Articles tagged with: research

  • Brock geographer makes global connections during Fulbright Canada residency

    Almost two years after his Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Arctic Studies at the University of Washington was first announced, Kevin Turner is winding down his duties.

    The award normally involves a six-month residency, but the global pandemic prevented the Associate Professor in Brock University’s Departments of Geography and Tourism Studies and Earth Sciences from travelling to Seattle as expected.

    Instead, he virtually taught a fourth-year course in Arctic Landscape Change and Detection, conducted workshops for teachers and engaged in events hosted by the World Affairs Council, including a fireside chat with Chief Tizya-Tramm of the Vuntut Gwitchin Government through winter 2021.

    Earlier this spring, he was finally able to load his truck with his bikes and some field equipment and head west for his required in-person residency at the University of Washington.

    In spite of a hectic three-month schedule, Turner says the trip has created opportunities to meet up and collaborate with colleagues, sometimes in unexpected ways.

    In May, he travelled to Fairbanks, Alaska, for a meeting of NASA’s Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) Science Team. As a research affiliate of that program, he advises on airborne data acquisition and suggests key flyover locations from his main research site in Old Crow.

    “Being an affiliate of NASA ABoVE, I can help guide where they fly in northern Yukon and then utilize the data they collect within my research program, as can many others,” says Turner. “We also learn the latest on some of the cool things that colleagues are doing with the data to assess landscape conditions across the north, as well as share our own findings.”

    He attended a meeting of the International Circumpolar Remote Sensing Symposium in Fairbanks, which attracted top scholars from around the world, and was also involved in fieldwork being done by colleagues from University of Alaska, Fairbanks and the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab.

    “I was able to use some equipment I brought with me because I didn’t want it sitting in the truck at the airport while I travelled,” Turner says. “When I took it out for a little bit of show and tell, they invited me to visit one of their research sites to try it out.”

    Upon his return to Seattle, the University of Washington hosted Turner, Tram Nguyen, the 2021-22 Fulbright Canada Chair in Arctic Studies, and others for a roundtable discussion in late May on “Holistic Approaches to Health and Wellbeing in Arctic Communities and Beyond.”

    In June, Turner flew north again for fieldwork in Old Crow, Yukon. The strict parameters of his VISA required him to travel on specific dates — which can be hard to commit to when research excursions are delayed by Arctic weather.

    Turner counted on Brock Earth Sciences graduate student Michelle Pearce (BSc ’20) and undergraduate student Marley Tessier to help him meet the logistical challenges of the research trip and collaborated with colleagues from Polar Knowledge Canada and Parks Canada, along with local Indigenous community members, including photographer and drone pilot, Caleb Charlie, to collect data. Turner also credits helicopter pilot Ruth Hardy with being able to work wonders in small time frames.

    In addition to gathering water samples and aerial survey photography, Turner also used a LiDAR sensor — “a Ghostbuster-looking sensor that shoots out 300,000 pulses of light per second” — to collect data for fine-grained 3D imaging of the landscape.

    His use of the LiDAR device was of particular interest to a documentary film crew from France and Germany working on a four-part series on climate change, who accompanied the researchers and interviewed Turner in the midst of the data collection.

    Turner has now returned to Seattle for the rest of July to crunch some data and collaborate with colleagues at the University of Washington.

    Though it hasn’t been without its challenges, he says that he has enjoyed the “shake-up” of the Seattle residency and the Fulbright Chair overall. And he looks forward to soon welcoming his family for a quick holiday in a nearby mountain cabin.

    “If I didn’t have the support of my family, this would be impossible,” he says. “My wife, Jen, is amazing, and my two boys have really stepped up to fill in the gaps of getting things done around the house in my absence. Their ability to carry on with me somewhere else for an extended period has made this smooth, but I really miss them.”

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  • Indigenous Research Grant projects to explore critical issues

    Affordable housing, impacts of climate change, decolonizing experiential education and boosting health-care delivery will be the focus of projects supported by this year’s Brock University Indigenous Research Grants.

