PhD, Oceans and Fisheries
Biography

My research focuses on Arctic marine mammal space-use, predator-prey dynamics, and fitness under changing seascapes. I am developing models to test the landscape of fear hypothesis, which predicts that predator (polar bear) space-use will indirectly influence prey (ringed seal) space-use, where prey avoid predator distribution on the seascape. I will model the space-use of polar bear and ringed seal, and how the predator-prey relationship is affected by shifts in sea ice regime, and also investigate the temporal effects of a poor-ice-year on the fitness and body condition of ringed seals. In addition to identifying future important areas for important Arctic marine mammals, my research will provide insights on the breadth of impact of a poor-ice year, which is essential for proactive management and conservation.

Thesis Topic

Effects of trophic interactions and climate change on the space use of an Arctic marine mesopredator

Supervisor(s) Name(s)
Dr. Marie Auger-Méthé
Awards
Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS D3)
UBC Four-Year Doctoral Fellowship
Ocean Leaders Graduate Fellowship
Wendy Fan Memorial Scholarship
Research Funding and Partners

Northern Scientific Training Program, Cecil and Kathleen Morrow Grant

Publications

Peer-reviewed publications:
Florko, K.R.N., Bernhardt, W., Breiter, C.C., Ferguson, S.H., Hainstock, M., Young, B.G., Petersen, S.D. 2018. Decreasing sea ice conditions in western Hudson Bay and an increase in abundance of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) in the Churchill River. Polar Biology, 41: 1187-1195.
Bohn, S.J., Webber, Q.M.R., Florko, K.R.N., Paslawski, K.R., Peterson, A.M., Piche, J.E., Menzies, A.K., Willis, C.K.R. 2017. Personality predicts ectoparasite abundance in an asocial sciurid. Ethology, 123: 761-771.
Florko, K.R.N., Bohn, S.J., Kalcounis-Rueppell, M.C., Brigham, R.M. 2017. A 23-year-old little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) record from southwest Saskatchewan, Canada. Northwestern Naturalist, 98: 57-59.

Posters/Presentations/Projects:
27th Annual BC Marine Mammal Symposium. Florko, K.R.N.*, Auger-Méthé, M. Landscape of fear in the Arctic. Vancouver, BC. November 23, 2019.

Northwest Student Chapter for the Society for Marine Mammalogy Annual Meeting. Florko, K.R.N.*, Auger-Méthé, M. Landscape of fear and the implications on Arctic seal ecology. Seattle, WA. May 18, 2019.

ArcticNet Annual Scientific Meeting. Florko, K.R.N.*, Derocher, A.E., Ghazal, M., Hedman, D., Higdon, J.W., Richardson, E., Sahanatien, V., Trim, V., Petersen, S.D. Polar bear denning distribution and hotspots in the Canadian Arctic. Ottawa, ON. December 10-14, 2018. (Poster)

The Wildlife Society Manitoba Chapter, Annual General Meeting. Florko, K.R.N.*, Higdon, J.W., Petersen, S.D. Polar bear denning in the Canadian Arctic: distribution and hot-spots. Winnipeg, MB. March 16-17, 2018.

Arctic Change 2017. Florko, K.R.N., Bernhardt, W., Breiter, C.C., Ferguson, S.H., Hainstock, M., Young, B.G., Petersen, S.D.* Harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) in the Churchill River Estuary: Increased abundance coincident with decreasing sea ice conditions in western Hudson Bay. Quebec City, QC. December 11-15, 2017.

The Society for Marine Mammalogy’s 22nd Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. Florko, K.R.N.*, Thiemann, G.W., Bromaghin, J. F., Branigan, M., Pongracz, J.D., Richardson, E. Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) foraging under variable sea ice regimes: diet trends in the western Canadian Arctic. Halifax, NS. October 22-27, 2017.

Inuvialuit Game Council Meeting. Florko, K.R.N.*, Thiemann, G.W., Bromaghin, J. F., Branigan, M., Pongracz, J.D., Richardson, E. Polar bear (diet composition and body condition in the Beaufort Sea and Viscount Melville Sound. Paulatuk, NT. June 10-11, 2017.