The annual ASPB conference continues building

professional competence and capacity.

The theme this year is


at the Red Deer Resort & Casino

on November 6, 7, 8, 2024


The Call for Abstracts for the ASPB 2024 Conference opened on March 1st. The ASPB is looking for abstracts focused on wetlands, wildlife, aquatics, rec/rem, sustainability, renewables, and professional practice and advancements in the field of biology. 250 - 500 word abstracts should be sent to Jessica Koehli.

The deadline to receive abstracts is May 31, 2024.

Submitted abstracts will be reviewed within one to two weeks after the deadline, following which the authors or presenters of potential abstracts will be contacted for a short online interview.

Student Undertakes Innovative Soil Research at the UofA

Stephanie Ibsen is a graduate student at the University of Alberta, and she is passionate about soil: “Everyone says space is the final frontier, but it’s soil! There are soil invertebrate groups, like beetles and ants, that are relatively well studied and understood from both a taxonomic and ecological perspective. Comparatively, there are other hyper-diverse soil invertebrate groups where large knowledge gaps and unknown species introduce challenges when assessing suitability as an indicator in environmental monitoring. This creates an implicit experimenter bias.

“In our research we looked at all major soil invertebrate groups collected walking along the soil surface, in the leaf litter, and in the top 10 cm of soil. We left our experimenter bias at the door. And only after extensive sampling over two growing seasons did we narrow our focus to one soil invertebrate group in particular: the mites. Did you know 70% of soil mite species in

Canada have been estimated to be undiscovered?

“It's also innovative that in my research program, sharing and publishing results in a scientific journal has not been the dominant priority. While peer reviewed publications are important, other types of science communication including talks at the Edmonton Public Library, presentations for the Alberta Institute of Agrologists, publishing in the Nature Alberta magazine, and engaging with industry have been critical throughout my research.”

The above is an excerpt from the CLRA Student Relations Newsletter, Winter 2024.



Here are some favourite memories:

Allicia Irwin

received the 2023 ASPB Conference Scholarship.

Nikki Copeland and Bruce Cole of AltaLink (2023 conference scholarship sponsor) celebrate with scholarship winner Allicia Irwin (centre).



This year, conference donations in lieu of speaker gifts are being sent to Scientists in Schools, the Alberta Women's Science Network, and Nature Alberta. Thank you to the conference attendees and speakers for making this a possibility!

The total number of attendees was 277, including 6 students and 34 sponsors. There were 42 presentations and six workshops, including panelists and keynote presenters.

Thank you to everyone who filled out the conference survey. (Professional Biologist Abbie Stewart won the draw prize, filling out the survey in the month of December! If you have not filled out the survey and would still like to do so, please follow this link.


The 2023 photo contest top 10 photos are available to view on the ASPB conference web page, HERE, and we have reproduced first and second place winners below, by K. Schiller Deorksen and Damon Waselenchuk respectively:



First Place Winner: Great Horned Owl by K. Schiller Deorksen

Second Place Winner: Prairie Rattlesnake by Damon Waselenchuk

Ramping Up Student Engagement

In 2024, the ASPB continues to increase engagement with post-secondary schools to connect with professors and students about what it means to be a regulated professional, why it is important for students to understand what their options are, and what they need (in relation to courses) to set themselves up for success if being a Professional Biologist is part of their career path. 


The future of student engagement at the ASPB will include classroom presentations, scholarships and ambassador opportunities. In this school year so far, we have visited the University of Calgary, Red Deer PolyTechnic, Ambrose University, Mount Royal University, and Olds College. For more information, please keep an eye on the ASPB’s Student webpage HERE or reach out to Jessica Koehli at


Kate Rutherford receives

ASPB Robin Leech Scholarship

The ASPB Robin Leech Graduate Scholarship in Biological Sciences is awarded to students with superior academic achievement who are registered full time in a graduate degree program in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta. To be eligible to receive the award, a student’s research must focus on animal biology, invertebrate biology, ecology or plant biology.

The 2023 recipient of the award is Kate Rutherford, in the second year of her Master’s degree at the Department of Biological Sciences; her thesis will assess and provide preliminary information about the abundance, distribution, and relative degree of habituation of Roosevelt elk on Vancouver Island to support their management. She has collected her data over 2 years using remote cameras on the edges of crop fields and through reports from local citizens and landowners. Her research is rooted in human-wildlife conflict management; she comments, “receiving the ASPB Robin Leech Graduate Scholarship in Biological Sciences has both relieved financial burden and given me the confidence and motivation to continue striving for excellence in my Master’s degree. (Again) thank you for your vote of confidence in me and for your thoughtful and generous support.”