    The Office of the Vice-President, Research and the Office of the Acting Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement have announced the 2022 recipients of the grants, which support research or creative activities in any discipline and on any topic that relates to Indigenous Peoples.

    “What is exciting about these research projects is, not only do they engage with Indigenous Peoples in a meaningful way, but they’re also directed at improving the lives of Indigenous people,” says Acting Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement Robyn Bourgeois.

    The recipients are:

    • Maureen Connolly, Professor of Kinesiology, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, “Decolonizing experiential learning on the Brock University campus: A case study”
    • Liam Midzain-Gobin, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, “Indigenous Affordable Housing in Niagara”
    • Constance Schumacher, Assistant Professor of Nursing, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, “Defining a Good Life: Community Partnerships and interRAI Data”
    • Kevin Turner, Associate Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, “The sky is the limit for community monitoring of climate change impacts in Old Crow, Yukon”

    The areas of study are dealing with critical issues, says Bourgeois. Accessing affordable housing, documenting the impacts of climate change, decolonizing experiential education and boosting the delivery of health care are areas of concern expressed by various communities, she says.

    “What an honour to be able to support these research projects,” says Bourgeois.

    By facilitating Indigenous-centred research, the Indigenous Research Grants program is a tangible way Brock University is advancing principles articulated in the Brock Institutional Strategic Plan, says Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon.

    “These projects will contribute knowledge, understanding and partnerships that advance scholarship and have meaningful impact, in keeping with values of reconciliation and decolonization,” he says.

    Launched last year, the Indigenous Research Grants program aims to achieve several goals:

    • Supporting Indigenous researchers and Indigenous-focused research at Brock University.
    • Enabling researchers to hire students at any level to participate in their project (with preference toward students who self-identify as First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and/or another Indigenous group.
    • Supporting and advancing interest and expertise in Indigenous research areas.

    The grant of up to $7,500 aims to help researchers develop their research programs and creative activities so they can apply to external granting agencies such as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for funding, among others.

    Research and creative activities led by, or in partnership with, First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples are given priority, although research proposals involving Indigenous Peoples located around the world are also welcome.

    Four faculty also received Indigenous Research Grants last year, with the projects in various stages of research:

    Applications are accepted on a continuous basis. Brock faculty wishing to apply should visit the Indigenous Research Grant page of the Research Services site (login required). For more information, contact Karen Espiritu, Acting Manager, Sponsored Research and Internal Programs.

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  • Brock researchers awarded more than $1.1 million in SSHRC funding

    With so many charities competing for a limited number of dollars, it’s hard to know who to support. Donors want to make sure groups they fund are using the money responsibly.

    Professor of Accounting Hemantha Herath is among those challenging the conventional way charities calculate and report their program expenses.

    With funding from the federal government’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Herath is researching how data science techniques can be integrated into current reporting methods to give a fuller picture of charities’ performances.

    Herath is among eight Brock University researchers awarded SSHRC’s Insight Grant, announced Thursday, June 16 by François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

    Brock University received more than $1.1 million in the latest round of Insight Grants, which support research excellence and are judged worthy of funding by fellow researchers and/or other experts. The research can be conducted individually or by teams.

    “SSHRC’s investment in our research enables our scholars to contribute valuable insights into our collective understanding of a wide range of challenges faced in society,” says Brock’s Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon.

    In Herath’s case, he will use his funding to research how to recalculate the program expense ratio, which measures costs incurred by programs, services and other activities fulfilling a non-profit’s mission compared to its total costs.

    Herath is exploring how to integrate statistical techniques, including cluster analysis, which groups data that share similar properties, and text mining, which involves the process of examining large collections of documents to discover new information, into the accounting process.

    “This data-driven approach will generate more reliable information that will help donors, resource providers and the public evaluate the effectiveness of non-profit organizations so that they can make better funding decisions,” he says.

