Recipients of RCGS Independent Research Grants
Monitoring human threats to a vulnerable, recovering population of humpback whales
The Recovery Strategy for the North Pacific Humpback Whale in Canada identifies a number of anthropogenic threats to humpbacks, including acoustic disturbance, toxic spills, prey shortages, vessel strikes, and entanglement in fishing gear, the last two threats being of greatest known concern.
Dr. Charles Yonge
Completing research on ice caves in Alberta. Collecting ice and water samples for analysis, and also mapping the caves.
Dr. Charles Yonge seeks to gain a better understanding of the ice formation and retreat and to establish management practices in terms of visitation.
Researching the Canadian Arctic Expedition of 1913-18
David Gray is travelling to Banks Island, N.W.T., to document the remains of the Canadian Arctic Expedition of 1913 to 1918.
Devin Roberts, University of Victoria
Predator naiveté in island mesopredators
Devin Roberts is studying how raccoons’ lost fear of predators is affecting the ecosystem of British Columbia’s Gulf Islands.
Mark Worthing, OrcaLab
Cracroft Point Orca video monitoring
With state-of-the-art video cameras, Mark Worthing is monitoring the movements and behaviours of orcas in the Johnstone Strait, B.C.
Verify the existence of the bronze helmet and other artifacts found by the Inuit on the north shore of Labrador, east of George River (Kangiqsualujjuaq), Ungava Bay, Nunavik
Philip Schubert is searching for a bronze helmet and other artifacts on Labrador’s north shore.
Emily Gray, Sara Laplante and Kerri Moreau-Sawyer, Nipissing University
The role of site conditions & moose browsing pressure in the regeneration failure of balsam fir forests in Gros Morne National Park
Balsam fir dominated forests of Gros Morne National Park are experiencing severe regeneration failure due to extremely high densities of moose. This project describes the natural regeneration of balsam fir in Gros Morne National Park and compares relationships between regeneration success and environmental site conditions in previously disturbed forests where fir regeneration is successful and where it is impaired.
Katriina O’Kane, Queen’s University
Think Globally, Act Locally: The Site Specific Effects of Global Climate Shifts
The goal of this research is to investigate if large-scale regional climatic changes have the potential to affect smaller scale sites in different ways. These smaller scale differences are especially noticeable in the Kluane Ranges of Southwest Yukon where multiple microclimates arise due to substantial local variation in precipitation, solar insolation, wind flow patterns, snow depth and duration of snow cover, soil moisture, etc.
Kira Hoffman, University of Victoria
The Bromley glacier expedition: a one hundred year resurvey
The primary goal of this research is to reoccupy the survey station of R.G. McConnell at the Bromley Glacier and to document the 100 years of glaciological changes since the last survey in 1911.
Selena Raven Cordeau, University of Victoria
The Columbia Icefield Project
Field data on the Columbia Ice field in the Canadian Rockies will be collected in the spring/summer of 2011. Synoptic weather charts of the spring/summer 2011 season will be analyzed and reanalyses of weather patterns plotted to determine how the weather patterns are linked to specific snow densities (ice crusts or melt crusts) in the snow pack.
Lucy MacKenzie, University of British Columbia
An assessment of sediment storage in an outwash plain of a retreating alpine glacier
This study aims to examine deposits found in the proglacial zone of Bridge Glacier, British Columbia, in order to determine the sediment-landform associations of different deposit types in the area based on sedimentological analysis.
Sarah Quann, Mount Allison University
Dendrochronological Assessment of Spruce Budworm Outbreak Synchronicity in Cape Breton
Samples will be taken from four stands of balsam fir and black spruce located in the north, south, east and west parts of Cape Breton in order to track the timing and consequent spread of past outbreaks of budworm attacks across the island.
Graham Gilbert, Carleton University
Duration of active-layer freeze-back, Illisarvik, Northwest Territories
This research aims to examine factors governing the duration of active-layer freeze-back in low arctic tundra east of the Mackenzie delta. The specific focus is to determine the spatial variation in freeze-back rates and the range of times required to complete freezing of the active layer.
Myriam Hotte, Université de Montréal
High-definition geomorphological mapping of the Chic-Chocs mountain summits affected by permafrost, southern Quebec
The permafrost of the Chic-Chocs range in Gaspésie is considered the southernmost in Quebec. This research will map in detail the distribution of periglacial landforms and the bedrock outcrops on five summits, as well as delineate the krummholz line on each summit. The project will inform a larger research program aimed at evaluating the response of the Chic-Chocs permafrost thermal regime to climate change.
