unique in nature and vast in scope — truly Canadian
Conserving Canada's Genomic Diversity
American beaver (Castor canadensis)

Species selection

We have developed a three-tiered approach to species selection, with the goal of ensuring that the highest priority Canadian species will be represented in the Earth BioGenome Project and that those species most benefitting from a whole genome resource will be prioritized for sequencing. A number of expert panels have been established to help determine candidate species lists and rankings for genomic sequencing and aid in the identification of suitable material for DNA and RNA extraction. The scientists involved have volunteered their time for this undertaking. We recognize that there is a large body of biological expertise in Canada and the establishment of these committees cannot be considered an exhaustive process. If feel you have relevant expertise and would like to contribute to any of these committees, please contact us . Currently the most comprehensive listing and conservation assessment of multicellular species in Canada is represented by the Wild Species 2015 report generated by the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council and the National General Status working group, which identifies over 21,500 species.

Cultural significance

At-risk and requiring or already subject to some form of management regime

Of particular scientific interest

An essential component in a local, regional or the national economy

Expert Committees

taxonomic group




Dr. Joanna Freeland

Trent University


Dr. Robb Bennett

Royal BC Museum


Dr. David Green

Simon Fraser University


Dr. Leonard Foster

University of British Columbia


Ildiko Szabo

Beaty Biodiversity Museum


Dr. Kathleen Conlan

Dr. Jean-Marc Gagnon

Canadian Museum of Nature

Canadian Museum of Nature


Dr. Virginie Roy

Dr. Annie Mercier

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Memorial University


Dr. Eric Taylor

Dr. Cathryn Abbott

University of British Columbia

Fisheries and Oceans Canada


Dr. James Wasmuth

University of Calgary


Dr. Paul Hebert

University of Guelph

Invasive species

Dr. Kim Cuddington

University of Waterloo

Land Plants

Dr. Sean Graham

University of British Columbia


Dr. Jessica Allen

Dr. Troy McMullin

Eastern Washington University

Canadian Museum of Nature


Dr. Mark Engstrom

Royal Ontario Museum


Dr. Timothy Green

Vancouver Island University


Dr. Jillian Detwiler

University of Manitoba


Dr. Paul Galpern

University of Calgary


Dr. Alastair Simpson

Dalhousie University

Reptiles and Amphibians

Dr. Pamela Rutherford

Dr. Jacqueline Litzgus

Brandon University

Laurentian University

Ringed/segmented worms

Dr. John Reynolds

Dr. Erin Cameron

New Brunswick Museum

St. Mary’s University


Dr. James Wasmuth

University of Calgary

Seaweeds (multicellular algae)

Dr. Gary Saunders

University of New Brunswick

Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis)

Declining Biodiversity, Management, Human Well-being

Canada possesses significant biodiversity, with ~80,000 plant and animal species in environments ranging from desert to the arctic. Many of these species are under threat due to rapid changes in climate and other human-led impacts on our environment.

The 2015 federal Wild Species report, which assessed ~27,500 Canadian species, identified ~6 per cent (1,659 species) as “May Be at Risk” in Canada

As of 2017-18, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada’s (COSEWIC) assessments included 771 wildlife species in various risk categories; 18 assessed as extinct.

Assessments by Indigenous Peoples in Canada also reflect systemic change— Inuit report declining abundance, health and populations in several species.