Philip Dunstan McLoughlin, B.Sc., Ph.D. 


Population Ecology


Assistant Professor 


Department of Biology

University of Saskatchewan

112 Science Place

Saskatoon, SK S7N 5E2, Canada

Ph. (306) 966-4451

Fax (306) 966-4461





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Research Interests:


I am a broadly trained quantitative ecologist working on problems of pure and applied animal ecology.  My research is field-based and largely empirical.  My current program focuses on explaining variation in individual survival and reproduction (e.g., lifetime reproductive success) from quantitative traits (both morphometric and behavioural) to understand population dynamics and opportunities for natural selection, uniting aspects of behavioural, population, and evolutionary ecology.  I have had particular success in linking individual performance to an animal’s selection for habitat resources and associated resource covariates, and demonstrating how these relationships might be modified by ecological processes (e.g., competition, predation, ecological succession, and cross generational effects).  My interests further include individual- and matrix-based models of populations with applications to theory, conservation, and management; scaling questions in ecology; population-level ecological genetics; and natural history.  My questions have been primarily directed at the ecology of European and North American mammals and birds, including populations of red deer, roe deer, caribou, wolves, grizzly bears, polar bears, seals, and prairie raptors (Swainson's and ferruginous hawks).  My core research program now focuses on the ecology of the horses of Sable Island, Nova Scotia.



A horse foraging in the mists on Sable Island. The horse population is ideal for carrying out individual-based ecological research: horses are identifiable from unique markings, the population is unmanaged and protected from human interference by law, and although wild, horses are approachable so that we can observe behaviour and carry out measurements using digital photogrammetry (measuring dimensions using photography and specialized software).




Here is one of my cooler photos of the horses (taken in colour but then turned to black and white):





My research on Sable Island is still developing (stay tuned!).  Below is Adrienne Contasti, the lab’s first graduate student. 

Adrienne is embarking on a 5-year M.Sc.-Ph.D. project on the life history of the horses of Sable Island.  The foal with the

crush on Adrienne is named Moscow, who is part of a small band living on the west end of Sable.





For more information on the Sable Island horses, as well as other species and activities that occur on Sable Island,

please consult the website of the Sable Island Green Horse Society.



Of course, I also teach!



Teaching (Term 1, 2008-2009):


Biology 455.3 (Mammal Diversity and Evolution)



Teaching (Term 2, 2008-2009):


Biology 473.3 (Population Ecology)



Here I am at Upper Kilmory Glen, Isle of Rum, Scotland. The red deer population that lives here has been continuously monitored on an individual basis since the late 1960s by researchers at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh, and Imperial College London.  Our recent paper in Ecology (below) was based on this fantastic dataset.




Selected Publications: Link to my full CV


McLoughlin, P.D., Coulson, T., and Clutton-Brock, T. 2008. Cross-generational effects of habitat and density on life history in red deer. Ecology 89: 3317–3326. (pdf)

McLoughlin, P.D., Gaillard, J.-M., Boyce, M., Bonenfant, C., Messier, F., Duncan, P., Delorme, D., Van Moorter, B., Saïd, S., and Klein, F. 2007. Lifetime reproductive success and composition of the home range in a large herbivore. Ecology 88: 3192–3201. (pdf)

McLoughlin, P.D., Boyce, M.S., Coulson, T., and Clutton-Brock, T. 2006. Lifetime reproductive success and density-dependent, multi-variable resource selection. Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences 273: 1449–1454. (pdf)

McLoughlin, P.D., Dunford, J.D., and Boutin, S. 2005. Relating predation mortality to broad-scale habitat selection. Journal of Animal Ecology 74: 701–707. (pdf)

McLoughlin, P.D., Taylor, M.K., and Messier, F. 2005. Conservation risks of male-selective harvest for mammals with low reproductive potential. Journal of Wildlife Management 69: 1592–1600. (pdf)

McLoughlin, P.D., and Messier, F. 2004. Relative contributions of sampling error in initial population size and vital rates to outcomes of population viability analysis. Conservation Biology 18: 1665–1669. (pdf)

McLoughlin, P.D., Paetkau, D., Duda, M., and Boutin, S. 2004. Genetic diversity and relatedness of boreal caribou populations in western Canada. Biological Conservation 118: 593–598. (pdf)

McLoughlin, P.D., Walton, L.R., Cluff, H.D., Paquet, P.C., and Ramsay, M.A. 2004. Hierarchical habitat selection by tundra wolves. Journal of Mammalogy 85: 576–580. (pdf)

McLoughlin, P.D., Dzus, E., Wynes, B., and Boutin, S. 2003. Declines in populations of woodland caribou. Journal of Wildlife Management 67: 755–761.

McLoughlin, P.D., Case, R.L., Gau, R.J., Cluff, H.D., Mulders, R., and Messier, F. 2002. Hierarchical habitat selection by barren-ground grizzly bears in the central Canadian Arctic. Oecologia 132: 102–108. (pdf)

McLoughlin, P.D., Ferguson, S.H., and Messier, F. 2000. Intraspecific variation in home range overlap with habitat quality: a comparison among brown bear populations. Evolutionary Ecology 14: 39–60. (pdf)




Last Updated 16/12/2008.