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Biodiversity in the City: Challenges and Opportunities

Mar 22, 2010

(TORONTO - March 22, 2010 ) -  Biodiversity is an environmental cornerstone upon which the fate of humans, and the ecosystems that support them, are intimately connected.  In 2010, the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity, the challenge of protecting biodiversity is at the forefront of the world's attention. Fresh water, food, clean air, medicines, and the pollination of plants are but a few of the services provided by healthy, diverse ecosystems.  Conversely, when biodiversity is lost, ecosystems become more vulnerable to disturbances, less resilient, and less able to support humans and other species.  

Toronto and Region Conservation believes that urban centers can contribute to biodiversity in important ways and encourages GTA residents to take an active part in protecting what's in their backyard as part of a solution to protect global biological diversity. On March 23, the public is invited to learn from biodiversity experts about the history of, challenges to and opportunities for biodiversity in Lake Ontario at the Lake Ontario Evenings Speakers Series - Biodiversity Edition. Speakers include: Dr. John Casselman with Queen's University, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Nature Conservancy Canada, and the Toronto and Region Remedial Action Plan.

"The case for protection of biodiversity in the urban context may seem weak, but diversity matters here too." says Deb Martin-Downs, the Director of the Toronto and Region Conservation Ecology Division. "Imagine Toronto without trees - if all the trees in Toronto had been elms and were lost to dutch elm disease. Now imagine a similar scenario in which we had access to, and lost, only limited options for housing materials, clothing, or food.  Not only would our lives be less interesting, but we may not be able to meet our basic needs."

The keynote speaker will be Dr. John Casselman, an adjunct professor in the Queen's University Department of Biology and former supervisor of the Lake Ontario Research Unit Ontario, Ministry of Natural Resources. Dr. Casselman is a fisheries ecologist who has published widely on fish, fisheries, climate change, American eel, northern pike production and water levels, and conducted studies throughout the world-Tibet, Ethiopia, and the Canadian Arctic. In 2008, he received the prestigious Award of Excellence of the American Fisheries Society. His presentation "Fish Populations and Communities of Lake Ontario and Bay of Quinte: Examining 50 years of Change" will examine the key findings and insights that have affected and made substantial changes to fish populations and community structures of Lake Ontario, Bay of Quinte, and upper St. Lawrence River.

WHAT: Lake Ontario Evenings- Biodiversity Edition

WHEN: March 23, 2010. Doors Open at 6 pm. Presentations begin at 6:30

COST:  Free

WHERE: Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. West.

  • Dr. John Casselman: Fish Populations and Communities of Lake Ontario and Bay of Quinte: Examining 50 years of Change
  • Mike Bohm, Policy and Program Advisor, Great Lakes and Waters, Ministry of Natural Resources: Preventing the Spread of Asian Carp and Other Threats to Biodiversity in the Great Lakes
  • Dan Kraus, Manager of Conservation Science and Planning, Nature Conservancy of Canada: Lake Ontario Biodiversity Conservation Strategy
  • Andy Todd, Manager of the Lake Ontario Management Unit, Ministry of Natural Resources: Atlantic Salmon Reintroduction
  • Stephanie Hawkins, RAP Coordinator, Toronto and Region Remedial Action Plan:  RAP Update


Toronto and Region Conservation

With over 50 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) helps people understand, enjoy and look-after the natural environment. Our vision is for The Living City®, where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity.  For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at or



For media registration contact:

Rowena Calpito, Supervisor, Media Management, Toronto and Region Conservation                

T: 416.661.6600 ext 5632; C: 416-358-3446 E:                             

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Media contact:

Elizabeth Oakley
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5856

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