Sarah Panofsky, University of British Columbia
Pipeline politics: Northern Gateway and the contested landscape of environmental assessment
The research focuses on Northern Gateway Project, the proposed Enbridge pipeline that will carry oil from Edmonton to Kitimat, British Columbia, opening the tar sands to the Asian market. through an examination of the relationship between environmental change and the political, economic and social systems. The goal is to provide a greater understanding of the politics of the environmental assessment process in Canada.
Kym Rempel, Yukon College
What is the level of methyl mercury in plants that form the diet of the Porcupine caribou?
The project will aid in understanding the role that mercury may be playing with Porcupine caribou by looking at methyl mercury levels in the forage in their diet. The results will be stored in the Yukon Contaminants Database maintained by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada in Whitehorse. The results can be compared to past and future methyl mercury levels to help develop a model for predicting correlations between atmospheric mercury and methyl mercury in Porcupine caribou.
Tyler Veness, Wilfrid Laurier University
Runoff Prediction and Permafrost: Distribution and Degradation in the Hay River Basin of Canada’s Northwest Territories
This research project, conducted at the Scotty River research basin in the Hay River lowland, NWT, will document the change in permafrost distribution in the last 60 years and characterize the hydrological interaction among the major peatland types in the region. The objective is to contribute to the development of a new suite of science-based tools for predicting basin runoff in the context of degrading permafrost, needed for informed and sustainable management of northern water resources in the twenty-first century.
Brittany Shuwera, University of Winnipeg
The Dynamic of Change: Place Attachment in Yellowknife, NWT
A study of sense of place in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
Nicole d’Entremont, Mount Allison University
Enhancing dendrochronology through the use of flow cytometry
John Pollack and Doug Davidge
The Yukon River Survey is a multi-year project run by a small group of volunteer avocational and professional archaeologists based in Western Canada.
The key objective is to document the significant sternwheeler wrecks along the river before the ravages of the harsh northern environment destroy them.
Cartographie multyidates de la végétation alpine, Mont Jacques-Cartier 1973-2008
(in French only)
Maude Beaumier, McGill University
Tracing Nutrient Enrichment in Eastern Canadian Marshes
A better understanding of impacts of nitrogen enrichment on salt marsh vegetation
is critical in order to understand human effect on coastal ecosystems. Most of our knowledge on salt marsh plant dynamics related to nutrient
enrichment comes from studies that have been carried out in the USA. However, there is a belief that Canadian marshes have a different sensitivity
to nutrient enrichment due to differences in population and degree of human development. To address these questions, the nitrogen content in marsh
plant will be measured to determine how it reflects that of the environment. The nitrogen content of plant tissue in a marsh located downstream from
a sewage treatment plant in Saint Johns, New Brunswick will also be determined.
Rachel Herron, 2007 recipient of RCGS research grant.
Rachel Herron, Trent University
A qualitative study of farm women’s perceptions of care-giving in Peterborough County
The goal of this research is to explore and better understand the stresses
and contradictions inherent in Ontario farming communities from the perspective of the women living in these communities by studying the
strategies and support networks that enable the individual, family and community to maintain their health and well being.
Danica Hogan, Trent University
Comparison of the invertebrate communities of two Arctic lakes
The objective of this research is to compare invertebrate abundance and
diversity of two lakes in the Queen Maud Gulf Bird Sanctuary in an attempt
to determine if differences in the communities could be responsible for King
Eider movements after ducklings hatch.
Hannah MacDonald, Mount Allison University
Dendrochemical Assessment of the Sydney Tar Ponds Site
Dendrochemistry, a subset of tree ring research, can be used to detect various heavy metal concentrations
by chemically analyzing each ring. This principle can be applied to the infamous Sydney Tar Ponds site in Nova Scotia,
to determine which tree species is the best indicator of the local pollution. In sites at 1, 3, and 5 kilometre
perimeters from the former steel plant, five tree species will be picked and sampled. Two cores will be taken from each tree,
and heavy metal traces will be determined using an elemental analyzer. Data will be analyzed to determine the tree best suited for
tracking the heavy metal pollution. The final results can be used to research the total spatial dimension of the Sydney Steel Plant pollution.
Hannah MacDonald, 2007 recipient of RCGS research grant.
