Donald Baird

Visiting Research Professor



Bailey Hall 105

1 506 458 7048

Academic interests

  • Wetland ecology
  • Stress ecology
  • Global change processes

Brief biography

Dr Donald Baird obtained his PhD in ecology from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. He is currently employed as a Senior Research Scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Water Science and Technology Directorate, and is a Visiting Research Professor in the Biology Department. He is also a current Fellow of the Canadian Rivers Institute.

He has studied aquatic ecosystems in Canada, Latin America, Europe, SE Asia and Australia, and has over 30 years of experience in the area of aquatic ecology, publishing over 150 papers and 4 books. His main research interests focus on ecological risk assessment, and the development of new methods for ecosystem observation. Over the past 10 years, he has pioneered the use of ecogenomics approaches in biodiversity observation in rivers and wetlands for ecosystem assessment.

He currently leads a national initiative to apply these techniques for routine monitoring of Canada's threatened ecosystems, with a particular focus on river floodplains and boreal wetlands. In addition, he is active in developing new approaches to understand the effects of the complex stressor regimes acting on ecosystems, characteristic of our new Anthropocene era.

He serves on the editorial board of two international journals, and has served as a science advisor and external reviewer for WHO-Water, Ramsar, UNDP and WWF-Canada.

Selected research

Yates AG, Culp J, Armanini DG, Baird DJ, Orlofske JM. (2019). Enhancing bioassessment approaches: development of a river services assessment framework. Freshwater Science. 38: 12

Compson ZG, Monk WA, Curry CJ, Gravel D, Bush A, Baker CJO, Al Manir-MS, Riazanov A, Hajibabaei M, Shokralla S, Gibson JF, Stefani S, Wright M, Baird DJ. (2018) Linking DNA metabarcoding and text-mining to create network-based biomonitoring tools: a case study on boreal wetland macroinvertebrate communities. Advances in Ecological Research, 59: 33-74

Spaak JW, Baert JM, Baird DJ, Eisenhauer N, Maltby L, Pomati F, Radchuk V, Rohr J, Van den Brink PJ, De Laender F. (2017). Shifts of community composition and population density substantially affect ecosystem function despite invariant richness. Ecology Letters. 20(10): 1315-1324.

Hajibabaei M, Baird DJ, Fahner N, Beiko R, Golding GB. (2016). A new way to contemplate Darwin's tangled bank: how DNA barcodes are reconnecting biodiversity science and biomonitoring.Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Series B. 371: 20150330.

Baird DJ, Hajibabaei M. (2012). Biomonitoring 2.0: a new paradigm in ecosystem assessment made possible by next-generation DNA sequencing. Molecular Ecology. 21(8): 2039-2044.