris, A.R., Martin, K. (2008) Woodpeckers as reliable indicators of bird richness, forest health and harvest. Biological Conservation. 141:624-634. pdf
  • Martin, K., and Norris, A.R. (2007) Life in the small-bodied cavity nester guild: Demography of sympatric Mountain and Black-capped Chickadees within Nest Web communities under changing habitat conditions. Chapter 8, in Otter, K. (Ed.). Ecology and Behavior of Chickadees and Titmice: An integrated approach, Oxford Univ. Press.pdf
  • Mennill, D.J., Burg, T.M., Curry, R.L., Martin, K., Norris, A.R., L. Ratcliffe, M.W. Reudink, L.M. Rossano, and K. A. Shubert. (2007) Parid reproductive behavior. Chapter 9, in Otter, K. (Ed.). Ecology and Behavior of Chickadees and Titmice: An integrated approach, Oxford Univ. Press.
  • Martin, K., Norris, A.R., and Drever, M. (2006) Effects of bark beetle outbreaks on avian biodiversity in the British Columbia interior: Implications for critical habitat management. BC Journal of Ecosystem Management. 7:10-24. pdf
  • Robinson, P.A., Norris, A.R., and Martin, K. (2005) Interspecific nest sharing by Red-breasted Nuthatch and Mountain Chickadee. Wilson Bulletin. 117: 400-402. pdf

 Technical reports and outreach publications

  • Dordel, J., J. Wilson, A. Norris, L. Lavkulich, and S. Simard. (2013) Talking Science: Telling our stories. Policy Options, 34: 12-14.
  • Norris, A.R., and Cockle, K. (2010) Cavity-nesting communities in the subtropical Atlantic forest of northern Argentina. Branchlines, 21: 15-17. Pdf
  • Davidson, P., Drever, M., Martin, K., Norris, A., and Wiebe, K. (2009) Keystone carpenters: secrets of our forest engineers. Birdwatch Canada, 49: 8-9. Pdf
  • Wells, R., A. R. Norris, N. Mahony, K. Stuart-Smith, and K. De Groot. (2008) Incidental Take and Protecting Habitat for Migratory Birds:An East Kootenay Pilot Project. Forest Science Program Project Y08206.
  • Norris, A.R., Drever, M., and Martin, K. (2007) Avian species distribution patterns in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region of British Columbia, Canada: Community composition in relation to habitat characteristics. Environment Canada Technical report #K8A30-06-0044. 24 pp.
  • Martin, K., M.D. Mossop, K.E.H. Aitken, and A.R. Norris. (2004). Nest Webs: The Structure and Function of Cavity Nesting and Songbird Communities in Unmanaged Stands, and Responses to Harvesting Treatments and Forest Health Dynamics in Cariboo-Chilcotin Forests. Centre for Applied Conservation Research, University of British Columbia, Canadian Wildlife Service, Pacific and Western Region, Technical Report.
  • Campbell, R.W., A.R. Norris, M.L. Funk, and J.V. Kimm. (2000). British Columbia nest record scheme. 45th annual report–1999 nesting season. Wild Bird Trust of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC Wildl. Rep. 6.

Submitted manuscripts

  • Norris, A.R., S. Pokorny, K. E. H. Aitken, and K. Martin. Evaluating nest box addition as a population augmentation strategy for Tree Swallows, Tachycineta bicolor. Revisions submitted to Journal of Field Ornithology, September 2014.

In the works

  • Norris, A.R., and K. Martin. A bark beetle outbreak leads to increased fecundity, and ameliorates nest predation for an  insectivorous secondary cavity-nesting bird


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