Crystal Ernst

Degrees: BSc (Hons) and MSc, Carleton UniversCrystal Ernstity; PhD, McGill University

Current Position: Hakai Postdoctoral Scholar



Twitter: @GeekInQuestion


Invertebrates – insects, spiders, snails, slugs, and other creepy-crawlies – perform critical functions in all terrestrial ecosystems. On the rugged islands of BC’s central coast, invertebrates are responsible for decomposing seaweed wrack, pollinating endemic plants, and providing important food sources for migratory birds and small mammals. Understanding why some invertebrates exist on certain islands and others don’t can provide important insights into island food webs, and this information can be used to inform decisions about biodiversity conservation and monitoring.

As a Hakai Postdoctoral Scholar in the Reynolds lab, I am the lead investigator of the terrestrial invertebrate component of the 100 Islands Project. Using rigorous observational and experimental field work, as well as lab/greenhouse experiments, I will explore how different mechanisms shape the diversity and community structure of these often-overlooked animals. Specifically, I’ll be testing predictions about relationships between invertebrate diversity and: a) spatial and physical characteristics of islands, like area and distance from the mainland; b) the input of nutrient subsidies from marine sources, and; c) interactions between invertebrates and other organisms.

Refereed articles

Ernst, C.M., Hanelt, B. and C.M. Buddle. 2016. Ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) parasitized by a new species of hairworm (Nematomorpha: Gordiida) in Arctic North America. Journal of Parasitology, 102(3): 327-335.

Klimaszewski, J., Webster, R., Langor, D., Sikes, D., Godin, B., Bourdon, C., and C. Ernst. 2016. A review of Canadian and Alaskan species of the genus Liogluta Thomson, and descriptions of three new species (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae). Zookeys, 573: 217-256.

Ernst, C.M., Loboda, S. and C.M. Buddle. 2016. Capturing northern biodiversity: diversity of arctic, subarctic and north boreal beetles and spiders are affected by trap type and habitat. Insect Conservation and Diversity, 9(1): 63-73.

Ernst, C.M. and C.M. Buddle. 2015. Drivers and patterns of terrestrial beetle biodiversity and across northern Canada. PLoS ONE. 10(4): e0122163.  Available here.

Ernst, C.M., Buddle, C.M. and L. Soluk. 2015. The value of introducing natural history field research into undergraduate curricula: a case study. Bioscience Education. doi: 10.11120/beej.2014.00023

Ernst, C.M. and C.M. Buddle. 2013. Seasonal patterns in the structure of epigeic beetle (Coleoptera) assemblages in two subarctic habitats of Nunavut, Canada. The Canadian Entomologist, 45(2): 171-183.

Ernst, C.M., Cappuccino, N. and J.T. Arnason. 2007. Potential novel hosts for the lily leaf beetle Lilioceris lilii Scopoli (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) in eastern North America. Ecological Entomology, 32: 45-52.

Ernst, C.M. and N. Cappuccino. 2005. The effects of an invasive alien vine, Vincetoxicum rossicum (Asclepiadaceae), on arthropod populations in Ontario old fields. Biological Invasions, 7(3): 417-425.

Other articles

Finkelstein, A.B.A., Winer, LR., Buddle, C.M. and C.M. Ernst. 2013 (Nov). Tablets in the forest: mobile technology for inquiry-based learning. EDUCAUSE Review online. Available here.

Buddle, C., Ernst, C.M., Hervieux, M., Loboda, S., MacLeod, A., Maloney, T., Leyva Mancilla, C., Royauté, R., and A.M. Solecki. 2011. The status of entomology in Canada: crisis or opportunity? Bulletin of the Entomological Society of Canada, 43(3): 144-147.

Leborgne, L., Ernst, C.M., and C.M. Buddle. 2011. Shaping tomorrow’s northern ecosystem: Arctic insects, spiders and their relatives in a changing climate. Meridian (Canadian Polar Commission), Spring/Summer, 13-17.

Ernst, C.M. 2007. The lily leaf beetle (Lilioceris lilii): an unwelcome invader. The Yearbook of the North American Lily Society: 29-34.

Book chapter

Ernst, C.M., Vinke, K., Giberson, D. and C.M. Buddle. 2012. Insects and education: creating tolerances for some of the world’s smallest citizens. In: The Management of Insects in Recreation and Tourism. Harvey Lemelin, ed. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK. ISBN:9781107012882.