Karen Hodges


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, grasslands 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 University of British Columbia
B.A. Summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi. Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts

Research Interests & Projects

Please see my research website for details.

Selected Publications & Presentations

Please see my research website.

Selected Grants & Awards

Fellow, Aldo Leopold Leadership Program, 2006.

Professional Services/Affiliations/Committees

Senior Editor, Biodiversity and Conservation


Walker, C. CBC Radio, Daybreak South, Kelowna. 28 August 2019. Interview about wildfires in the Amazon.

Abedi, M. Global News. 26 August 2019. World leaders pledge millions for Amazon wildfires, but experts say it’s not just about money.

Strachan, B. CBC Radio, Daybreak South, Kelowna. 18 April 2019. Interview about Earth Day and species conservation in British Columbia.

Penton, S. CBC, Radio West, 30 October 2018.  Interview about scientists’ advice for BC’s drafting of an Endangered Species Law.

Kelly, A.  23 June 2017.  Species at Risk Act failing to protect critical habitat, study says. www.CBC.ca (British Columbia).

McArthur, A.. Global BC1 (TV), “Prime with Aaron McArthur.”   30 March 2015, for a story on the impacts of climate change on species in British Columbia.

Luke, P.  The Province.   30 March 2015  “Sharks, snakes and giant squid: climate change drives exotic species north”, a story on the impacts of climate change on species in British Columbia.


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