2002 James W. Bourque Studentship in Northern Geography - Joan Bunbury
THE WATERY lake-bottom graves of generations of hard-shelled, kidney-shaped organisms called ostracods provide a natural archive of climate change in
southwestern Yukon. University of Ottawa master’s student Joan Bunbury is trying to decipher what these microscopic critters can tell us about past and future climate trends, with the help of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s $5,000 James W. Bourque Studentship in Northern Geography.
“Ostracods are sensitive to changes in their environment,” says Bunbury, “so as soon as the environment changes, the species’ composition does as well.” Last June, Bunbury collected sediment from 40 lakes in the Kluane region. She will spend the winter identifying the species in the samples to see how their distribution in the sediment layers has evolved over time.
Bunbury says she hopes her ostracod research will add to the understanding of the region’s ecology and to the growing body of work on the North’s susceptibility to the shifting climate.
— Jodi Di Menna