Jacynthe Masse, Université de Montréal
Adaptation du modèle sites afin d’évaluer la dynamique
du glacier rocheux du Lac aux Américains, Gaspésie
Located in eastern Canada south of the province of Quebec, Gaspésie overflows with landforms revealing
its glacial past. Of this number, on the edge of the river Cascapédia befits a complex of rock glacier unique in its kind.
Its uniqueness stems primarily on the assumption that it would contain permafrost in low altitude in the most southern part of
eastern Canada. The central objective of this research will be to confirm the presence of such a phenomenon and understand the present and
future activity of a Gaspésien glacier rock.
Felicia Pickard, Mount Allison University
Dendroarchaeological dating of a Dugout Canoe
The purpose of this project is to determine the exact age of a dugout canoe found in Northeastern New Brunswick in 2003 and to determine where the wood
it is made of came from, so it can be displayed in the New Brunswick Museum with the correct information. The Mount Allison Dendrochronology Lab is being used, as it is the only lab in Atlantic Canada that can answer this question. To determine the correct age of the dugout canoe, patterns of tree ring growth will be compared from the canoe to existing samples of eastern white pine wood.
Véronique Tremblay, 2006 recipient of RCGS research grant.
Elizabeth Flanary, McGill University
Plant zonation and geomorphic factors at a recovering salt marsh
Sarah Hart, Mount Allison University
Addressing Alpine ecotone shifts in Cavell Meadows, Jasper National Park
Heather Penner, Brandon University
Development of whale-watching management for Churchill, MB
Carolyn Reardon, Mount Allison University
Dendrochronological applications of wetland restoration: a study of tree growth in a bog
Véronique Tremblay, Université de Montréal
Géomorphologie quaternaire de la vallée de la rivière Cap-Chat, Haute Gaspésie
Ronald Berg, Lakehead University
Determining the Ecological History of Prairie Fragments in Northwestern Ontario using Leafhoppers (Family Cicadellidae)
This project will identify the arthropod species and floristic composition present at isolated grassland sites in Northwestern Ontario.
Lanna Campbell, Mount Allison University
Analyzing Cape Breton’s Remaining Old-Growth Forest
This project will look at the old-growth Acadian forest of Cape Breton’s Highland National Park in Nova Scotia. Old-growth stands of forest are essential to forest
biodiversity, to directly dependent wildlife, and to overall ecological integrity. Studying a key component of the forest, the dead and dying trees, will be used to help determine how long dead logs and snags have served as an important component of the old-growth habitat.
Rebecca Cumming, University of Victoria
Backshore Morphodynamics of a Prograding Macro-tidal Beach, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
This research will examine the influence of backshore “roughness” (vegetation, driftwood), beach topography (slope, dune form)
and forest succession on the morphodynamics of a prograding macro-tidal beach in Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands), BC.
This research has greater relevance for understanding potential responses of this coast to recent shifts in wind climate linked to climate change. This is important as this area is identified as one of Canada’s most “sensitive” to climate change and sea-level rise.
Sarah Bogart, Nipissing University
The role of sclerids in the Cyperaceae: relation to plant habit, habitat, and heavy metal accumulation
Tara Dupuis, 2005 research grant recipient
Tara Dupuis, University of Saskatchewan
Mapping the Extent of Crested Wheatgrass in Grasslands National Park Saskatchewan
Isabelle Gagnon, Université de Montréal
Description de glaciers rocheux en Gaspésie
Alysia Garmulewicz for the Canadian Youth Climate Change Conference (YC3) July 3-6, 2005
Gregory King, Carleton University
Post-fire succession and regeneration patterns of lodgepole pine, Fox Lake YT
Graham (Kyle) MacDonald, McGill University
Analysis of Changes in the Anthropogenic and Natural Hydrological Networks Resulting from Dyke Abandonment in Bay of Fundy Salt Marshes
This study seeks to examine changes in both the anthropogenic and natural hydrological drainage networks of Bay of Fundy salt-marshes that have resulted from
dyke abandonment at specific sites. Hydrological
networks play a critical role in salt-marsh function by providing habitat for fish, influencing sediment flow and soil drainage, and therefore affecting plant production.
Adam Minke, University of Lethbridge
Glacier Melt and Runoff on the Western and Eastern Slopes of the Canadian Rockies
This project is designed to measure how much water melts from a glacier on the western slopes of the Canadian Rockies at a daily basis in July, and how much of that
water collects on the surface of this glacier
versus how much infiltrates and runs through or under the glacier. It further measures how much water runs off from a small glacier
on the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies.
