Wildlife Change in the Arctic

The Wildlife Change in the Arctic project examines the social and ecological causes and consequences of the North-American beaver Castor canadensis' range expansion.

About the project


With the rapidly shifting climate, arctic wildlife distributions are changing. Some boreal plant and animal species are expanding further north into previously unoccupied territories. Environmental conditions are changing with northward expansion of shrubs and trees and increases in shrub cover.

Beavers are particularly well adapted to these new environmental conditions. New beaver lodges have been reported even further north than current treelines, and at higher elevations, colonising alpine shrub-tundra environments.

Fundamental questions are emerging regarding the drivers of this change and the resulting implications at local, regional and biome levels. We are interested in how rapid climatic, ecological and socio-economic changes in the Arctic affect wildlife behaviour, population ecology, spatial distributions and interactions between species.

Setting an agenda for research priorities


Understanding the causes of change

Get involved

Dr Helen Wheeler welcomes enquiries from prospective PhD students in the areas of her research interests and expertise. She is currently looking to her expand her group and welcomes interest from postdocs who wish to apply for external fellowships. The group is also occasionally able to take on volunteers. Email helen.wheeler@aru.ac.uk for more information.

Project milestones

August 2021: Tsee' team head out to the field

May 2021: Delphi consultation launched for Beavers in the Arctic

Summer 2020: Community researchers conduct fieldwork for ‘Tsee in the Mackenzie Delta

August 2019: Surveys conducted for ‘Tsee in the Mackenzie Delta

July 2019: Preliminary surveys conducted for Beavers in the Yukon

Selected publications

Project team

Key partnerships and collaborations