"Botanists are more civilized than zoologists" - Humbled goose biologist, Akimiski Island, Nunavut Territory, 1998

Peter M. Kotanen
Associate Professor

Peter Kotanen Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
University of Toronto
Department of Biology
University of Toronto Mississauga
3359 Mississauga Road
Mississauga, Ontario, L5L 1C6, Canada
Office: 905-828-5365
Lab: 905-828-5304
FAX: 905-828-3792
e-mail: peter.kotanenatutoronto.ca

--> Simon <--

Interests: I study ecological interactions between plants and their natural enemies (herbivores and pathogens). My recent research has centred on the effects of natural enemies on non-native species; ongoing projects focus on the question of whether escape from natural enemies promotes the survival and spread of exotic plants, and whether escape from enemies is more likely in marginal populations. Other recent research has included studies of seed ecology and of the effects of grazing by northern goose populations. Member, Global Invasions Network. Associate Editor, Ecology and Botany. Short curriculum vitae.

Graduate Student Opportunities: Click here to download details, and check our graduate studies webpage.

Terrestrial Invasive Plant Species II (6-8 Aug 2014) (TIPS II) download conference announcement


Recent Research
Project Progress
Common BurdockArctium minus Interactions between invaders and their natural enemies in marginal populations. Do invasive plants escape their enemies near their geographic range limits? We are investigating this along a transect from southern Ontario to as far north as Moosonee and Churchill. Krystal Nunes is investigating these and related issues with Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense). Daz Kambo and Kelvin Lee worked on this problem, using Common Burdock (Arctium minus) as a model species. Publications.
Beetles on St. JohnswortChrysolina quadrigemina Testing the Enemy Release Hypothesis of plant invasions. This is the idea that non-native plants may have an advantage over natives because they lost their enemies (herbivores and pathogens) during the invasion process. This work is centred at the Koffler Scientific Reserve at Jokers Hill. Steve Hill studied how phylogenetic isolation influences enemy release; Sean Blaney studied whether enemy release applies to pathogens and predators of seeds. Publications.
Beetles on RagweedSystena Biology of Common Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia). Ragweed is a North American native which has widely invaded Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. I'm studying this plant both in its native range and where it has been introduced. James MacKay studied whether isolated populations experience less damage by natural enemies. Andrew MacDonald investigated whether natural enemies have a significant impact on fitness. Publications.
Akimiski IslandAkimiski Island, Nunavut Changes in arctic habitats used by nesting Snow Geese. Foraging by these birds and other geese has significant impacts on vegetation surrounding their breeding colonies. Study sites include areas on Hudson Bay and James Bay, as well as Bylot Island. Pamela O studied effects of grazing by geese on meadows of Festuca rubra. Jennie McLaren examined the effects of geese on soil. In 2008 I revisited transects I sampled 10 years earlier on Akimiski Island to determine how vegetation in areas used by geese has changed. In 2010, I sampled vegetation in Snow Goose colonies on Southampton Island. Publications.
Jokers Hill ForestMaple Forest Experimental studies of the influence of pathogens and predators on seed mortality. This work has involved studies of both old field plants and forest trees. The principal study site is the Koffler Scientific Reserve at Jokers Hill. Colin Cassin is investigating impacts of invasive earthworms on seeds of native and exotic plants. Michelle Schafer investigated whether different fungal communities render some habitats more dangerous to seeds than others. Deborah Manners considered influences of pathogens on survival of seeds of forest trees. Publications.

Undergraduate Courses

Theses supervised

Plants & Fungi
Other Biodiversity
Biological Invasions
Ecology & Evolution
Other Science Sites
Travel and Weather
Locations of Recent Visitors

On The Web since 1995
These pages were last updated 29 March 2015.
Made with MacOS