Here is the 2023 line-up:

(The schedule with topics is available HERE)


Vanessa Swarbrick, PhD

Nikki Copeland, M.E.Des., P. Biol.

Kristie Derkson, P. Biol.

Victoria M. Lukasik, PhD, P. Biol.

Kirsten Pearson, P. Biol., R.P.Bio.

Andy Edeburn, P. Biol.

Brandy Faris

Tyne Baker, M.Sc., P. Biol., R.P.Bio.

Elizabeth W. Murray, Ph.D., P. Biol., R.P.Bio.

Murdoch McKinnon, PhD Candidate

Lisa Bridges, M.Sc., P. Biol.

Agnes Wajda-Plytta P. Biol.

Cassie Stevenson, M.Sc.

Kalina Noel, M.E. Des., P. Biol., R.P.Bio.

Corrina Copp, M.Sc.

Greg Courtice, PhD., P.Eng.

Rebecca Stanton

Kim MacKenzie, P. Biol.

Corey Stefura, P. Biol.

Nikki Copeland, M.E.Des., P. Biol.

Jessica Koehli, BIT

Collen Middleton, R.P.Bio., P. Biol.

Suzanne Stevenson, P. Biol.

Kush Patel, B.Sc, A.I.T.

Anthony Knafla, P. Biol.

Cindy Kemper, P.Biol.

Steven Tannas, PhD., P.Ag

Anna Ciecka

Sean Huang

Melanie Daniels, BSc.

Shona Derlukewich, B.Sc., P. Biol., QAES

Brandon Allen, M.Sc.

Anne Hubbs

Emily Harrison, BIT

Katrina Sharko, P.Ag.

Adam Martinson

Joelle Lemmen-Lechelt, PhD., P. Biol.

Robin Reese, P. Biol., RBio

Robyn Anderson, P. Biol., A.P.

Emily Kabotoff, P. Biol.

Kim Lamontagne, RTAg

Jane L. Watson, TD

Adam Burton, TD

David Smith, TD

Banquet Speakers

Colin and Julie Angus

Keynote Speaker

Markham Hislop

(Energy/Climate Journalist)

Conference Committee

Andy Edeburn, P. Biol. (Chair)

Victoria M. Lukasik, PhD, P. Biol.

Kristie Derkson, P. Biol.

Nikki Copeland, M.E.Des., P. Biol.

Administrative Support

Dean Falkenberg, P. Biol. (E.D., Registrar)

Janet Bauman, P. Biol. (Deputy Registrar)

Jessica Koehli, P. Biol. (Conference Manager)

Lazar Ceklic (Regulatory Assistant)

Peter Kingsmill (Publications Editor)


Avian Nest Surveys:

Industry, Consulting and Regulatory Perspectives. Moderated by Andy Edeburn (ASPB President) with panelists Nikki Copeland, Kristie Derkson, Victoria Lukasik and Kirsten Pearson. 

Find all the Humans!

Tyne Baker led the presentation, "Find all the Humans: Developing a Machine- learned Model to Improve Human Privacy in Open-source Bioacoustic Datasets", as well as presenting a workshop on Friday, "Overwhelming to Understanding: Machine-powered Species ID for Large Audio-visual Datasets."

Sponsor Booths Were Popular Places for Visiting

Benjamin Misener and Anna Ciecka were busy hosting delegates at the WEST booth. (Anna had travelled from Bloomington, Indiana to present at the conference!)



Stonecourt Studio design with ABMI photo

All other photos (except contest winners) by Jessica Koehli


In Alberta, Professional Biologists are registrants of the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists (ASPB), and are subject to a code of ethics, continuing competency requirements, and a disciplinary process. The ASPB is a self-regulated organization under legislation in the Province of Alberta, meaning its purpose is to protect the public of Alberta by ensuring biologists are qualified to practice biology in accordance with that legislation. The society is governed by a Board of Directors elected by its registrants.

You are probably receiving this newsletter because you are an ASPB Registrant. This newsletter provides relevant information and professional development opportunities for our members, as well as essential member-related society business; if you are registered with the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists, please DO NOT unsubscribe.

For more information about the Society or to contact the administration, please visit the website:

Opinions and general news published in this e-newsletter

do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the Society or its Board of Directors.