Conservation Policy

Science can make an important contribution to policy and management of natural resources. I have studied and written about Canadian policy related to fish and wildlife management, prioritizing and funding science, and protected areas planning.

Selected publications

Coristine L, Jacob A, Schuster R, Otto SP, Baron NE, Bennett NJ, Bittck SJ, Dey CJ, et al. 2018. Informing Canada’s commitment to biodiversity conservation: A science-based framework to help guide protected areas designation through Target 1 and beyond. FACETS. 3:532-562

Dey CJ, Hodgson E, Jacob A, Polfus J, Provencher J & Yurkowski D. 2018. Recommendations for the Arctic Policy Framework Review from researchers that work with Canada’s northern communities. Liber Ero Blog

In the media

Read about science gaps in the Canadian Arctic 

Read about our suggestions for federal Arctic policy


This work has involved collaboration with many scientists and managers from the Canadian federal government (e.g. Jennifer Provencher, Samuel Iverson, Marten Koops, Jon Midwood), academics (David Yurkowski, Jean Polfus, Emma Hodgson, Sally Otto, Wendy Palen) and environmental NGOs (Aerin Jacob).


Climate Change and Arctic Wildlife

I have conducted field studies in the Canadian Arctic and used long-term datasets to predict the effects of sea ice decline on Arctic wildlife. This research aims to understand how ecosystems will shift under climate change.

Selected publications

Dey CJ, Semeniuk CAD, Iverson SA, Richardson E, McGeachy D & Gilchrist HG. 2018. Forecasting the outcome of multiple effects of climate change on northern common eiders. Biological Conservation

Dey CJ, Richardson E, McGeachy D, Gilchrist HG & Semeniuk CAD. 2017. Increasing nest predation will be insufficient to maintain polar bear body condition in the face of sea-ice loss. Global Change Biology

In the media

Read about our field work in Canadian Geographic 

Read about eider down in Hakai magazine


This research involves a diverse group of partner including Canadian government scientists and policy experts (Grant Gilchrist, Evan Richardson, Samuel Iverson), academic partners (Christina Semeniuk, Oliver Love, Kyle Elliot, Mark Forbes, Joël Bêty), Inuit partners (the Nunavut Inuit Wildlife Secretariat, Hunters and Trappers Associations in Coral Harbour, Cape Dorset, Kimmirut and Sanikiluaq) and many important funders (Environment and Climate Change Canada, Mitacs, Baffinland, Liber Ero, NSERC, PEW Charitable Trust, Oceans North).


Evolution of Animal Traits

Environments determine how traits influence survival and reproduction. My research investigates why different species have different morphological and behavioural traits, how environmental change influences trait evolution, and how multiple traits co-evolve.

Selected publications

Dey CJ, O’Connor CM, Wilkinson H, Shultz S, Balshine S & Fitzpatrick JL. 2017. Direct benefits and evolutionary transitions to complex societies. Nature Ecology & Evolution

Dale J, Dey CJ, Delhey K, Kempenaers B & Valcu M. 2015. The effects of life-history and social selection on male and female plumage coloration. Nature

In the media

Read about the evolution of bird color in The Economist

Listen to an interview I gave to Radio Canada International


This research involves collaborations with James Dale (Massey University), John Fitzpatrick (Stockholm University), Bart Kempenaers (Max Planck) and Sigal Balshine (McMaster University). It is primarily funded through NSERC and the New Zealand Marsden Fund.


Social Behaviour

Animals spend much of their time interacting with other members of their species. I have been studying how parental care, sexual behaviour and social competition influence reproduction, survival and evolution in a variety of vertebrate species. 

Selected publications

Reddon AR, Dey CJ & Balshine. 2019. Submissive behaviour is mediated by sex, social status, relative body size, and shelter availability in a social fish. Animal Behaviour

Dey CJ, Dale J and Quinn JS. 2014. Manipulating the appearance of a badge of status causes changes in true badge expression. Proceedings of the Royal Society B

In the media

Listen to me talk about social signalling on Quirks and Quarks

Watch a video about my research on avian communication


This research is in collaboration with James Quinn and Sigal Balshine (McMaster University), and Adam Reddon (Liverpool John Moores University). It is primarily funded by NSERC.