Faculty from a broad range of SFU departments and faculties are involved in research on climate change impacts, mitigation and adaptation. Brief descriptions of their interests and areas of expertise are provided below.
Faculty are listed in alphabetical order; for ease of navigation, you may click below on the first initial of a researcher's surname to jump closer to his or her listing on this page. Clicking on a faculty member's name will open a link to his/her individual website.
Dr. Allen's research focuses on hydrogeology with particular emphasis on groundwater resource evaluation and hydrogeological modeling. Her current research focuses on climate change impacts on groundwater systems, groundwater resources in mountainous and coastal regions, and low temperature geothermal (aquifer thermal energy storage) systems and thermal modeling. Dr. Allen is a Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences in the Faculty of Science and is a member of the Climate Change Impacts Research Consortium.
Ryan Allen is interested in air pollution exposure assessment including indoor and outdoor exposures, air pollution, health effects, and development of methods to reduce exposure misclassification in large epidemiological studies. He is interested in the relationships between climate change, air pollution and health and is a member of the Climate Change Impacts Research Consortium. Dr. Allen is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences.
Dr. Peter Anderson is Associate Professor in the School of Communication, Director of the SFU Telematics Research Laboratory, and Associate Director of the Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology. He conducts research on social and cultural implications arising from increased dependency on advanced telecommunication networks by governments, industries and the public.
Dr. Jonn Axsen is an interdisciplinary researcher exploring transitions to sustainable energy systems. He draws from disciplines of economics, psychology, sociology, and engineering to investigate the nexus of technology, environmental policy, and consumer behaviour. In particular, Jonn strives to bring attention to the importance of “human” aspects of sustainable systems—understanding the attitudes, values and lifestyles of individual consumers, and how these can change. Jonn’s study of consumers' social valuation of plug-in electric vehicles has earned him recognition as “Young Researcher of the Year” at the OECD’s 2011 International Transportation Forum. He is Assistant Professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management, and co-director of the Energy and Materials Research Group (EMRG).
Kate Bassil's research interests include geospatial applications to public health issues; thedevelopment of novel public health surveillance systems for environmental health issues; the impacts of extreme weather events on health; and assessing the effectiveness of public health interventions. She is particularly interested in how geospatial techniques can be used to identify vulnerable populations and more appropriately target public health interventions. Dr. Bassil is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences.
Lyn Bartram is Assistant Professor in the School of Interactive Arts & Technology at SFU. With Professor Rob Woodbury she leads the Human-Centred Systems for Sustainable Living research group. Her work explores the intersecting potential of information technologies, ubiquitous computing, social media and sustainable building design in encouraging conservation and reducing our ecological footprint in our homes and personal activities. Her research draws from a background in computer science, human-computer interaction, computer-supported collaborative work and perceptual and cognitive psychology. She has a long-standing interest in how humans interact with complex information ecosystems. Over the last 18 months she has led the design and development of two high profile systems for aware living: North House and West House. North House. a fully net-zero house developed by a pan-Canadian team of University of Waterloo, SFU and Ryerson University, recently placed 4th at the 2009 International Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC. Bartram and Woodbury followed the success of North House with the SFU--led West House project, a fully made-in-Vancouver sustainable home that brings together the City of Vancouver, the public utilities (BC Hydro and Terasen Gas), and a number of industrial and non-profit partners. Recently showcased at the 2010 Olympics, West House will serve as a technology research space and an occupied living lab to further prototype and study residential methods to support sustainable living.
Tracy Brennand is a geomorphologist and sedimentologist. Her main research interests lie in the processes that shape Earth’s surface, and in particular with the action of glaciers and ice sheets. Her main interest is in understanding how ice sheets operated in the past, with a view to better understanding how present-day ice sheets may behave in the future. She also applied this knowledge to the inventory and management of Canada’s natural resources, and to investigations of the action of water on Mars. Dr. Brennand's paleoglaciology research website. Dr. Brennand is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography in the Faculty of Environment.
