Karen Hodges

Professor, Associate Head Grad Studies

Office: SCI 382
Phone: 250.807.8763
Email: karen.hodges@ubc.ca

Graduate student supervisor

Research Summary

Ecology; conservation biology; effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on behaviour and population dynamics; predator-prey dynamics; extinction risks; species-at-risk legislation; wildfires and wildlife; biosolids and wildlife.

Courses & Teaching

Conservation Biology; Science Writing; Spatial Ecology.


Human activities are causing species extinctions, extensive loss of habitats, damage to existing wild areas, and global changes in climate that are altering the distribution, abundance, and persistence of many species. Further, increases in fire frequency, severity, and size are structuring forest landscapes for decades to come.

As a conservation ecologist, I focus my research on how range position and habitat configuration affect species interactions and endangerment of at-risk species. I am particularly interested in understanding population dynamics at the periphery of species’ ranges, as these populations may either be more vulnerable to the various threats facing many of the world’s species or may contribute to range expansions as species respond to rapid climate change. The majority of my field-based research projects examine terrestrial vertebrates in western montane forests and the sage-steppe habitats within British Columbia. I’m interested in how fires and human activities enable or prevent imperiled species from persisting in these landscapes.

Current and recent projects in my lab focus on snowshoe hares, lynx, bobcats, owls and raptors, marten, caracal, small mammals, bats, grassland insects, and songbirds. Previous students have worked on small mammals, plants, turtles, and snakes.

Research projects by people in my lab group often require demographic, behavioural, genetic, or GIS tools to examine how species respond to different habitat types and landscape patterns. Other projects address the scientific effectiveness of conservation laws and policies, particularly the critical habitat provisions of the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the Canadian Species at Risk Act.


Research Website


PhD, Zoology, University of British Columbia
B.A. Summa cum laude, Biology and English, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi. Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts

Research Interests & Projects

Research Website

Selected Publications & Presentations

Research Website

Selected Grants & Awards

Research Website

Professional Services/Affiliations/Committees

Senior Editor, Biodiversity and Conservation


Alam, H. 23 August 2021. Impact of fires on wildlife needs study as blazes get bigger and hotter, says expert. Canadian Press.

Joseph, R. CBC Radio, All Points West, Victoria, aired 23 August 2021, on mountains, wildlife, and climate change.

Joyce, S. CBC radio, Daybreak Kamloops, 8 July 2021, on wildlife and wildfire.

Lirette, D. CBC radio Daybreak South, Kelowna.7 July 2021, on wildlife and wildfire.

Junos, K. CityNews Vancouver. 4 July 2021, on summer wildfire risk.

Fundal, F. CBC Prince George, 24 Sept 2020, on wildfires, salvage logging, and wildlife.

Walker, C. CBC Kelowna, 24 Sept 2020, on wildfires, salvage logging, and wildlife.

Shea, C. Readers Digest Canada, June 2020, “Ask an Expert” story on global wildfires.

Rabson, M. 8 January 2020. Canada offers more aid for Australia as bushfires burn across country. Canadian Press.

Thompson, S. Radio, 900CHML, Hamilton ON. 28 August 2019, on wildfires in the Amazon.



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