Kevin Turner

Associate Professor, Geography and Tourism Studies, Earth Sciences
Faculty Affiliate, Environmental Sustainability Research Centre
Co-Founder, Water and Environmental Laboratory

PhD Physical Geography (Wilfrid Laurier)
PG GIS (Sir Sandford Fleming)
BSc Physical Geography and Biology (Trent)

Office: MC C330
Phone: 905-688-5550 x5399
Twitter: @turner_kw

Background: My background is in physical geography and geomatics. After earning a BSc at Trent Univeristy in physical geography and biology, I completed the post-graduate GIS (Application Specialist) program at Sir Sandford Fleming. I worked for five years as a GIS Specialist and Land Survey Manager for a geophysical exploration firm that focused on projects in remote US and Canadian locations. My research interests in northern water resources manifested during my graduate program at Wilfrid Laurier University, when my fieldwork was concentrated in Old Crow Flats, Yukon.

Research program summary: Lakes and wetlands, which are abundant across northern landscapes, sustain ecological and cultural integrity and represent important components of hydrological and biogeochemical cycles. There is widespread evidence that these landscapes are experiencing differential responses to shifts climate and land cover.  To enhance our understanding of how these systems are changing, my research program integrates several approaches to identify drivers of hydroecological conditions over multiple spatial and temporal scales. Water chemistry and isotopic tracers from water sampling campaigns are used to evaluate differences in water balance and runoff generation processes among catchments. Remote sensing approaches are utilized to identify temporal patterns in catchment land cover characteristics, which are integrated with ground-based assessments of hydrology, active layer and tree ring data.  Historical context of landscape changes is complemented using paleolimnolgical analyses of lake sediment cores. Capturing evidence of past and present interactions among hydrological features, land cover and climate provide the basis to anticipate how important northern wetlands may respond in the future. Findings generated from this research program will serve to inform land management and adaptation strategies as these important landscapes continue to change.

Key words of interest: Hydrology, hydroecology, GIS, spatial analysis, remote sensing, water isotope tracers, biogeochemical cycling, paleolimnology

  • Response of northern lake-rich landscapes to climate change
  • Hydrology
  • GIS, spatial analysis, and remote sensing
  • Water isotope tracer techniques
  • Paleolimnological reconstruction of past lake conditions
  • Turner KW, MD Pearce, D Hughes. 2021. Detailed characterization and monitoring of a retrogressive thaw slump from remotely piloted aircraft systems and identifying associated influence on carbon and nitrogen export. Remote Sensing, section: Remote Sensing in Geology, Geomorphology and Hydrology, special issue: Applications of UAVs in Cold Region Ecological and Environmental Studies. (Selected to feature on issue cover).
  • Prince TJ, MFJ Pisaric, KW Turner. 2018. Postglacial reconstruction of fire history using sedimentary charcoal and pollen from a small lake in southwest Yukon Territory, Canada. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, section Paleoecology.
  • Giordano BV, KW Turner, FF Hunter. 2018. Geospatial Analysis and Seasonal Distribution of West Nile Virus Vectors (Diptera: Culicidae) in Southern Ontario, Canada. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: 15(4), 614, doi:10.3390/ijerph15040614
  • Balabubramaniam AM, AS Medeiros, KW Turner, RI Hall, BB Wolfe. 2017. Biotic responses to multiple aquatic and terrestrial gradients in shallow subarctic lakes (Old Crow Flats, Yukon Territory, Canada). Arctic Science: 3: 277-300,
  • MacDonald LA, BB Wolfe, KW Turner, L Anderson, CD Arp, SJ Birks, F Bouchard, TWD Edwards, N Farquharson, RI Hall, I McDonald, B Narancic, C Ouimet, R Pienitz, J Tondu, H White. 2017. A synthesis of thermokarst lake water balance in high-latitude regions of North America from isotope tracers. Arctic Science:  118-149,
  • Tondu JM, KW Turner, JA Wiklund, BB Wolfe, RI Hall, I McDonald.  2017.  Limnological evolution of Zelma Lake, a recently drained thermokarst lake in Old Crow Flats (Yukon, Canada). Arctic Science 220-236,
  • Bouchard F, LA MacDonald, KW Turner, JR Thienpont, AS Medeiros, BK Biskaborn, J Korosi, RI Hall, R Pienitz, BB Wolfe. 2017. Paleolimnology of thermokarst lakes: a window into permafrost landscape evolution. Arctic Science: 91-117,
  • Lantz TC and KW Turner. 2015. Increase in the frequency of catastrophic lake drainage in the Old Crow Flats, Yukon. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 120, 513-524, doi: 10.1002/2014JG002744.
  • Turner KW, BB Wolfe, TWD Edwards, TC Lantz, RI Hall, G Larocque.  2014.  Controls on water balance of shallow thermokarst lakes and their relations with catchment characteristics: a multi-year, landscape-scale assessment based on water isotope tracers and remote sensing in Old Crow Flats, Yukon (Canada).  Global Change Biology 20 (5): 1585-1603.
  • Turner KW, TWD Edwards , BB Wolfe.  2014.  Characterising runoff generation processes in a lake-rich thermokarst landscape (Old Crow Flats, Yukon, Canada) using δ18O, δ2H and d-excess measurements.  Permafrost and Periglacial Processes 25: 53-59.
  • Bouchard F, KW Turner, LA MacDonald, C Deakin, H White, N Farquharson, AS Medeiros, BB Wolfe, RI Hall, R Pienitz, TWD Edwards.  2013.  Vulnerability of shallow subarctic lakes to evaporate and desiccate when snowmelt runoff is low.  Geophysical Research Letters 40:  6112-6117.
  • Tondu JM, KW Turner, BB Wolfe, RI Hall, TWD Edwards, I McDonald.  2013.  Using water isotope tracers to develop the hydrological component of a long-term aquatic ecosystem monitoring program for a northern lake-rich landscape.  Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 45 (4):  594-614.
  • MacDonald LA, KW Turner, AM Balasubramaniam, BB Wolfe, RI Hall and JN Sweetman. 2012. Tracking hydrological responses of a thermokarst lake in the Old Crow Flats (Yukon Territory, Canada) to recent climate variability using aerial photos and paleolimnological methods. Hydrological Processes 26: 117-129.
  • Turner KW, BB Wolfe and TWD Edwards. 2010. Characterizing the role of hydrological processes on lake water balances in the Old Crow Flats, Yukon Territory, Canada, using water isotope tracers. Journal of Hydrology 386: 103-117.
  • Wolfe BB, MM Humphries, MFJ Pisaric, AM Balasubramaniam, CR Burn, L Chan, D Cooley, DG Froese, S Graupe, RI Hall, T Lantz, TJ Porter, P Roy-Leveillee, KW Turner, SD Wesche and M Williams. 2011. Environmental change and traditional use of the Old Crow Flats in northern Canada: An IPY opportunity to meet the challenges of the new northern research paradigm. Arctic 64: 127-135.
  • Wolfe BB and KW Turner. 2008. Near-record precipitation causes rapid drainage of Zelma Lake, Old Crow Flats, northern Yukon Territory. Meridian Spring/Summer issue: 7-12.
  • GEOG 3P07 Remote Sensing
  • GEOG 3P22 Quantitative Research Design and Methodology
  • GEOG 3P05 Geographic Information Systems
  • GEOG 3P95 Advanced Geographic Information Systems
  • SSAS 5P11 (0.5) Water Resource Economics, Management, and Governance
  • GEOG 5P03 Quantitative Analysis in Geography