John Clague and his students conduct research in on the recent geologic history of western Canada and on natural hazards. His specific research interests are the history of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet, crustal deformation and sea-level change, climate and environmental change in high mountains, earthquakes, tsunamis, natural dam formation and failure, and landslides. Dr. Clague is Professor and Canada Chair in Natural Hazard Research in the Department of Earth Sciences in the Faculty of Science.
Alex Clapp My primary research interest is in understanding the relationship between economic development and environmental change, with the goal of designing of policies that can halt, where possible, the human degradation of ecosystems in pursuit of economic development. I have three main research interests of relevance to PICS' mandate and themes: 1) the carbon sequestration capacities of forests, with special reference to rainforest management. This interest arises from my long-standing research program in the temperate rainforest ecosystems and industries of BC, California, Chile and Tasmania. 2) market-oriented policies for climate change mitigation, including carbon taxes, carbon credits and land-use incentives. I have been studying valuation and markets for ecosystem services like biodiversity, mostly in the context of forests, since 1998 ("Is market-oriented forest conservation a contradiction in terms?" (with Carolyn Crook) Environmental Conservation 25 (2), 1998: 131-145). 3) the roles of science in environmental policy, including scientific review panels, open-source data, and institutional approaches for addressing global environmental change. The Central Coast LRMP process in British Columbia holds some valuable lessons for the IPCC process.
Isabelle Côté and her group, the Tropical Marine Ecology lab, carry out research that focuses on applied ecological issues pertaining to coastal ecosystems, particularly coral reefs. A particular interest is how climate change and other anthropogenic disturbances interact to affect reefs. Dr. Côté is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in the Faculty of Science.
Sean Cox is a fisheries scientist focusing on aquatic conservation and management of human impacts on aquatic ecosystems. His research develops and applies quantitative fisheries stock assessment methods and field research to address issues in the management of commercial and recreational fisheries. Current research themes include (i) design and evaluation of management procedures for commercial groundfish, herring, and salmon fisheries, (ii) design, evaluation, and application of visual survey methods for assessment of Pacific salmon, rockfish, and marine invertebrates, and (iii) spatial population dynamics of inshore rockfish and implications for marine protected area design. Dr. Cox is an Associate Professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management in the Faculty of Environment.
Greg Dow's current research focuses on hunter-gatherer societies, the transition to agriculture, and the origins of inequality, hierarchy, and warfare. He recently co-authored a study with two other SFU Economics professors, Nancy Olewiler and Clive Reed, that explored the relationship between climate reversals and the transition to agriculture (see the Journal of Economic Growth article). Dr. Dow is a Professor in the Department of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
Nicholas Dulvy is interested in understanding the (i) main processes underlying patterns of marine biodiversity; (ii) measuring the threats to and changes in marine biodiversity and (iii) linking biodiversity change to changes in ecosystem function and the supply of ecosystem services to humanity. Dr. Dulvy was recently part of a research team that explored the vulnerabilities of national economies to the impacts of climate change on fisheries (see the Fish and Fisheries article). He is a Canada Research Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in the Faculty of Science.
Gwenn Flowers is a glaciologist with interests in glacier and ice-sheet dynamics, the hydrology of glacierized systems and the relationship of these systems to climate. More broadly, she is interested in the glaciological elements of watershed hydrology, natural hazards and climate change, including those relevant to British Columbia. Geographically, her past research has been focused in the Yukon and in Iceland. Dr. Flowers is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences in the Faculty of Science, Canada Research Chair in Glaciology, and is a member of the Climate Change Impacts Research Consortium.
Wolfgang Haider is interested in social science survey methods, quantitative analysis, and trade-off modelling, as they relate to decision making in resource management. Most of his work focuses on protected areas management, outdoor recreation and recreational fishing, resource based tourism, land use planning, and landscape perception. Some of his work emphasises climate change such as recreational fishing in BC, and the willingness to pay for climate change mitigation. Many of his research applications include discrete choice experiments, which permit the explicit modelling of trade-offs for a large number of land use or recreation alternatives, including currently non-existing options. Dr. Haider is an Associate Professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management in the Faculty of Environment.
