Otter, Dr. Ken

Dr. Ken Otter
PhD, MSc (Queen's University), BSc (University of British Columbia) Professor Chair, Ecosystem Science and Management 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

Booth, A.L. & Otter, K.A. 2022. The Law and the Pussycat: Public Perceptions of the Use of Municipal Bylaws to Control Free-Roaming Domestic Cats in Canada, Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, DOI: 10.1080/10888705.2022.2142059

Grabenstein, K.C., Otter, K.A., Burg, T.M. & Taylor, S.A. 2022. Hybridization between closely related songbirds is related to human habitat disturbance. Global Change Biology. In press: Accepted 19 Sept 2022.

Chartier, S., Ramsay, S.M., & Otter, K.A. 2022. Within-population song evolution in white-throated sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis). Behaviour DOI:10.1163/1568539X-bja10184

Grabenstein, K.C., Otter, K.A., Burg, T.M. & Taylor, S.A. 2022. Sympatry leads to reduced body condition in chickadees that occasionally hybridize. Ecology and Evolution 12:e8756,

Wheelhouse, L.M., Hodder, D.P. & Otter, K.A. 2022. The retention of non-commercial hardwoods in mixed stands maintains higher avian biodiversity than clear-cutting. Forestry 95: 572–581,

Smith, B.L., Snell, C.L., Reudink, M.W. & Otter, K.A. 2021. Urban-nesting mountain chickadees have a reduced response to a simulated predator. Behaviour . DOI:10.1163/1568539X-bja10122

Reudink, M.W., Fisher, M., Mount, N., Buckler, N., Otter, K.A, & Briskie, J.V. 2021. Evolution of song and colour in island birds. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 133: 1–10.

Graham, B., Gazeley, I., Otter, K.A. & Burg, T. 2021. Do phylogeny and habitat influence admixture among four North American chickadees (family: Paridae) species? Journal of Avian Biology. e02695,

Stephens, C., McAmmond, B., Van Hamme, J.D., Otter, K.A., Reudink, M.W., Bottos, E.M. 2021. Analysis of Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli) associated bacterial communities across urban and rural habitats. Canadian Journal of Microbiology 68: 572-583.

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

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

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

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

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.

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.