As some of the world’s rarest species, freshwater semi-aquatic mammals live in some of its most threatened habitats. Along with well-known species, such as the platypus, beavers, the common hippopotamus, and otters, there are more than 140 species of mammals around the globe that make freshwater habitats their home. This talk introduces you to how semi-aquatic mammals from around the world thrive in the intermediate realm between fully aquatic and fully terrestrial species. Their physical and behavioural adaptations have perplexed scientists for centuries and pushed our understanding of evolution along the way. Semi-aquatic mammals also show us the precarious nature of our natural world, and how concerted conservation efforts can overcome even the most daunting challenges.
Dr. Glynnis Hood is an ecologist and Professor of Environmental Science at the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus in Camrose. Prior to signing on with the university, she worked for 24 years in various protected areas, from Canada’s west coast to the subarctic. In July 2007, she left a 19-year career with Parks Canada’s warden service and followed her passion for teaching and research. Her research interests include aquatic ecology, wildlife ecology, and natural resource management. She is the author of Semi-aquatic mammals: Ecology and Biology and The Beaver Manifesto.