Dr. Meg Holden is a scholar of urban studies and geography, specializing in urban sustainable development in policy, planning, theory, ethics, and popular expression. Dr. Holden's research takes place in the cities of North America, particularly the Cascadia region, and in cities internationally through her research engagement in a number of global networks of urban professionals and researchers.
Mark Jaccard develops and applies models that assess sustainability policies for energy and materials, and directs the the Canadian Industrial Energy End-use Data and Analysis Centre. A professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management since 1986, Mark served as Chair and CEO of the B.C. Utilities Commission from 1992-97. He serves on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Nobel Peace Prize in 2007) – currently a lead author for the special report on renewable energy. He serves on the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development – currently co-chair of a task force on sustainable use of coal. He is convening lead author for sustainable energy policy in the Global Energy Assessment and a member of Canada’s National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy.
Dirk Kirste is an aqueous geochemist whose research is primarily directed towards understanding the processes controlling the composition of groundwater and surface water. His research involves both lab and field based work investigating the chemical and isotopic composition of water, minerals and gases. By recognizing and using variations in the chemistry he is able to address problems in our environment, in characterizing and predicting the effects of climate change and in resource exploration and evaluation. Some of his current topics of research include water quality, acid sulfate systems, the geosequestration of CO2 and mineral exploration using hydrogeochemistry. Dr. Kirste is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences in the Faculty of Science.
Dr. Erik Kjeang is an Assistant Professor in the Mechatronic Systems Engineering program and co-director of the Multiscale Thermofluidic Laboratory for Sustainable Energy Research at SFU Surrey campus. His research program encompasses the general areas of sustainable energy technologies, microfluidics and nanofluidics, with specialization in electrochemical power sources. Prior to joining SFU, Dr. Kjeang worked as a research engineer at Ballard Power Systems, a world leader in hydrogen PEM fuel cell development and manufacturing. He is an established expert in fuel cell science and technology and has authored more than 20 peer-reviewed publications, developed patented technology, and given several invited lectures at major international conferences in this field. His feature research on microfluidic fuel cell technology was awarded with the prestigious Governor General's Gold Medal for outstanding dissertation and numerous other awards and fellowships. Dr. Kjeang holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Victoria and an M.Sc. in Energy Engineering from Umea University, Sweden.
Dr. Meg Krawchuk conducts research on questions relating to landscape ecology, biogeography, pyrogeography, and conservation science. Her work spans scales from local to global. Using field collections, spatial modeling, available archived data, simulation, and statistical analysis, Meg ‘s primary research initiatives include studies of: i) ecological resilience to successive disturbances and climate stress; ii) vulnerability of ecosystems to altered fire regimes through exposure and sensitivity to climate change; iii) the role of fire in ecosystem structure and function; and iv) conservation planning across Canada’s boreal region. Dr. Krawchuk is housed as Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography in the Faculty of Environment.
Duncan Knowler is an ecological/environmental economist with extensive experience in the environment and development field. His research interests include the economics of natural resource management in developing countries, valuation of environmental resources and applied bioeconomic modeling. His research has included studies of nutrient enrichment and commercial fisheries in the Black Sea, the economics of invading species, the prospects for community wildlife management in Nepal and Mexico, the sustainability of shrimp-mangrove systems in India and valuing the preservation of fish spawning and spotted owl habitat in Western Canada. Dr. Knowler is is an Associate Professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management in the Faculty of Environment and a member of the Climate Change Impacts Research Consortium.
Karen Kohfeld is interested in understanding natural variability and biogeochemical linkages within the ocean and climate system, in order to better assess earth system responses to anthropogenic perturbations. Her research focuses on (1) the influence of climate and land surface conditions on atmospheric dust in the past, present, and future (2) the role of marine biogeochemistry in controlling and sequestering atmospheric CO2, and (3) the growing impact of climate change on extreme weather conditions in British Columbia. Dr. Kohfeld is an Assistant Professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management in the Faculty of Environment and is a member of the Climate Change Impacts Research Consortium.
