Canada’s Changing Arctic (September 21-22, 2017) University of Toronto Mississauga

The UTM Department of Geography, in collaboration with other departments, is hosting a two day event showcasing research related to Canada’s Arctic. The event features five excellent award-winning speakers (for more details) from across Canada (including Nunavut) coming to present.

Canada’s Changing Arctic:
Walking on Thin Ice
Public Lecture
7:00-8:30 PM, September 21
IB120, University of Toronto Mississauga
10:00 AM:00-6:00 PM, September 22
IB150, University of Toronto Mississauga
Both events are open to the public, faculty and students

Two Postdoctoral Positions in Subarctic Data Synthesis Northern Water Future consortium

The Northern Water Futures (NWF) consortium in collaboration with the Wilfrid Laurier University – Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) Partnership ( invite applications for two Post-Doctoral Fellowships in Subarctic Data Synthesis. One will be located in Waterloo, Ontario and the other in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories (NWT).

For more information please download this document( NWF_PDF_Ad).

PhD Student Opportunity: Ecohydrological implications of subarctic landcover change

Wilfrid Laurier University’s Northern Water Futures project, as part of the recently announced Global Water Futures program (, is seeking a highly motivated and organized individual for a PhD student position to investigate the effects of permafrost degradation on vegetation and water cycling in the Northwest Territories’ subarctic Canadian Shield.

For more information please download this document (NWF_PhD Opportunity).

Laurier-led Northern Water Futures project to study water sustainability in the Northwest Territories


June 12, 2017
For Immediate Release

Waterloo – Researchers from Wilfrid Laurier University will be leading a large, multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional team studying the sustainability of water in the Northwest Territories through the Northern Water Futures project funded through the Global Water Futures program.

“Northwestern Canada is one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth,” said Laurier Associate Professor Jennifer Baltzer, Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Forests and Global Change, who is co-leading the project. “Unprecedented changes in snow cover and rates of permafrost thaw are transforming ecosystems and changing the distribution and routing of water over the landscape. These changes directly affect the health, well-being, safety and livelihoods of northern communities.”

Northern Water Futures aims to take a leading role in sustainable development in the North through science-based environmental prediction models, decision support tools and mitigation strategies that will lead to prudent investment and knowledge-based community adaptation.

“Resource exploration and production in the Northwest Territories is expected to expand dramatically in the coming years, and this will include construction of new highways, pipelines and other infrastructure,” said Associate Professor William Quinton, the other principal investigator and director of Laurier’s Cold Regions Research Centre. “As a consequence, decision makers urgently require science-based predictive tools and mitigation and adaptation strategies to ensure that water remains clean, abundant and productive for all time.”

The project will make use of an existing network of 12 living laboratories and 19 supporting sites spread throughout Northwest Canada. These will be greatly enhanced during the project, with Laurier’s Changing Arctic Network (CANet), funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, supporting the enhancements.

Global Water Futures has announced funding for 11 initial research projects across Canada, of which Northern Water Futures is one. The Laurier-led project received $2 million in funding over the next three years and plans to reapply for additional funding that would bring the project up to seven years. The recently announced three-year funding for the 11 projects totals nearly $16.2 million.

Global Water Futures, led by the University of Saskatchewan, is the largest university-led water research program ever funded worldwide. Laurier is one of the key university partners in the $143-million program, which also includes the University of Waterloo and McMaster University. The program is funded through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

Northern Water Futures fits into Laurier’s longstanding partnership with the Government of the Northwest Territories (GWNT). The 10-year GNWT-Laurier Partnership, in effect from 2010 to 2020, was developed to expand the Territories’ capacity to conduct environmental research and monitoring and to train the new expertise needed to manage its natural resources for future generations.

In addition to Baltzer and Quinton, Laurier faculty members involved in Northern Water Futures are Deborah MacLatchy, professor of biology and Laurier’s incoming president; Philip Marsh, CRC in Cold Regions Water Science; Alison Blay-Palmer, Centre for International Governance Innovation Chair in Sustainable Food Systems; and Laurier environmental researchers Michael English, Derek Gray, Jason Venkiteswaran and Brent Wolfe.

Co-investigators from other universities are with McGill University, the University of Calgary, University of Guelph, Université de Montréal, University of Saskatchewan, and University of Waterloo. The project also involves collaborators from the GNWT, First Nations governments, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Canadian Rivers Institute, Ecology North, and five other Canadian universities.