Ben Phillips, Mount Allison University
Long-term Climate Study in the Fundy Coastal region using tree-ring Analysis
Christine Robichaud, Mount Allison University
An analysis of Wood Turtle (Glyptemys Insuculpta) Growth Rings
A number of Wood Turtles from New Brunswick populations will be sampled by scanning each
individual’s plastron with a portable scanner. Once all the samples have been collected,
a specialized tree-ring-measuring software program will be used to measure the growth rings.
After completing the measurements, the ring data will be further analyzed by using a series
of International Tree Ring Data Bank software programs to relate the local climate data to
the pattern of ring growth. This will generate a pattern of growth based on climate and will
suggest which conditions are most favourable for growth. Once relationships between ring
growth and climate have been established, climate change modes from Environment Canada can
be used to predict future growth for this species.
Lanna Campbell, Mount Allison University
Habitat Analysis of Endangered Pine Marten
Scott Jackson, University of Victoria
Dendrochronological Reconstruction of Surprise Glacier Mass Balance
The goal of this research is to reconstruct the late Holocene mass balance (MB) history of Surprise Glacier, located in the Northern Coast Range near
Stewart, British Columbia. Detrital wood killed by the glaciers advance and deposited in a lateral moraine will provide dates of glacial adjustment and
MB maxima in response to climatic trends where this record has been destroyed in the terminal moraines by the Little Ice Age advance.
Ben Phillips, 2005 recipient of RCGS research grant.
Karri Loadman, University College of the Cariboo
An Analysis of the Feminist Critique of Suburbs: A Case Study of Kamloops
The purpose of this research is to test the validity of the feminist critique of the suburbs
using the city of Kamloops as a case study, and with two objectives. First, this paper will
determine what suburbs in Kamloops offer licensed daycare, transportation, employment opportunities,
and community facilities that are essential to women’s needs. Second, the level of
homogeneity in the suburbs of Kamloops will be determined using a distance matrix as well
as period of construction.
Findlay MacDermid, Lakehead University
A geographical analysis of grassland patches in Quetico Provincial Park
Krista McEwen, Trent University
Doctor Shortages in Ontario Communities
The objectives of this project are to describe and interpret geographical dimensions of
the lack of family physicians and adequate health care in many Ontario communities. This
project will address concerns about doctor shortages, and critically examine the techniques
that communities have been using to attract doctors to their area and which of these have
been the most successful.
Christine Robichaud, Mount Allison University
One Hundred Years of Landscape Evolution in Maligne Pass
The objective of this research project is to see how the landscape of the Maligne Pass
has changed over the past 100 years, using standard dendrochronological methods. Using past climatic records from the Jasper townsite,
a pattern of tree growth will be determined based on climatic conditions. This pattern will then be extended to predict tree establishment
for the next 50-100 years based on current climate change scenarios.
Julie Robinson, Nipissing University
Metal Accumulation, Chlorophyll Content and Growth of Birch Leaves along a Pollution
Gradient Impacted by Smelter Activity near Sudbury, Ontario
This research project seeks to study the seasonal patterns of development, growth, metal
accumulation and chlorophyll production in white birth leaves along a pollution gradient.
White birch is a metal-tolerant tree species that is an important component of the vegetation
of the Sudbury industrial barrens.
Krista Roessingh and Ingmar Lee, University of Victoria
Culturally Modified Trees of the Brooks Peninsula and East Creek, Vancouver Island,
The objectives of this research are to involve the territorial Quatsino First Nation in
reconstructing historical use and habitation of the study are to examine the dendrochronology
of Culturally Modified Trees (CMT) including bark and plank-stripped cedar trees, canoe trees,
pitch-holed spruce trees, and other species, and remaining house-poles, and to interpret
historical patterns of landscape use by mapping spatial distribution and age of CMT’s,
trails, villages, and camp sites.
Zachary Vanthournout, Mount Allison University
Maritime Wind Regines: An Analytical Dendrochronological Survey
Flagged trees are wind affected trees. It is proposed that tree rings of flagged trees grow
differently than non-wind affected trees. It is the purpose of this study to use dendrochronological
research and analysis techniques to help provide a greater insight to the wind regime of
an area. This will help establish wind energy in marginal areas, as viable and successful.
Michael Bishop Wironen, McGill University
The Effects of Exotic Earthworms on Soil Properties and Forest Understory Vegetation
This project will compare the soil properties and flora of several sites with and without
earthworm populations in an old-growth deciduous forest ecosystem. The goal is to determine
if exotic (introduced) earthworms have a significant effect on soil structure and soil characteristics,
and whether or not there is a correlation between the presence or absence of certain dominant
understory species and earthworms.
