Tag Archives: drought

‘Here we are talking about drought in February’

February 9, 2024 | Canada’s National Observer via UVic News 

The provincial government has released information indicating that snowpack levels are 40 per cent lower than they usually are at this time of year. As a result, water security groups in B.C are now gearing up to face another summer filled with wildfires and drought. Different groups are now asking the provincial government to plan ahead for this year’s drought season, to avoid situations similar to the past.

Oliver Brandes, a lead in POLIS, the University of Victoria’s Water Sustainability Project, commented on how climate change has played a role in increasing the frequency of these events. Brandes added that “You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” explaining that the province needs to get a better handle on how they manage how much water is accessed and by whom.

Oliver Brandes is a Co-Director of the POLIS Water Sustainability Project at UVic. An initiative that drives to innovate water and watershed law, policy, and governance reform. They also strive to “generate change towards a sustainable freshwater future.”

Brandes is also an adjunct professor at UVic’s Faculty of Law, and School of Public Administration. Additionally, Brandes is a fellow at the Environmental Law Centre. If you would like to learn more about Brandes’ research on watershed governance, water laws, and much more, they are available to read through our institutional repository, UVicSpace! You may also check out other works published by the POLIS Project in their community collection on UVicSpace.

Featured Thesis: Water into Nectar

“…the effects of seasonal drought on bumble bee and flowering plant communities”, an MSc. thesis in the School of Environmental Studies, by Andrew D. F. Simon



Habitat loss and climate change are major factors implicated in the decline of bumble bees worldwide. These factors may be particularly acute in regions subject to climatic extremes such as seasonal drought. Combining methods from pollinator research and phylogenetic community ecology, I investigated the impacts of seasonal drought on plant phenology and bumble bee community ecology across gradients of disturbance and soil moisture in a semi-arid ecosystem. Seasonal fluctuations in floral resources coincided with significant phylogenetic clustering in plant communities, with decreasing plant diversity observed under conditions of increasing drought stress. In the late season, modified wet areas supported higher floral resource availability and greater bumble bee abundances as compared to dry woodlands, though wetlands were also an important source of late season floral resources. Despite these local effects, however, the areal extent of natural vs modified matrix habitat accounted for the majority of variation in models explaining bumble bee abundances. Modified matrix habitat was negatively associated, and natural matrix habitat positively associated, with the occurrence of bumble bee workers in June and late-flying queens in July and August. Results provide insight into the temporal niche dynamics of entomophilous flowering plants in this system, and emphasize the importance of conserving natural habitat diversity in efforts to promote resilient plant-pollinator communities. This study also provides evidence for the local extinction of Bombus occidentalis Greene, 1858 and Bombus suckleyi Greene, 1860 from Galiano Island, BC, Canada, as well as the island’s recent colonization by Bombus vosnesenskii Radoszkowski, 1862.

To read more, visit UVicSpace https://dspace.library.uvic.ca:8443/handle/1828/11837

*UVic’s open access repository, UVicspace, makes worldwide knowledge mobilization possible. Through this platform, researchers at any institution have access to dissertations (and theses and graduate projects) published by our graduate students. This also makes works available to the interested layperson, who may be engaged in learning more about the research being done at UVic, with no paywall. UVic’s graduate students are doing valuable research every day – but sometimes it goes unsung. Our goal with this series is to shine a light on our students by featuring excellence, one achievement at a time.

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