Global Water Futures is currently seeking proposals for further projects focusing on diagnosing and predicting change in cold regions, or developing big data and decision support systems. There will be a future request for proposals focusing on First Nations water issues.

Learn More

Student Awards Notice

Ryan Connon (PhD) – NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship-Doctoral (CGS D) in support of his research at Scotty Creek, NWT.

Geoffrey Kershaw (PhD) – NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship-Doctoral (PGS D) in support of his research along the Canol Trail, NWT.

Élise Devoie (upgraded to PhD) – NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s (CGS M) competition has been selected for an award in support of her research at Scotty Creek, NWT.


Dr. David Hik guest lecture March 27th

“Elevating and co-designing interdisciplinary mountain research in Canada: the Canadian Mountain Network.”

Where and when: Wilfrid Laurier University Paul Martin Centre 12:30 – 2 p.m.

PDF posterDrDavidHik_guest_lecture

David Hik’s research interests are focused on the ecology and dynamics of mountain and cold-region environments, impacts of climate change, and determinants of social-ecological resilience.  For the past 30 years his work has focused on boreal and alpine ecosystems in the Yukon Territory, Canada, and a few other places too.  He studied at Queen’s University (BSc), University of Toronto (MSc) and UBC (PhD), and was a PDF at the Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organization in Canberra, Australia.  Previously, he held the Canada Research Chair in Northern Ecology, was Executive Director of the Canadian International Polar Year Secretariat, and served as President of the International Arctic Science Committee. He is a recipient of the RCGS Martin Bergmann Medal for Excellence in Arctic Leadership & Science and recently received the Polar Medal (Canada).  Over the last two years he has co-created a new, massive open online course, “Mountains 101” (, and is leading the development of an interdisciplinary research program for the new Canadian Mountain Network (


Laurier field course gives Northern high school students experience combatting climate change

UPDATE: Scotty Field Course, 2017ScottyFieldCourseRoster

WATERLOO – Ten Dehcho high school students from the Northwest Territories will have the chance to learn firsthand about cold regions ecohydrology as well as gain traditional knowledge during a new field course organized by a Wilfrid Laurier University professor.

The credit course, which will run from March 11 to 18, will take place at the Scotty Creek Research Station south of Fort Simpson in the Northwest Territories. Students will learn from both elders and scientists about the local ecosystem and hydrological processes. They will use field instruments to collect ecological data and try out drones for imaging purposes.

For full story download PFD (038-17ecohydrology-field-course)

PhD Research Opportunities: Polar Bear Provincial Park, Ontario

As the third largest wetland in the world, the Hudson Bay Lowlands (HBL) provides many ecological values such as climate regulation through carbon stored as peat and water quantity and quality to sustain the well-being and cultural values of the region’s Indigenous people. Understanding and projecting future contributions of permafrost to ecological and cultural values has become a high science priority in Ontario. Unfortunately, lack of adequate data on current and future permafrost conditions impedes land use planning in the permafrost-dominated regions of the HBL.

The HBL landscape is being exposed to rapidly warming temperatures and permafrost responses are expected to alter the region’s hydrology, carbon cycles, and heavy metal mobilization dynamics. By 2100, permafrost losses of 16 to 67% are predicted, a range that needs to be narrowed to reduce uncertainty. Active layer thickness in the HBL also varies (from <50 to >150 cm) and is expected to change. Much of the water flow, carbon cycling, and heavy metal mobilization occurs in the active layer, and thus may intensify as the permafrost thaws.

The PhD student will be based at the Cold Regions Research Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. The student will develop a research project to increase understanding of active layer freeze/thaw cycles in Polar Bear Provincial Park, Ontario, using a combination of field and laboratory methods, and will use the resulting information to explain these cycles at watershed scale. The individual will also gain experience in research site establishment by participating with science teams composed of government, academic, and First Nations representatives who will install boreholes, carbon flux towers, stream gauges, and other infrastructure at the site. These interactions will provide the student with excellent networking opportunities across several institutions.

This PhD research project fills a critical knowledge gap impeding the overall goal of sustaining future hydrology, carbon stores, and water quantity and quality as climate change and land use pressures intensify in the HBL. It will also establish a necessary foundation for developing data sets, modeling applications, and mapping products that can be used to inform policy and provide advice and guidance to natural resource practitioners, First Nation communities, and policymakers as climate science is incorporated into planning and decision making.

Contact: Dr. Jim McLaughlin, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry at for further details.

Download .PDF