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Eminent biologist wins Northern Research award


Toronto, ON – Award-winning researcher and lifelong teacher, Dr. Charles Krebs, has won the Weston Family Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Northern Research by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.

For over 55 years, Dr. Krebs has studied diverse mammal populations in the north – from reindeer to snowshoe hares. His groundbreaking work on small rodents led to the discovery of the fence effect, later dubbed the Krebs effect. This research demonstrated the impact a rodent-proof fence had on the population increase of field mice when all other control factors remained the same.  

The $50,000 Weston Family Prize recognizes a leading northern researcher in natural science and is the largest of its kind. It is administered by the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS) and awarded by the Churchill Northern Studies Centre.

“The honouring of Dr. Krebs embodies what the Northern Research prize was designed to do – recognizing a researcher for an outstanding body of work,” said Geordie Dalglish, chair of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation’s Northern Committee. “His contributions to ecology research and his commitment to knowledge sharing are among the many reasons we are pleased to recognize him.”

A Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Krebs is one of the world’s preeminent field ecologists. Accolades for his work are numerous and include Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Norwegian Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Australian Academy of Science and of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales. He has also been awarded the President’s Medal from the Canadian Society of Ecology and Evolution and is an Honorary Professor in the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Zoology.

“I am honoured to have worked with so many colleagues and students who share my passion for understanding the North,” said Dr. Krebs. “This honour only re-energizes me to keep sharing my knowledge and continue with the research I began over half a century ago.”

A collaborator by nature, Dr. Krebs has also worked closely with Canada’s territorial governments, including a long-term monitoring program in the Yukon – the Community Ecological Monitoring Program. This is a freely available data source that all Canadians can access to monitor changes happening in this part of the North.