Heather MP Coffey, M.Sc.

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Ms. Coffey brings terrestrial ecology to our team, with field experience in biodiversity monitoring. Most recently, she has been working on assessing Ottawa's air quality using lichens. Her keen understanding of both conservation management and agricultural systems is based on fieldwork in Ontario and Québec, British Columbia, Scotland and Mexico. She has a background in environmental studies, with experience spanning from urban planning to anthropology. Comfortable working in multi-disciplinary teams, she is particularly interested in understanding ecological systems through both natural and social science methodology.

Ms. Coffey has a strong background in data management and analysis, having worked as a research assistant on projects over the last five years. She brings editing, graphing and statistical analysis skills to RNT. She has strong public outreach skills for disseminating research results, and also brings French bilingualism. She has experience in lichen monitoring for air quality, and lichen identification.

Academic Background

  • Master of Science, Landscape Ecology (Carleton University, Ottawa)
  • Bachelor of Arts and Science, Environment (McGill University, Montreal)

Professional Experience

RNT Consulting, Associate

  • Data management and analysis
  • Technical writing and editing
  • Website maintenance

Canadian Museum of Nature, Botany Assistant

  • Curation of lichen collections, preparation of specimens for exchange, and mounting of lichen specimens for herbarium.
  • Overseeing of lichen administrative process, and implementation of improvements.
  • Data management for the upcoming publication of Flora of the Canadian Arctic .
  • Created a lichen scavenger hunt & matching game for young visitors (approx. 200) of the Canadian Museum of Nature, and spent two days speaking to the public bilingually.

Carleton University, Graduate Researcher

  • Experience planning three field seasons: background research, proposal writing, site selection, methodology development, data collection, data management and analysis, report writing.
  • Familiar with diverse terrestrial ecological methods from tracking tubes to lichen ladders.
  • Landowner permissions, permits and equipment acquisition.
  • Recruitment and co-ordination of research assistants and volunteers.
  • Advanced ecological analysis using Excel, R, ArcGIS, ArcCatalogue, SPSS.
  • Effective scientific writing.
  • Coordinated paper discussions for the Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Laboratory’s graduate students, professors and research associates.
  • Attended multiple lichen field courses: Lichens on the Atlantic West Coast of Scotland, Lichen Ecology in Maine, and Crustose Lichens of Coastal Maine.
  • Workshop participant and data management for “The Lichens of Bruce Peninsula National Park and Five Fathom National Marine Park”, final report of the 2008 Tuckerman Workshop.

Carleton University, Teaching Experience

  • Teaching assistant for Plant Form and Function, Evolutionary Concepts and Natural History classes. Prepared and graded assignments, directed paper discussion seminars with graded participation, and provided classroom audio-visual support.
  • Ran a guest “Lichen Lab” in the Algae and Fungi course at Ottawa University.
  • Initiated and ran a week long hands-on introduction to ecology for high school students to be given by the Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Laboratory. Handled all logistics for the course (audio-visual equipment, permission slips, integration into Campus wide programme).
  • French tour guide at Carleton Butterfly Show.
  • Morning of activities for Macoun Field Club for Young Naturalists (part of the Ottawa Field Naturalists club, group of 15 of mixed ages).

McGill University, Undergraduate Researcher

  • Familiarity with survey methodologies from social Geography and Anthropology.
  • Initiated and coordinated a team of seven undergraduate researchers to assess the feasibility of integrating lichens into conservation and management plans of the Appalachian Corridor Appalachien (ACA).
  • Developed an Air Quality Index for the streets of Victoria, BC based on urban form.
  • Diverse course work in Environment, Biology, Geography, Anthropology, Agriculture and Urban Planning.

McGill University, Undergraduate Research Assistant

  • Background research, fieldwork protocol development, and fieldwork for an anthropology project in Arantepaqua, Mexico.
  • Background research for ecological urban planning and architecture projects.

Publications and Presentations

  • Coffey, H.M.P. and L. Fahrig. 2012. Relative effects of vehicle pollution, moisture and colonization sources on urban lichens. Journal of Applied Ecology 49: 467-1474.
  • Coffey, H.M.P. and L. Fahrig. 2010. Relative effects of vehicle pollution, moisture and colonization sources on urban lichens. Poster at US-International Association of Landscape Ecology Symposium, Portland, Oregon.
  • Coffey, H.M.P. (ed.) 2010 IMC9 contributions supported by BLS travel grants British Lichen Society Bulletin 107: 20-31.
  • Coffey, H.M.P. and L. Fahrig. 2010. Relative effects of vehicle pollution, moisture and colonization sources on urban lichens. Poster at 9th International Mycological Congress, Edinburgh, Scotland. Best Poster Award (20 out of 1200).
  • Coffey, H.M.P., L. Boisvert-Marsh, A. Giulietti, N. James, S. Mazowita, J. Pelletier, and E. Wanless. S. de Blois, project supervisor. 2007 Exploring Lichen Diversity in Conservation. McGill School of Environment and Appalachian Corridor Appalachien. McGill University, Montreal, Quebec. 24 p. + appendices.