Department Research

Fields of Research

Department research activities span a wide range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary activities, including: the evolution of the cultural landscape; aging; maritime shipbuilding and seaports; homelessness; global (and China’s) energy supplies; global food and agriculture; alternative energy sources; replacement of petroleum feedstock in petrochemical industry; speciation, cycling, and bioavailability of trace elements across environmental interfaces; animal geographies; applied meteorology; drought analysis; microclimatology, greenhouse gas source-sink analysis; geographies of health, care giving and care work in urban and rural settings; human-animal relations.

The changing role of zoos and zoo maps; prairie and forest restoration; traditional Aboriginal knowledge; sustainable rural and urban agriculture; risk analysis of GM crops and disease; plant, wildlife and landscape ecology; environmental conservation and ecological restoration; gender and development; environmental health; arctic climate change and polar marine ecosystem studies, sea ice geophysics, marine optics, Arctic oceanography (physical and biological).

Researchers in the Department, collaborate with a wide variety of other academic, governmental and private institutions, non-governmental and grassroots organizations, and community groups. These include: Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE – ArcticNet, PrioNET), NSERC national research networks (e.g. BIOCAP, CASES, MITE-RN, COMERN); national climate-related research centres (e.g. HAL, PSPC, MRB and CRB) within the Meteorological Services of Canada (MSC); Department of Fisheries and Oceans facilities (including the Canadian Ocean Climate Chemistry Centre, IOS, FWI); numerous zoos both in Canada, and abroad; Clearwater and Erikson rural communities, Hollow Water and Grassy Narrows First Nations; Spence and Furby urban community gardens; NGOs that include Boreal Forest Network and Council of Canadians, Manitoba Conservation; Parks Canada; Manitoba Hydro; Ducks Unlimited and many others.

In addition, the department is a forerunner in research outreach activities, including Schools on Board, a national initiative to engage schools and communities in Arctic science research by interacting with international research teams on board the Canadian Research Icebreaker. Other important collaborations include action research and education with rural communities, farm groups and First Nations across the country, especially the Harvest Moon Society, and environmental NGOs including Council of Canadians, Boreal Forest Network, Saskatchewan Organic Directorate, Status of Women Canada, Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and the Delta Waterfowl Foundation.

Meteorological research involves collaboration with international research networks (e.g. Universities of Miami (RSMAS), Wisconsin, the Radiometrics Corp.). Other international research involves major ion chemistry with scientists in China; trace element behavior research in the Himalaya, Nepal and India; energy and food supply in China; homelessness in Los Angeles; grasslands conservation strategy in North America; international zoo visitor views of conservation; ports and regional development in East Asia; and community-located environmental conservation in Ecuador, Peru, as well as India and Bangladesh.

Research Facilities

The Department enjoys close collaboration with the Centre for Earth Observation Science (CEOS). CEOS is structured as an interdisciplinary centre through the partnering arrangements with the Departments of Statistics, Botany, Biological Sciences, Soil Science, Civil Engineering, Physics and Applied Mathematics. External partners include Manitoba Natural Resources, the Canadian Wheat Board, Parks Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, MB Hydro as well as those with national and international affiliations such as the Canadian Ice Services, Environment Canada, Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, Canadian Space Agency, National Air and Space Administration, and the Canadian International Development Agency.

Because of this extensive network, it is possible to access facilities and equipment far beyond the holdings of the University. Three fully equipped computer laboratories and data-sharing agreements with CEOS partners provide the infrastructure support for research and teaching programs. Students have access to a research laboratory with fully integrated PC and UNIX (IBM RS/6000 and DEC Alpha) work stations, with two calcomp digitizers, slide-output device and plotter.

Another laboratory is Pentium based with 15 workstations and a server. Available software includes Arc/Info, PCI Ease/Pace, ER Mapper, Idrisi, ArcView, IDL, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

Faculty within the Department have acquired a vast array of field and laboratory research equipment. A partial list includes a GPS base stations, handheld units and a satellite receiving station; radiometers, spectrometers, scatterometers for monitoring of electromagnetic radiation in the solar, terrestrial and microwave wavelengths, atmospheric boundary layer profiling equipment, surface meteorological and energy and CO2 flux monitoring facilities. Laboratory facilities include a cold laboratory for snow and sea ice microstructure analysis.

A CFI award has enabled the acquisition and operation of the Ultra-Clean Trace Element Laboratory (UCTEL) which is one the most advanced ultra-trace analytical facilities in the world. NSERC grants have led to the purchase of atmospheric boundary layer profiling equipment and surface heat and mass flux facilities for energy budget and greenhouse gas studies.
The Environmental Conservation Lab focuses on the interface between biological and social sciences, and conducts community-entered research, education, and outreach across North America and in the Global South. Research incorporates extensive fieldwork, spatial analyses at multiple scales of organization, and participatory video making. Several researchers in the Department use the field stations of Clearwater, the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), Oak Hammock Marsh, and the Manitoba Zero Till Research Association (MZTRA).

         Acting Director: Tim Papakyriakou
         Location: 460 Wallace

         Lab Research Coordinator:
         Stephane McLachlan
         Location: 303 Wallace Building

         Supervisor: Mark Hanson
         Location: 216 Wallace Building

         Supervisor: Feiyue Wang
         Location: 420 Parker Building

         Supervisor: Feiyue Wang
         Location: University of Manitoba
         (Currently under construction)