Department:School of Life Sciences
Areas of Expertise: Animal and environmental biology
Helen is a wildlife ecologist, focussed on vertebrate systems in northern, alpine and Arctic environments. Her research is interdisciplinary, exploring both ecological and social aspects of wildlife change.
Helen joined Anglia Ruskin University in January 2018 as a Lecturer in Zoology. From 2012-2017 she conducted postdoctoral research at University of Tromsø, Norway, University of Quebec in Rimouski, Canada, Centre of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology, National Centre for Scientific Research, France and Aarhus University in Denmark. Prior to this, she was a PhD student at University of Alberta in Canada.
Her research focusses on wildlife change in complex systems and monitoring for effective stewardship. She studies direct and indirect consequences of changing climate on wildlife in the Arctic. She works to understand how rapid climatic, ecological and socio-economic change in the Arctic affect wildlife behaviour, population ecology, spatial distribution and interactions between species. Her research is increasingly socio-ecological, including studying how different types of knowledge and information such as Traditional knowledge and scientific knowledge can contribute to our understanding of wildlife change.
Helen is a member of both our Applied Ecology Research Group and Behavioural Ecology Research Group. Her current research focuses heavily on evaluating gaps in monitoring across social and ecological drivers of change in large scale monitoring networks in the Arctic. Helen's interests are in both creating tools to rigorously assess bias in coverage and representation and evaluating the consequences of those biases. In addition, she has ongoing research on the ecological consequences of arctic vegetation change (shrubification), particularly with respect to wildlife and she's particularly interested in developing projects that help to incorporate multiple knowledge systems (including Indigenous knowledge) in to wildlife observation and decision-making.
Helen welcomes enquiries from prospective research students in the areas of her research interests and expertise.
Wheeler, H. C., Høye, T. T. & Svenning, J.-C., 2018. Wildlife species benefitting from a greener Arctic are most sensitive to shrub cover at leading range edges. Global Change Biology, 24, pp.212-223. doi:10.1111/gcb.13837
Wheeler, H. C., Berteaux, D., Furgal, C., Parlee, B., Yoccoz, N. G. & Grémillet, D., 2016. Stakeholder perspectives on triage in wildlife monitoring in a rapidly changing arctic. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 128(4). doi: 10.3389/fevo.2016.00128
Wheeler, H. C., Høye, T. T., Martin-Schmidt, N., Svenning, J. C. & Forchammer, M. C., 2015. Phenological mismatch with abiotic conditions - implications for flowering in Arctic plants. Ecology, 26, pp.775-787.
Wheeler, H. C., Chipperfield, J., Roland, C. & Svenning, J. C., 2015. How will the greening of the Arctic affect a common ecosystem engineer? Vegetation effects on arctic ground squirrels. Oecologia, 178, pp.915-929.
Wheeler, H. C. & Hik, D. S., 2014. Giving up densities and foraging behaviour indicate possible effects of shrub encroachment on arctic ground squirrels. Animal Behaviour, 95, pp.1-8.
Wheeler, H. C. & Hik, D. S., 2014. Influence of shrub canopies on growth rate and pre-hibernation mass of juvenile arctic ground squirrels. Wildlife Biology, 20, pp.253-258.
Wheeler, H. C. & Hik, D. S., 2013. Arctic ground squirrels as a driver and indicator of northern ecosystem change. Mammal Review, 43, pp.238-255.
Sheriff, M. J., Wheeler, H., Donker, S. A., Krebs, C. J., Palme, R., Hik, D. S. & Boonstra, R., 2012. Mountain-top and valley-bottom experiences: the stress axis as an integrator of environmental variability in arctic ground squirrel populations. Journal of Zoology, 287, pp.65-75.
Thompson, P. M. & Wheeler, H. C., 2008. Photo-ID based estimates of reproductive patterns in female harbor seals. Marine Mammal Science, 24, pp.138-146.
Arctic Council Working groups and Expert Network participation (Policy-related meetings):
Monitoring of seabirds and terrestrial vertebrates: Needs and perceptions. Arctic Council CAFF Terrestrial Ecosystem Group Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program meeting, Sweden, April 2016.
How well does monitoring of wildlife meet the needs of stakeholders? CBird (Arctic Council CAFF Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program expert network) meeting, South Africa, Oct. 2015.
How well does monitoring of wildlife meet the needs of stakeholders? Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Arctic Council working group meeting, Norway, Sept 2015.
Ecology Across Borders: Joint Annual Meeting Ghent, Belgium, Dec. 2017.
Assessing the implications of shrubification for arctic ground squirrels at multiple scales. Rodens et Spatium Conference, Portugal, July 2014.
Population, individual and behavioural approaches to understanding the implications of habitat change for arctic ground squirrels. International Mammalogical Congress, N. Ireland, Aug. 2013.
Implications of shrub encroachment for arctic ground squirrels. British Ecological Society Annual Meeting, Sheffield, UK, Sept. 2011.
Variation in Arctic ground squirrel populations across an alpine tundra ecotone: Investigating the effects of shrubs and habitat visibility. Population biology symposium, Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution Annual Conference, Banff, Alberta, May 2011.
Investigating potential impacts of shrub encroachment on Arctic ground squirrel behaviour and density. Understanding Circumpolar Ecosystems in a Changing World – Beyond outcomes of the International Polar Year Conference, Edmonton, Alberta, Nov. 2010.
Plants Duke It Out in a Warming Arctic, BioScience, 62(2), pp.220, 2015.
Young Einsteins: How groundbreaking research at Kluane Lake Research Station is drawing talented young minds from all over the world, Yukon, 3(4), pp.37-29, 2009.