Researcher Profile

Dr. Stephen J. Hecner

Job Title: Assistant Professor
Employer: Department of Biology, Lakehead University
Place of Birth: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Public School attended: Roseland
High School attended: W.D. Lowe Technical School
Further Education: Lakehead University (B.Sc.), University of Windsor (M.Sc., Ph.D.).
Geographic focus of research: Ontario, US

Brief synopsis of current research:
In my research I describe and explain patterns of diversity in amphibian and reptile communities. I do this by conducting surveys and experiments on a variety of scales, from determining thhe assemblage of species at individual ponds, determining regional faunas, and ultimately to investigating patterns of distribution on continental and global scales. I try to uncover which factors structure these communities and determine the relative importance of local habitat characteristics versus regional landscape features. Because of their characteristics, amphibians make excellent indicators of ecosystem health in both aquatic and terrestrial habitat. Gaining an understanding of the ecology of amphibians and their conservation is important in light of concerns regarding global amphibian decline.

Mailing address:
Department of Biology, Lakehead University, 955 Oliver Road, Thunder Bay, ON, P7B 5E1

Recent Publications:

Hecnar, S.J. 1999. Patterns of turtle species' geographic range size and a test of Rapoport's rule. Ecography. 22:446-456.

Hecnar, S.J., and R.T. M'Closkey. 1998. Species richness patterns of amphibians in southwestern Ontario ponds. Journal of Biogeography 25:763-772.

Hecnar, S.J., and R.T. M'Closkey. 1997. The effects of predatory fish on amphibian species richness and distribution. Biological Conservation 79:123-131.

Hecnar, S.J., and R.T. M'Closkey. 1996. Amphibian species richness and distribution in relation to pond water chemistry in south-western Ontario, Canada. Freshwater Biology 36:7-15.

Hecnar, S.J., And R.T. M'Closkey. 1996. Regional dynamics and the status of amphibians. Ecology 77:2091-2097.

All life on earth is dependent on water. Students who have an intense interest in nature and science would find careers in aquatic sciences rewarding. I work in this field because it is challenging and it provides the opportunity to make discoveries and communicate knowledge about the natural world. Doing work that benefits society by advancing knowledge and helping to conserve species and their habitats is very rewarding.