Research Themes

Research in the NRS department spans the following themes: 

The Canadian North

Research conducted in the Canadian North has shared conceptual focus on rapid environmental and societal change in a cold climate region, as well shared logistical challenges of remote region and community-based research. Northern research and economic development are nationally priorities, and we are well-positioned to address these priorities from a multidisciplinary base.

The programs extend across a wide topical and geographic range including:

  • Microbial diversity in the high Arctic
  • Arthropod diversity across the Arctic
  • Aboriginal resource management and knowledge integration in the Yukon
  • Quebec and forest response to climate in Quebec

Many members of the NRS department are northern researchers working in boreal, subarctic and arctic regions. 

  • Benoit CôtéOld Crow FlatsMcGill researchers field camp near Old Crow Flats in northern Yukon.
  • Chris Buddle
  • Kyle Elliot
  • Jim Fyles
  • Murray Humphries
  • Gordon Hickey
  • Ian Strachan
  • Terry Wheeler
  • Lyle Whyte

 

 

Environmental Pollutants and Toxicants

Many department members work on aspects of the behavior and effects of contaminants released, directly or indirectly by human activity into the environment. The research in this category includes:

  • Toxic effects of metals and organics, phosphorus, and greenhouse gas emissions. 

A number of NRS department members are working on this area of research including: 

  • Niladri Basu
  • Elena Bennett
  • Kyle Elliott
  • Jessica Head
  • William Hendershot
  • Ian Strachan
  • Joann Whelan 
  • Lyle Whyte

Social-Ecological Systems, Ecosystem Services and Management

Several of our research programs contribute to understanding the interactions between humans and the ecosystems they rely on. Important on-going examples include:

  • Monteregie ecosystem services project 
  • Resilient farming systems in semi-arid Kenya 
  • Projects in forest, fish and wildlife management 

​The following NRS department members are working on these projects:

  • Elena Bennett
  • Benoit Côté
  • Kyle Elliott
  • Jim Fyles
  • Gordon Hickey
  • Murray Humphries
  • Nicolas Kosoy
  • Chris Solomon

Biodiversity

Diverse in itself, this theme brings together our research in forests, entomology, wildlife and fisheries. This research focuses on organismal responses to the environment and the dynamics of community and ecosystem processes that arise from them.  

A number of NRS department members are working on this area of research including:  

  • Elena Bennett
  • Chris Buddle
  • Benoit Côté
  • Gary Dunphy
  • Kyle Elliott
  • Sebastien Faucher
  • Jim Fyles
  • Jessica Head
  • Murray Humphries
  • Chris Solomon
  • Joann Whelan

Microbial Diversity and Processes

Microbiology and the processes it drives, with dimensions that extend from molecular techniques to astrobiology, continue to be an active research theme within the department. 

A number of NRS department members are working on this area of research including: 

  • Brian Driscoll
  • Sebastien Faucher
  • Lyle Whyte
  • Joann Whelan

Resource and Ecological Economics

This area continues to emerge, with on-going research among Thomassin and his students, plus the Economics for the Anthropocene joint initiative with York and the University of Vermont.

The following NRS department members are involved with this research area: 

  • Peter Brown
  • Nicolas Kosoy

Spatial Approaches

A small, specialized but growing research theme is the analysis of spatial patterns in land-surface, soil, or ecosystem properties and animal movements. These are derived from remote sensing, systematic ground sampling or satellite tracking data. Unprecedented explosion in the availability of data, new analytical tools, and expanding computing capability for analysis of ‘big data’ are fueling the development in this emerging area.  

A number of NRS department members are involved with this research area:

  • Asim Biswas
  • Jeffrey Cardille
  • Jim Fyles
  • Murray Humphries