Research priorities

Thousand Islands National Park

Priority Research Interests

Thousand Islands National Park is one of the most biologically diverse national parks in Canada. With an  extension of the Canadian Shield extending right through the park and the St. Lawrence River creating a micro-climate, the area is rich with varied habitats and biodiversity. A large number of species are found at the extreme northern extent of their range, many of which are disjunct from their core populations and some of which are demonstrating novel characteristics. 

The park’s land holdings that include 26 islands, 80 islets as well as large mainland properties, create ideal scenarios for researchers to set up strong study designs in a variety of ways. Some of the most remote islands found in southern Ontario serve as exceptional study sites. 

Map turtle with tracker

Park research priorities are derived from needs identified in the Park Management Plan (an updated plan is scheduled for completion in 2022), the Multi-species Action Plan along with other key documents. 

Key Research Priorities:

  1. Assess how climate change will alter the vegetation communities in the park and development of adaption strategies to maintain functional diversity in park ecosystems.
  2. Identify ways to improve and incorporate indigenous knowledge and worldviews into park management and planning. 
  3. Assessing priority ecological linkages that maintain genetic diversity for mobile park species and facilitate wildlife movement in the Algonquin to Adirondack corridor. The effect of roads and habitat loss on these linkages is a key concern. 
  4. Species at Risk studies for herptiles that address questions related to their home ranges, critical habitat, population size and trends, and genetic distinctness. 
  5. Determining the effects of hyper-abundant white-tailed deer on park ecosystems and effective methods for their management. 

Please read Parks Canada’s research permit requirements for details on the research permitting process.

Working with Indigenous Partners

Parks Canada works closely with Indigenous groups across the country. In the spirit of reconciliation, research in Thousand Islands National Park is conducted in a supportive manner with the Mohawks of Akwesasne. 

The Mohawks determine if research projects incorporate their priorities and traditional ecological knowledge components, contextual Indigenous worldviews, ethics, values and processes. The Parks Canada Research Coordinator will assist in making connections with the Mohawks of Akwesasne.

Support Offered to Researchers

  • In-kind support from Parks Canada could include transportation to research sites (especially to islands by boat), provision of office and lab space, access to a comprehensive library, advice and guidance on research design, equipment loans, and limited overnight accommodation.
  • Multi-year data sets available through the Government of Canada’s Open Data site: forest breeding birds; marsh birds; wetland, and stream water quality; EMAN forest plots, amphibian abundance and richness, stream benthic Invertebrates, and deer browse surveys. A variety of geo-spatial resources are available for use.  
  • Supplementary Research Interests

    • Reptile home range, movement patterns, habitat suitability indexes, population size and trends, hibernacula inventory and genetic assessment.
    • Mitigation options to reduce turtle by-catch in commercial fishing nets.
    • Causes of low reproduction in deerberry and efficacy of prescribed fire on deerberry.
    • Invasive species removal efficiencies. Particularly dog-strangling vine for both new and long-established populations.
    • Identify ways to improve incorporation of Traditional Ecological Knowledge into park management and planning, and to incorporate the worldviews of indigenous partners into the narrative of the greater park ecosystem.
    • Deer browse surveys.  A variety of geo-spatial resources are available for use. 
    Contact Information:

    Michael Gemmell, Ecologist Team Lead

    Address: 2 County Rd. 5, Mallorytown, ON K0E 1R0 

    Email: Sheldon Lambert

    Phone: (613) 923-5261 ext. 113

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