University of Calgary

Paul Galpern

  • Associate Professor
  • Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Personal statement

I am a landscape ecologist with research interests related to ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation, agricultural sustainability and ecological methods. 

Much of my lab's research is animated by the overarching question: How will ecosystem services respond to drivers of global change?  My team takes a landscape-scale perspective: (i) measuring the supply of ecosystem services, such as pest control, pollination and crop productivity; (ii) understanding the risks to this supply caused by human-driven landscape changes; and, (iii) identifying pragmatic approaches to increase this supply and ensure its resilience under global change. 

Ecosystem services are sometimes dependent on natural and semi-natural areas that may be at risk from human activity. My team's research also asks: What are the co-benefits to biodiversity of protecting land for its ecosystem services? Identifying such win-win-win scenarios -- for biodiversity, for climate, and for livelihoods -- has great potential to incentivize the conservation and restoration of landscapes for nature.

Our principal focus is on Canadian Prairie agroecosystems, where we collaborate with crop growers to collect data and to ensure the relevance of our research to land use decision-makers. We also study these questions in mountain and urban landscapes.

Work in my lab often has a strong entomological, geospatial, or quantitative emphasis.  Our approach is multidisciplinary, posing questions and drawing on theory in the disciplines of landscape ecology, conservation biology, community ecology, and agricultural sustainability.  To do this work, we incorporate methods from remote sensing, agricultural entomology, agronomy, spatiotemporal statistics, machine learning, and genomics.

Examples of currently active research projects (2021):

  1. Ecosystem services to prairie grain crops provided by insects and other arthropods (e.g., pest control and pollination)
  2. Non-crop vegetation and marginal areas in crop fields as a nature-based solution (for climate and biodiversity objectives)
  3. Pollinator conservation at landscape scales
  4. Climate change impacts on wild bee populations in mountain systems
  5. Methods and applications for emerging spatiotemporal data streams (e.g., from precision agriculture or from smartphones)


B.Sc. (U. Toronto), M.Sc. (U. Toronto), B.Ed. (U. Toronto), Ph.D. (U. Manitoba)

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