Otter, Dr. Ken

Dr. Ken Otter
PhD, MSc (Queen's University), BSc (University of British Columbia) Professor (on sabbatical) Chair, Ecosystem Science and Management Acting Co-Chair, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Email: Phone:
Website: Fax:
  • Prince George

Research and Expertise

Avian signalling and reproduction, particularly how this is impacted by habitat quality and urban development

Research Fields:
  • Biodiversity/Ecology
  • Environment
  • Natural Resources
  • Wildlife
Areas of Expertise:

Animal communication, reproductive strategies, behavioural ecology, avian ecology, urban & disturbance ecology

Languages Spoken:
  • English
Not accepting graduate students
Supervises in:
  • PhD NRES
  • MSc NRES Biology
Available to be contacted by the media as a subject matter expert

Selected Publications

Otter, K.A., Mckenna, A., LaZerte, S.E., & Ramsay, S.M. 2020.  Continent-wide shifts in song dialects of white-throated sparrows.  Current Biology 30(16): 3231-3235.e3 DOI:10.1016/jcub.2020.05.084

Otter, K.A., Reudink, M.W., Foote, J., McKellar, A. & Flood, N. (in press) Sexual selection and mating systems under Anthoprogenic disturbance.  In: D. Proppe (ed). Songbird behavior: Implications for conservation and management in the Anthropocene. CRC Press.    

Bailey, J.M., Reudink, M.W. & Otter, K.A. 2019. Supplemental feeding may reduce responsiveness of black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) to avian mobbing calls during gap-crossing experiments. Canadian Journal of Zoology 97: 680–684 DOI: 10.1139/cjz-2018-0161

Hajdasz, A.C., Otter, K.A., Baldwin, L.K., & Reudink, M.W. 2019. Caterpillar phenology predicts differences in timing of mountain chickadee breeding in urban and rural habitats. Urban Ecosystems 22:1113-1122.

LaZerte, S.E., Slabbekoorn, H, & Otter, K.A. 2019. A field test of the audibility of urban versus rural songs in mountain chickadees. Ethology. 125:516–525. DOI: 10.1111/eth.12876

LaZerte, S.E., Marini, K.L.D, Slabbekoorn, H., Reudink, M.W., & Otter, K.A. 2019. More mountain chickadees sing atypical songs in urban than in rural areas. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 133(1): 28-33. DOI: 10.22621/cfn.v133i1.1994

Bailey, J.M., Reudink, M.W., LaZerte, S.E., Paetkau, M., Johnson, C., Hill, D. & Otter, K.A. 2018. Using radio frequency identification (RFID) to investigate the gap-crossing decisions of black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus). Auk: Ornithological Advances. 135:449-460.

Bonderud, E.S., Otter, K.A., Burg, T.M., Marini, K.L.D. & Reudink, M.W. 2018. Patterns of extra-pair paternity in the mountain chickadee. Ethology 124: 378-386.

Bonderud, E.S., Otter, K.A., Murray, B.W., Marini, K.L.D., Burg, T.M. & Reudink, M.W. 2017. Effects of parental condition and nesting habitat on sex allocation in the mountain chickadee. Behaviour 154: 1101 – 1121. DOI:10.1163/1568539X-00003460

d'Entremont, M.V., Hartley, MI. & Otter, K.A. 2017. Comparing pre- versus post-operational movement of nocturnal migrants around a wind energy facility in northeast British Columbia, Canada. Avian Conservation and Ecology 12(2):3.

Hahn, A.H., Guillette, L.M, Hoeschele, M., Otter, K.A., Ratcliffe, L.M., & Sturdy, C.B. 2017. Discrimination of male black-capped chickadee songs: Relationship between acoustic preference and performance accuracy. Animal Behaviour 126: 107–121.

LaZerte, S., Otter, K.A., & Slabbekoorn, H. 2017a. Mountain chickadees adjust songs, calls and chorus composition with increasing ambient and experimental noise. Urban Ecosystems 20(5): 989-1000. DOI 10.1007/s11252-017-0652-7

LaZerte, S., Slabbekoorn, H. & Otter, K.A. 2017b. Territorial black-capped chickadee males respond faster to high- than to low-frequency songs in experimentally elevated noise conditions. PeerJ 5:e3257; DOI 10.7717/peerj.3257

LaZerte, S.E., Reudink, M.W., Otter, K.A., Kusack, J., Bailey, J., Paetkau, M, De Jong, A., & Hill, D.J. 2017c. feedr and A paired R package and user-friendly web application for transforming and visualizing animal movement data from static stations. Ecology and Evolution 7: 7884–7896. Doi:10.1002/ece3.3240

Marini, K.L.D, Otter, K.A., LaZerte, S.E. & Reudink, M.W. 2017a. Urban environments are associated with earlier clutches and faster nestling feather growth compared to natural habitats. Urban Ecosystems 20: 1291-1300. DOI 10.1007/s11252-017-0681-2

Marini, K.L.D, Reudink, M.W., LaZerte, S.E. & Otter, K.A. 2017b. Urban mountain chickadees (Poecile gambeli) begin vocalizing earlier, and have greater dawn chorus output than rural males . Behaviour 154: 1197 – 1214. DOI:10.1163/1568539X-00003464.