Amélie Boivin, Université de Sherbrooke
Caractérisation du milieu biophysique de l’île Nue de Mingan
Catherine Brown, University of Alberta
Geophysical Investigations of a Possible Subglacial Lake, John Evans Glacier, Ellesmere
This research will incorporate a suite of geophysical methods (radio echo sounding, high-resolution
GPS surveying, and ice core analysis) to test the hypothesis that there is a subglacial lake
below John Evans Glacier, Ellesmere Island.
Ronald Gaudet, Saint Mary’s University
Mapping Coastal Sand Dunes in Prince Edward Island National Park
Prince Edward Island National Park is currently the number one threatened park in Canada.
One of the features of the park that is threatened is the dune system. This research project
will contribute a map and classification of the coastal sand dunes found in the park.
Benjamin Heumann, McGill University
Investigating Post-Spring Snowmelt Hydrology and Fine-Sediment Transport in Logged Drainage
This project will investigate fine sediment deposition of 1 st and 2 nd order streams and
logging road drainage ditches during storm events when the catchment soils are saturated.
The SLURP (Simple Lumped Reservoir Parametric) hydrological model will be calibrated and
validated for use in the Cascapedia River drainage basin in Québec.
Richard Marcantonio, Carleton University
Dendroclimatology of white spruce at tree line, south-eastern Yukon Territory
Tree cores will be collected from white spruce (Picea glauca) trees growing near the sub-alpine
tree line in south eastern Yukon Territory. The tree ring growth records will be correlated
with instrumental climate records from the region to produce a reconstruction of summer temperatures
during the past three centuries or so.
Aileen Profir, Carleton University
Summer energy balance of Mayo Lake, Yukon Territory
The objective of this research is to determine the relative warming of Mayo Lake in summer
and sensible heat transfer from the atmosphere. Lakes transport and store heat and have climatic
implications not only for the air overlying the lake but also surrounding areas. Their climate
is quite different from that present on land. Thus, an understanding of the surface energy
balance of northern lakes is essential to the understanding of the consequences of climatic
variability and anthropogenic climate change in this region.
Benjamin Rabidoux, Nipissing University
Seasonal Migration Patterns of Musky (Esox masquinongy) on Lake Nipissing
This research will study the seasonal migration patterns of musky (Esox masquinongy) in
Lake Nipissing by tracking individuals using radio transmitters. It is hoped this study will
help shed light on several questions currently surrounding the seasonal habits of these fish,
such as where do musky tend to spawn; where do juvenile musky tend to live and how do their
seasonal migration habits differ from adults; and what proximity and sensitivity do spawning
sites and juvenile staging areas have to the city of North Bay.
Karen Rowan, Carleton University
Changes to the channel form of Stewart River, central Yukon Territory
Changes to the form of Stewart River will be investigated over the period of air photo record
from 1950 to the present. There are three reaches of the Stewart River near Mayo, which vary
in sediment composition and glacial history. Sediment samples from river banks in the three
sections of the river will be obtained to determine their specific characteristics, and permafrost
conditions will be mapped in the ground adjacent to the river.
Daniel Shugar, Carleton University
Ground ice in peat, central Yukon
The purpose of this research is to investigate whether ground ice in peatlands is in the
peat itself or in the underlying mineral soil; determine how much of the ice in frozen peat
is excess ice; and determine whether relief of peatlands is due to the ice or other factors.
Hubert Pelletier-Gilbert, McGill University
Propriétés privées et conservation de la biodiversité dans le massif des Monts Sutton
Through a RCGS grant, Hubert Pelletier-Gilbert explored the issue of conservation on private property, focusing
on the efforts of the Appalachian Corridor Project.
Jennifer Hiscott, Nipissing University
European Beetle Impact on Purple Loosestrife
Grace Hung, McGill University
Spatial Variability of Lead in Salt Marsh Sediments in the Bay of Fundy
Karen Brelsford, University of Victoria
Dendrochronological Investigations of Historic Log Cabins in the Banff-Jasper National Parks Boundary Area
Does Allofeeding Occur in the Nestling Period of Gray Jays on Anticosti Island in the Absence of Red Squirrels?
Emily Addison, Trent University
The Dance Halls of Inverness County, Cape Breton: A Spatical Perspective
Jean-Pierre Bombardier, York University
The Little Oasis Project: Bioregional Mapping and Reclamation of the East Don River Tributary through Morrow Park