    Brock researchers awarded Insight Grants in 2022 are:

    • Julia Baird, Associate Professor, Environmental Sustainability Research Centre and the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, “Individual interventions to transform water governance”
    • Angela Book, Associate Professor, Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, “The Social Predator Hypothesis of Psychopathy”
    • Timothy Fletcher, Associate Professor, Kinesiology, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, “Champions for Meaningful Physical Education”
    • Hemantha Herath, Professor, Accounting, Goodman School of Business, “How to Choose a Charity: A Data Science Based Investigation”
    • Shannon Kerwin, Associate Professor, Sport Management, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, “Signaling Change: Exploring Gender EDI and Human Resource Management Practices, Board Gender Composition, and Board Outcomes in Non-profit Sport Governing Bodies”
    • Sean Locke, Assistant Professor, Kinesiology, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, “Understanding how reframing inaccurate barrier perceptions promotes physical activity participation”
    • Bradley Millington, Associate Professor, Sport Management, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, “Sport and the digital economy: A case study of the Canadian sports analytics industry”
    • Elizabeth Sauer, Professor, English Language and Literature, Faculty of Humanities, “Reorienting English National Consciousness: Renaissance to Late Restoration”

    Also announced June 16 are Stage 1 of SSHRC’s Partnership Grants, which provide support for new and existing formal partnerships over four to seven years to advance research, research training and/or knowledge mobilization in the social sciences and humanities.

    Brock University’s two awards, totalling $39,882, are:

    • Jennifer Roberts-Smith, Professor, Dramatic Arts, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, “Staging Better Futures/Mettre en scène de meilleurs avenirs”
    • Teena Willoughby, Professor, Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, “The impact of technology use on adolescent risk behaviours and wellbeing over time: A collaborative approach focusing on partnerships and comparisons across different research approaches”

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  • Proven performance trumps cost in agriculture innovation adoption, NCO research suggests

    When Ontario farmers consider introducing new technologies into their operations, there’s a laundry list of factors in addition to cost that go into determining whether they’re a fit.

    Although the inclusion of innovation can be seen as a significant investment, cost is often outweighed by performance when results are proven and make sense for the operation in question, new research by Brock University’s Niagara Community Observatory (NCO) says.

    The NCO’s latest policy brief, presented during a virtual event Wednesday, Dec. 8, examines the barriers and drivers to adoption of automation and robotics in Ontario’s agriculture sector. The research combines analysis of survey data from Ontario farms with that of in-depth interviews conducted with farmers and agriculture innovation stakeholders.

    The paper was authored by Amy Lemay, NCO Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor in Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre; Charles Conteh, Professor of Public Policy and Management in the Department of Political Science and NCO Director; and Jeff Boggs, Associate Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies and NCO Interim Director.

    The brief is the NCO’s latest agriculture innovation policy research, funded through the federal-provincial Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

    Its findings suggest that widespread adoption of automation and robotics technologies in the agriculture sector is dependent on:

    • Technologies that provide solutions to real problems.
    • Technologies with proven and validated performance and benefits.
    • Equipment suppliers with local and reliable service, maintenance and technical support.
    • Governance frameworks for data that protect privacy and security.
    • Policies and programs that incentivize early adopters and smaller farms.

    “Our results suggest that any perceived failures on the part of farmers to adopt automation and robotics technologies are not because they’re inherently slow adopters due to their overly risk-adverse or conservative nature, rather we’re seeing that farmers are making objectively rational decisions,” Lemay says. “Farmers are showing a reluctance to adopt technologies with unproven performance or profitability from suppliers with uncertain futures who have weak connections to or understanding of the agriculture sector.”

    Lemay says the team’s research found that “for most farmers, performance was more important than cost or ease of use when they were choosing a technology.”

    But challenges for adoption arose when it came to technologies that had yet to tangibly demonstrate promised benefits, as well as those unable to provide local, reliable access to service, parts and maintenance over the long term, given that many technologies are imported from multinational manufacturers based outside of Canada.

