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Marina Silva-Opps

BSc, PhD
Associate Professor
Phone: 
(902) 566-0602
Department: 
Biology
Office: 
Duffy Science Centre, 441
Education: 
BSc (Montreal)
PhD (Montreal)

Dr. Silva-Opps, a terrestrial ecologist, investigates how landscape structure, including habitat fragmentation caused largely by human activity, affects the abundance, diversity, and movement of mammals, birds, and amphibians. She also examines the ecological role of body size and how this morphological characteristic relates to the abundance, energy use, and movement of animal species.

Says Dr. Silva-Opps, "I am a terrestrial ecologist with research interests in macroecology and conservation biology. Macroecology is a new field of research that investigates biogeographical and ecological patterns and processes on a large spatial scale. Macroecological studies substitutes microscale manipulative experiments by comparative statistical methods. In particular, my research focuses on the study of the implications of the spatial scale and habitat fragmentation on the patterns of abundance and diversity of mammal populations.

"I obtained my BSc and PhD from the Université de Montréal, Québec. I have been a faculty member at the University of Prince Edward Island since July 1996. At UPEI, I teach several courses and supervise Honours students."

General Ecology (BIO-222)

This course introduces and discusses the basic themes and concepts of ecology. Students examine the hierarchy of ecology by investigating individual organisms, populations, communities and ecosystems. Topics include paleoecology, biogeography, patterns of local and global diversity, direct and indirect community interactions, disturbance and succession, and landscape ecology.

Community Ecology and Biogeography (BIO-301)
The emphasis throughout this course is on the regional and local factors affecting the distribution, abundance and composition of plant and animal communities. Topics include paleoecology, biogeography, patterns of local and global diversity, direct and indirect community interactions, disturbance and succession, and landscape ecology.

Population and Conservation Ecology (BIO-302)
This course examines several major and new themes in population and conservation ecology. The topics of study include population growth and dynamics, methods of population estimation, rarity, exploitation, habitat fragmentation, gene pool, inbreeding and nature reserves.

Mammalogy (BIO-451)

This course introduces the biology of mammals, and emphasizes classification, identification, distribution, reproduction, behaviour and economic considerations. Laboratory exercises include several projects involving field work with the mammals of P.E.I. A presentation, The Mammals of Prince Edward Island: Diversity and Conservation is here.

Papers Published or Accepted

  • Silva, M. Abundance, diversity and community structure of small mammals in forest fragments in Prince Edward Island National Park, Canada (accepted in Canadian Journal of Zoology).
  • Dobson, F.S., Zinner, B., Silva, M. Testing models of biological scaling with mammalian population densities (accepted in Journal of Theoretical Biology).
  • Silva, M., Brimacombe, M., Downing, J.A. Effects of body mass, climate, geography, and census area on population density of terrestrial mammals. Global Ecology and Biogeography (in press).
  • Silva, M., Cameron, J., Puddister, C. Small mammal abundance and community composition in Prince Edward Island National Park, Prince Edward Island. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 114, 26-33 (2000).
  • Silva, M. The scaling of mammal body length: The morphological design of mammals. Journal of Mammalogy. 79, 20-32 (1998).
  • Silva, M., Brown, J.H., Downing, J.A. Differences in population density and energy use between birds and mammals: a macroecological perspective. Journal of Animal Ecology. 66, 327-340 (1997).
  • Silva, M., Downing, J.A. The allometric scaling of density and body mass: A non-linear relationship for terrestrial mammals. American Naturalist. 145, 704-727 (1995).
  • Silva, M., Downing, J.A. Allometric scaling of minimal, rare and endangered mammal densities. Conservation Biology. 8, 732-743 (1994).

Other Publications: 

Book:

  • Silva, M., Downing, J.A. CRC handbook of mammalian body masses. CRC Press Inc., Boca Raton, Florida (1995).

Reports:

  • Silva, M., Teather, K.L., Field, S.A., and L.A. Hartling. Distribution and abundance of amphibians in Prince Edward Island. Report in Ecosystem Science, Parks Canada, Atlantic Region, 91 pp. (2001).
  • Silva, M., Hariharan, S., MacCallum, A. The effects of habitat fragmentation by utility corridors and agriculture on the abundance, diversity and distribution of small mammals in the Prince Edward Island National Park. Report in Ecosystem Science, Parks Canada, Atlantic Region, 133 pp. (2000).
  • Silva, M. Impact of habitat fragmentation on the abundance, distribution and density of the small mammal species of the Prince Edward Island National Park. Report in Ecosystem Science, Parks Canada, Atlantic Region, 54 pp. (1999).
  • Silva, M. Patterns of distribution and abundance in populations of small mammals in Prince Edward Island National Park: Habitat fragmentation and community structure. Report submitted to Parks Canada, Atlantic Region, 21 pp. (1998).