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Opportunities to join the LPC

The LPC provides a unique environment for graduate work in paleoenvironmental analysis. Look over this web to see the varied and top-notch work that our students are doing. We have students doing field work in the Canadian Subarctic and Arctic, and there is the possibility to study environmental change using many different approaches. Because we are located in the National Capital, you have access to the resources of the government and we are not far from Montréal and Toronto.

Other students are leaders in the application of GIS and statistical analysis to environmental data. Through our involvement in various Research networks, you would be in contact with the top Canadian climate researchers and students. We don't expect you to be an expert before you begin, only that you are interested in hard work with other top students.

You can live and work in either or both of the official languages of Canada. You can write your thesis in English or French (actually, you can write it in Latin as well ... if you want) and you can study in a bilingual environment. Our graduates are prepared for work in environmental research or the high-tech field. Contact K. Gajewski for more information.

Some students in the Laboratory are associated with the Departments of Biology and Earth Sciences as well as Geography. You would be interacting with an excellent group of persons in the Laboratory and University working on a variety of projects in northern and other environmental studies. The Lab is equipped with facilities for microfossil and macrofossil work, as well as sediment core analysis. In 2013, we moved into new facilities for the computer analysis of environmental data. Among other facilities in the University are state-of-the-art GIS facilities (LAGGIS), a new Cryology Lab and an excellent laboratory for isotope analysis located in the Geology Department. There is online access to nearly every significant journal available, as well as the libraries of several federal departments.

Financial support may be available for qualified students. Note that the University of Ottawa has instituted new rules concerning funding of graduate students that are competitive with other universities. Contact K Gajewski or A Viau for more information.

Research possibilities

We are currently recruiting graduate students who wish to undertake MSc or PhD degrees. There are possibilities to do your studies in either the Geography, Biology or Earth Sciences Departments, depending on your background.

1. Paleoclimate reconstruction & mapping

The student could choose from a number of potential projects within several general themes of:

  • paleoclimate reconstruction using pollen, tree-ring or other non-marine fossils
  • spatial analysis of climate and paleoclimate data
  • analysis of the methods of paleoclimate reconstruction, including the comparison of different proxy-sensors.
  • Climate of the past millennium from proxy-climate records
  • Hlocene climate variability.

The project is an excellent opportunity to refine your computer skills in GIS and spatial analysis and learn the latest techniques of data analysis and modelling.

2. Climate analysis & climate-vegetation modelling

In addition to our paleoclimate studies, we are also studying the present day, using standard climate data such as NCEP and ERA-40 products. The project also provides an excellent opportunity to refine your computer skills in GIS and spatial analysis and learn the latest techniques of data analysis and modelling. In the context of our paleoecological studies, we are also developing models, such as the FORSKA 2V+ for the study of climate vegetation relations.

3. The role of human activity in North American ecosystem development during the past 15000 years

We are working with archaeologists and archaeological databases to understand (a) how Native American populations and cultures were impacted by environmental changes we identified in (1) above and (b) how Native American activities such as agriculture possibly impacted the vegetation at regional scales. In addition, we are extending this analysis to the present, to better understand how the arrival of Europeans affected the North American ecosystem.

4. Ultra-high resolution paleoenvironmental studies in the Gatineau Hills

The Gatineau Hills just top the east of Ottawa offer great potential for paleoenvironmental studies. There are numerous lakes, including at least several with varved sediments. We are analyzing these at very high resolution, using palynological and paleolimnological methods to understand the climates of the past 2000 years and how these impacted the regional ecosystems.

5. Paleoclimate studies in the Canadian Arctic & SW Yukon

The impacts of climate changes are being felt in the Arctic. However, the spatial patterns of past climate changes in the region are not well known.We use the microfossils from lake sediments to reconstruct past climates and map and statistically analyse the data using time series and spatial techniques. This is an interdisciplinary program with potential projects using a variety of proxy-climate records (pollen, diatoms, chironomids, etc). Students learn the latest techniques in quantitative paleoclimatology, applying these to this most interesting region. The work is put in the global context through mapping and GIS components to the overall project and there are potential projects in this field as well.

We have a long-term project of lake sediment coring in the Canadian Arctic. We have the largest collection of Holocene lake sediment cores from the Canadian Arcic Islands, and analyses are on-going of these sequences. We are continually collecting new cores from across the Arctic Islands and performing multi-proxy analyses of these sequences.

Paleoenvironmental analyses in the Kluane Lake region of the southwest Yukon, just to the east of the Icefield Ranges and the Kluane National Park offers great potential for studies of environmental history using a combination of paleoecological, dendroecological and paleolimnological  approaches. We are working in many areas from the boreal forest to above treeline.

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