    To address these concerns, Lemay says it may be necessary for researchers and technology solution providers to build collaborations with established, local farm equipment distributors and retailers to bring new technologies to market.

    “Our findings point to the need for reconsidering, rethinking and revisiting how adoption of agri-food innovations is supported and promoted in the province,” Conteh says. “We want to generate solutions for accelerating technology transfer and adoption. While empirically our focus is on Ontario, our findings hold implications for all of Canada.”

    The next phase of the study, which is now underway, has researchers interviewing stakeholders from Canadian ‘superclusters’ — NGen in Hamilton and Protein Industries Canada in Saskatoon — to gain a broader understanding of the drivers and barriers to the adoption of technologies, Lemay says.

    The final phase, to take place this winter, will include a series of focus groups that will bring together agri-food stakeholders from industry, government and academia to identify policy and government recommendations for supporting and promoting the adoption of automation and robotics technologies.

    Following Wednesday’s brief presentation, a panel discussion was held featuring industry stakeholders: Kathryn Carter, Tender Fruit and Grape Specialist, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; Hussam Haroun, Director, Automation, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre; and Rodney Bierhuizen, Co-owner, Sunrise Greenhouses.

    The Niagara Community Observatory’s latest brief, “Growing Agri-Innovation: Investigating the barriers and drivers to the adoption of automation and robotics in Ontario’s agriculture sector,” is available on the NCO website.

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  • New research finds evidence of climate-driven changes to northern lakes

    Across the Old Crow Flats in the northern Yukon, lakes are telling a story of climate-driven change.

    The traditional territory of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN), the Old Crow Flats is recognized as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance thanks to its more than 8,000 thermokarst lakes (up to 15 square kilometres) and ponds. Thermokarst lakes are formed by thawed permafrost and can be prone to drainage if they expand into low-lying areas.

    Kevin Turner, an Associate Professor in Brock’s Department of Geography and Tourism Studies and Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Arctic Studies at the University of Washington, has studied the area since 2007, and he says that warmer temperatures, longer summers and more rain are “priming this important landscape for continued climate-driven landscape change.”

    In a new paper with Lauren A. MacDonald, who was a post-doctoral research fellow at Brock in fall 2020, as well as researchers from Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Waterloo and Parks Canada, Turner and his team share an analysis of water samples suggesting significant trends toward increased rainfall in the area, which could affect drainage in the shallow lakes and cause changes to soil stability along shorelines.

    The research, conducted under the direction of the Vuntut Gwitchin Government and the North Yukon Renewable Resources Council, saw sampling take place from 14 lakes in the Old Crow Flats two to three times per year from 2007 to 2019.

    Kevin Turner collects water samples for analysis from a thermokarst lake in Old Crow Flats. (Photo courtesy of Luke Gray)

    The samples produced a 13-year record that the research team has analyzed using water isotope tracers to distinguish between input sources, such as rainfall and snow melt, and also to track water losses due to evaporation.

    “There is more than meets the eye with these results, as they represent a status indicator of the increasing vulnerability of this area to drastic change,” says Turner. “For example, permafrost, which holds the landscape intact, degrades more during warmer and wetter conditions, which can lead to more shoreline slumping and rapid drainage of lakes into the river network.”

    These changes to the landscape can disrupt ecosystems, affecting plants and wildlife and interfering with traditional ways of life — a trend already recognized by the VGFN.

    “Findings complement the traditional knowledge of the VGFN, who have observed changes in climate and landscape characteristics during recent decades and have recently declared a climate emergency,” says Turner.

    Isotopic evidence of increasing water abundance and lake hydrological change in Old Crow Flats, Yukon, Canada” was published in Environmental Research Letters in late November. Turner says that its findings demonstrate why collaboration and co-operation in research is so important.

    “This research showcases the value of innovative and collaborative long-term monitoring programs in these important and remote areas of the North where the impacts of climate change are heightened,” he says.

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  • NCO to present research on barriers to innovation adoption in Ontario’s agriculture sector

    Innovation can have a game-changing impact on those involved in the agriculture sector, but change doesn’t come easy, or without challenges.

    Brock University’s Niagara Community Observatory (NCO) will present its latest policy brief, Growing Agri-Innovation: Investigating the barriers and drivers to the adoption of automation and robotics in Ontario’s agriculture sector, during a virtual event Wednesday, Dec. 8 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

    It’s the NCO’s latest agriculture innovation policy research, funded through the federal-provincial Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

    The paper was authored by Amy Lemay, NCO Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor in Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre; Charles Conteh, Professor of Public Policy and Management in the Department of Political Science; and Jeff Boggs, Associate Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies and NCO Interim Director.

    Their research combined analysis of survey data from Ontario farms with that of in-depth interviews conducted with farmers and agriculture innovation stakeholders.

    The findings offer deeper insights into the social, economic and institutional factors and mechanisms that influence automation and robotics technology adoption by farmers in the Niagara region and across Ontario.

    The presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session, as well as a panel discussion featuring:

    • Kathryn Carter, Tender Fruit and Grape Specialist, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
    • Hussam Haroun, Director, Automation, Vineland Research
    • Rodney Bierhuizen, Co-owner, Sunrise Greenhouses

    Please RSVP to cphillips3@brocku.ca and a Microsoft Teams link will be sent the day before the event.

    What: Virtual presentation of NCO’s Growing Agri-Innovation: Investigating the barriers and drivers to the adoption of automation and robotics in Ontario’s agriculture sector

    When: Wednesday, Dec. 8 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

    Where: Microsoft Teams

    Who: Amy Lemay, NCO Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor in the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre; Charles Conteh, Brock University Political Science Professor and Jeff Boggs, Brock University Associate Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies and NCO Interim Director.

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  • Research award winners to share findings at upcoming event

    Research on sustainability, decolonization and child safety will be featured the upcoming annual public Faculty of Social Sciences (FOSS) Research Colloquium.

    This year’s virtual event takes place Wednesday, Dec. 8 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. and will include presentations from both recipients of the 2021 FOSS Early Career Researcher of the Year Award, as well as three winners of the FOSS Student Research Award.

    • “Water resilience for a rapidly changing world” — Associate Professor Julia Baird, Geography and Tourism Studies and Environmental Sustainability Research Centre
    • “Empathy and Equity for the World’s Oceans” — Assistant Professor Jessica Blythe, Environmental Sustainability Research Centre
    • “A Holistic Approach to Mapping Priority Sites for Low-Impact Development” — Jillian Booth (BSc ’20), Sustainability Science and Society
    • “Tracing the Colonial Dimensions of ‘Special Education’: History, Disability and Settler Colonialism” — Alec Moore (BA ’20), Child and Youth Studies
    • “Evaluating Video Prompting to Teach Prospective Parents and Caregivers Correct Installation of Child Passenger Safety Restraints” — Niruba Rasuratnam, Applied Disability Studies

    Baird, Canada Research Chair in Human Dimensions of Water and Water Resilience, says being recognized with the Early Career Researcher Award jointly with her colleague Jessica Blythe was a thrill.

    “It is an honour, and I think it helps raise the profile of the research being done by my lab and the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) more broadly, especially with both Jessica and I receiving this award in the same year,” says Baird. “I am so appreciative to the Faculty of Social Sciences for this award.”

    Blythe agrees, saying she felt both incredibly honoured by the recognition and pleased to be named alongside Baird.

    “It is especially exciting to know that the kind of applied, interdisciplinary and solution-oriented research we do as sustainability scientists is being recognized by the Faculty,” says Blythe. “While this award recognizes individuals, the work we do isn’t possible without an incredible team of people, including faculty and staff at ESRC, collaborators, students, and partners to name a few.”

    Baird is also grateful to have worked with several partners as part of her work, which she purposely designs to have real-world impact.

    “I am fortunate to have worked with excellent, sustainability-oriented partners and collaborators in my research as a faculty member, including the Niagara Parks Commission, WWF-Canada, and the Town of Lincoln, along with many amazing academics and students,” says Baird. “Nothing I do happens in isolation and I’m so grateful to those who have mentored me and collaborated with me to reach this point.”

    Both Blythe and Baird say they look forward to sharing their work and engaging in conversation at the upcoming event. Baird is also looking forward to celebrating graduate student research at the Colloquium, including that of Master of Sustainability student Booth, whom Baird supervises.

    “My research is focused on using Nature-Based Solutions such as Low-Impact Development (LID) to build more resilient socio-ecological communities,” says Booth. “Findings will be applied to the Prudhommes Landing development located in the Town of Lincoln, but the lessons learned from this case study can be shared with other leading jurisdictions and governments looking for innovative ways to encourage sustainable development.”

    Booth used her FOSS Student Award funding to commute to the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, where she was able to use the laboratory and equipment to collect and analyze soil samples collected at Prudhommes Landing throughout the summer.

    Moore, an MA student in Child and Youth Studies, will present on his research into the connection between conceptualizations of disability and the forces of settler colonialism in Canada, outlining his project to analyze the Ontario First Nations Special Education Review Report.

    “Being able to contribute to a critical and emerging body of literature that discusses disability and settler colonialism is extremely rewarding, as there is a significant need for more critical work in this area,” says Moore. “It is also very rewarding to play a very small part in continuing the ongoing effort of Decolonization, particularly in regards to Disability Studies.”

    Moore used the funding from his FOSS Student Research Award to scale back on work hours and purchase research materials. He says he is excited to take part in the event next week, and credits his supervisor, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director Hannah Dyer, as well as committee members Assistant Professor Chelsea Jones and Professor Richard Mitchell, with helping him get to the point of being ready to share his research plan.

    Rasuratnam of the MA in Applied Disability Studies also emphasizes the role her supervisor, Associate Professor Kimberly Zonneveld, has played not only in this research but in her academic path overall. After graduating with a degree in Life Science from McMaster, Rasuratnam completed a post-graduate certificate in Autism and Behavioural Sciences at Seneca College, which then led her to the graduate programs in Brock’s Department of Applied Disability Studies. She started out in a coursework stream but was inspired to undertake research by Zonneveld.

    At the upcoming event, Rasuratnam will present some of this work for the first time to an audience outside of the Zonneveld lab.

    “My research entails creating a video-prompting model to help prospective and current caregivers correctly install a car seat and harness an infant,” she says. “There’s still such a high prevalence of death and injuries that occur from motor vehicle collisions that, if caregivers learn how to correctly install car seats, this risk could be reduced by 70 to 80 per cent.”

    Rasuratnam used the funding from her FOSS Student Award to complete the Child Passenger Safety Technician certification to develop her video prompting procedure. She says there are currently only six applied studies on the topic of training, so the research could have far-reaching impacts if the techniques of applied behaviour analysis are shown to improve outcomes in the area of car-seat installation.

    Dawn Zinga, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research in the Faculty of Social Sciences, says the event is an opportunity to showcase top faculty researchers while also highlighting the exciting research of graduate students.

    “The Faculty has wonderful diversity in the research that is undertaken across the various departments and programs,” says Zinga. “This event illustrates that breadth and depth.”

    The FOSS Research Colloquium is open to the public and intended for a general audience. Please register to receive a link to the Lifesize livestream.

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  • Welcoming Dr. Katie Young

    The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies is pleased to introduce the newest member of our Department, Dr. Katie Young. Dr. Young has joined Dr. Catherine Nash as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the Beyond Opposition research project.

