How disturbances change ecosystems

Biodiversity—short for biological diversity—makes the world go round, powering the ecosystem that supports life.

MFNC’s November 3 speaker via Zoom, Alberto Suarez-Esteban—local farmer, instructor and researcher; a biologist by training and a passionate naturalist—knows well how disturbances change ecosystems.  As well as teaching “Ecosystem and Environmental Change” at Carleton University, he has developed a diversified, agricultural operation at Nature’s Apprentice Farm in Pakenham, where he and his partner Joanna produce fresh flavourful vegetables that also regenerate the land where they’re grown.

Along with such hashtags as #regenerativeagriculture #farmingforwildlife#farmingforthefuture, #ecosystems #biodiversity  and #microfarm, the photos and explanations that accompany Nature’s Apprentice Farm Facebook posts of their varied produce provide a learning experience that includes wildlife.

One such photo shows Alberto prepping #notill hedgerows for creating habitat for all kinds of creatures.

Alberto Suarez-Esteban, local farmer, instructor and researcher

Alberto Suarez-Esteban—local farmer, instructor and researcher knows well how disturbances change ecosystems.

Arms full of salad turnips and radishes, Alberto is proud of his roots; his pride also extends to Spain, where he was born and raised and earned his PhD.  And it is to this country that we will follow him on November 3 as he unravels the unexpected consequences of roads in a Mediterranean ecosystem.

Roads are usually known by their negative ecological impacts, he notes.  “However, they may have other surprising effects. The presence of dirt roads and firebreaks can alter the relationships between carnivorous animal and plant species, making them stronger in some areas and weaker in others.”

And completing the study, such research reinforces the need to “evaluate the ecological responses of plants, birds and other organisms to human disturbances with the goal of informing sustainable use and preservation of terrestrial ecosystems.”


Zoom instructions

While keeping the format of our in-person meetings, our November meeting, like our September and October events, will be a virtual one using Zoom.

Club member John Lawrence is again facilitating our meeting and if you have a sighting you’d like to share, please send the details before the meeting to him at . Include your name, the date and location of your sighting and any questions you may have; photos aren’t required but are helpful if you have one.  As in our regular meetings, Michael will offer his comments.

The meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. but if you’re new to Zoom, we recommend that you sign in at least 15 minutes early (at 7:15 p.m.) to test your audio/video; before then, to learn more about Zoom’s features you might also want to try the free service with friends.


The instructions and links to join the meeting are the same as those used in our September and October meetings:

Click this link: then follow the Zoom instructions.

Members who do not already have a Zoom account will be asked to download Zoom – it takes less than one minute.

Zoom will work on your computer, phone or iPad.

You can also join the audio by calling either number below, and, when asked, enter the meeting number – 4908487254.

+1 647 558 0588 Canada

+1 778 907 2071 Canada

Find your local number: