Michael Miller
Vegetation Ecologist
  • Ph.D.: University of Victoria (Biology) 2004
  • B.A. (Hons.): Queen’s University (English) 1989
Dr. Michael Miller is a professional plant ecologist, population biologist, and botanist. He combines a background in analytic modeling with over 15 years of field experience studying vegetation dynamics and plant-habitat relationships in both terrestrial and wetland environments. Michael has conducted long-term vegetation monitoring, ecosystem classification, rare species inventories, invasive species surveys, species-at-risk assessments, environmental impact assessments, mitigation, and ecological restoration. He has worked in various regions of western Canada including Garry Oak ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest, grasslands of the British Columbia interior, reservoir systems in the Columbia Basin, alpine habitats in the Columbia and Rocky Mountains, and boreal forests of British Columbia and Alberta. A rare plant specialist trained in plant demography and population viability analysis, he has spent several years investigating the demographic properties of rare and endangered species using stage-structured population models to analyze demographic data collected from long-term field plots. In addition to primary scientific publications, his technical documents include COSEWIC status reports, federal and provincial recovery strategies for species at risk, provincial wildlife management strategies, and vegetation monitoring manuals. Over the past decade Michael has contracted to a range of agencies including the Canadian Wildlife Service, First Nations, BC Conservation Data Centre, BC Ministry of Environment, Parks Canada, BC Hydro, COSEWIC, Department of National Defence, and the resource industry, the latter including botanical work in the Alberta oil sands region.

Michael has helped develop and implement long-term monitoring plans both at the ecosystem scale (e.g., vernal pools on southern Vancouver Island and grassland systems in the south Okanagan), as well as for individual species at risk (e.g., Lyall’s Mariposa Lily, Spalding’s Campion, and Southern Maiden-hair Fern) and for suites of functionally similar plant species (e.g., bulbous geophytes). He currently participates on several long-term monitoring programs designed to evaluate the impacts of hydroelectric operating regimes on the foreshore flora and fauna of reservoirs along the Columbia River. In 2011 he helped draft a 10-year monitoring plan and operational field manual for evaluating the efficacy of physical works in restoring wetland conditions and improving habitat suitability for indicator wetland species, including aquatic vegetation and aquatic insects, on the Arrow Lakes Reservoir. A central feature of this plan was the formulation of specific management questions that could be used to address hypotheses within an adaptive management framework. Michael has an ongoing interest in long-term plot network (LTPN) projects and is a participant on the international initiative GLORIA (The Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments). In partnership with Parks Canada, he recently initiated a GLORIA project to identify suitable reference sites for monitoring ongoing impacts of climate change on alpine plant communities in the Purcell Mountains. Michael is a Director of the Columbia Mountains Institute of Applied Ecology and serves on the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT) Rare Plant Recovery Implementation Group.