    Dr. Young is an arts-based ethnographer, exploring everyday experiences of space through the lens of music and media. Prior to joining the Beyond Opposition project, Dr. Young was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Limerick between 2020 and 2021. In Ireland, her research explored experiences of night space for Black-Irish and African diasporic musicians and creatives living in Cork and Galway.

    Katie’s doctoral research focussed on gendered experiences of Hindi films and film music in the home and in everyday life in Ghana. After receiving her PhD in Music and Geography in 2019, she was the 2019 African Studies Association UK Teaching Fellow at the University for Development Studies in Northern Ghana.

    Learn more about Dr. Young and her research here.

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  • New paper by Kevin Turner “Isotopic evidence of increasing water abundance and lake hydrological change in Old Crow Flats, Yukon, Canada”

    A new paper titled, “Isotopic evidence of increasing water abundance and lake hydrological change in Old Crow Flats, Yukon, Canada” co-authored by GeoTour Associate Professor, Dr. Kevin Turner, was recently published in Environmental Research Letters.

    Abstract:
    Lake-rich northern permafrost landscapes are sensitive to changing climate conditions, but ability to track real-time and potentially multiple hydrological responses (e.g. lake expansion, drawdown, drainage) is challenging due to absence of long-term, sustainable monitoring programs in these remote locations. Old Crow Flats (OCF), Yukon, is a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance where concerns about low water levels and their consequences for wildlife habitat and traditional ways of life prompted multidisciplinary studies during the International Polar Year (2007–2008) and led to the establishment of an aquatic ecosystem monitoring program. Here, we report water isotope data from 14 representative thermokarst lakes in OCF, the foundation of the monitoring program, and time-series of derived metrics including the isotope composition of input waters and evaporation-to-inflow ratios for a 13 year period (2007–2019). Although the lakes spanned multiple hydrological categories (i.e. rainfall-, snowmelt- and evaporation-dominated) based on initial surveys, well-defined trends from application of generalized additive models and meteorological records reveal that lakes have become increasingly influenced by rainfall, and potentially waters from thawing permafrost. These sources of input have led to more positive lake water balances. Given the documented role of rainfall in causing thermokarst lake drainage events in OCF and elsewhere, we anticipate increased vulnerability of lateral water export from OCF. This study demonstrates the value of long-term isotope-based monitoring programs for identifying hydrological consequences of climate change in lake-rich permafrost landscapes.

    Reference:
    MacDonald, L.A., Turner, K.W., McDonald, I., Kay, M.L., Hall, R.I., and Wolfe, B.B. (2021). Isotopic evidence of increasing water abundance and lake hydrological change in Old Crow Flats, Yukon, Canada. Environmental Research Letters, 16(12): online.

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  • New paper by Dragos Simandan “Social capital, population health, and the gendered statistics of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality”

    A new paper titled, “Social capital, population health, and the gendered statistics of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality” by Professor Dr. Dragos Simandan was recently published in SSM – Population Health.

    Abstract:
    Scholars in the field of population health need to be on the constant lookout for the danger that their tacit ideological commitments translate into systematic biases in how they interpret their empirical results. This contribution illustrates this problematic by critically interrogating a set of concepts such as tradition, trust, social capital, community, or gender, that are routinely used in population health research even though they carry a barely acknowledged political and ideological load. Alongside this wider deconstruction of loaded concepts, I engage critically but constructively with Martin Lindström et al.’s paper “Social capital, the miniaturization of community, traditionalism and mortality: A population-based prospective cohort study in southern Sweden” to evaluate the extent to which it fits with other empirical findings in the extant literature. Taking as a point of departure the intriguing finding that social capital predicts cardiovascular and all-cause mortality only for men, but not for women, I argue that future research on the nexus of social capital, health, and mortality needs to frame gender not only as a demographic and statistical variable, but also as an ontological conundrum and as an epistemological sensibility.

      Reference:
      Simandan. D. (2021). Social capital, population health, and the gendered statistics of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. SSM – Population Health, 16: online.

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