Ken Lertzman is interested in a broad range of topics related to forest ecosystem dynamics, conservation, and management. Over the past decade he has focused on how natural disturbance regimes interact with physical aspects of the landscape and with management regimes to produce pattern and dynamics in forest stands and landscapes. Dr. Lertzman has an ongoing interest in how changing climate drives ecosystems and the landscapes and resources available to people who live in them and how people respond to those changes. He has conducted extensive research on the relationships between climate, fires and forests in the coastal rainforests of southwestern BC and dry, fire-maintained forests of the southwestern interior. Dr. Lertzman is a Professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management in the Faculty of Environment and is a member of the Climate Change Impacts Research Consortium.
Elicia Maine’s main research interests are in technology management, technology entrepreneurship, and commercialization of innovation. She is a truly interdisciplinary scholar, having studied as a materials engineer as well as in technology policy and technology management and conducted research in the Materials Systems Lab at MIT, in the Engineering Design Centre at Cambridge, and in the Centre for Technology Management at Cambridge. She has published in numerous leading technology management journals and co-authored a manual entitled “Succeeding with New Materials, a Comprehensive Guide for Assessing Market Potential.” Dr. Maine has also applied her research as a strategic consultant to such firms as Monitor, Magna, Owens-Corning, Inco and PSAC. Dr. Maine is an Associate Professor the Beedie School of Business.
Rolf Mathewes's research combines approaches from biology and the earth sciences, and focuses on reconstructing past environmental changes in western Canada. Using a variety of techniques such as pollen analysis, plant macrofossil analysis, and radiocarbon dating, he and his collaborators are working to understand the postglacial recolonization of trees and other plants from glacial refuges to produce the vegetation mosaic of today. Changing climate and its effects on past forest patterns and wetland distribution are of particular interest. His current emphasis is on the postglacial history of coastal British Columbia, particularly the Queen Charlotte Islands, continental shelf and at the subalpine/alpine transition in the mountains. Dr. Mathewes is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in the Faculty of Science.
Torsten Möller's interests include visualization; computer graphics; and image processing, especially the mathematical foundations thereof; algorithms for fast and accurate volume rendering and integrated issues of human-computer interaction and perception. His main focus is currently on tools for optimal sampling lattices (acquisition, reconstruction, and multi-resolution) as well as the exploration of high dimensional continuous data. Dr. Möller is an Associate Professor in the School of Computing Science in the Faculty of Applied Science and is a member of the Climate Change Impacts Research Consortium.
Since 1988, Dr. Nyboer has been working with Dr. Jaccard to establish and administrate an energy database centre focussed on industry, the Canadian Industrial Energy End-use Data and Analysis Centre (CIEEDAC) and to develop CIMS, the modelling system for Canada. Dr. Nyboer acts as the executive director of CIEEDAC and of the Energy and Materials Research Group (EMRG). He is presently much involved with maintaining, improving, and implementing CIMS to practical and policy-oriented analysis nationally and internationally. As a result of his work in policy analysis, Dr. Nyboer is presently serving on the National Advisory Council on Energy Efficiency, an advisory committee designed to help the Office of Energy Efficiency of Natural Resources Canada develop and review policies. Dr. Nyboer is actively involved with energy issues related to the Pacific Rim.
Nancy Olewiler's research has focused in recent years on sustainability, environmental policy and its impact on the economy, and international aspects of environmental policy, including carbon emissions trading and carbon taxation. She has published a variety of academic papers, texts and policy studies in the areas of environmental policy, preservation and valuation of natural capital, and natural resource and environmental economics. Dr. Olewiler is a Professor in the Department of Economics and Director of the Public Policy Program in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
Wendy Palen's research program is broadly defined by the ecology of aquatic communities, currently ranging from alpine amphibian populations of the Pacific Northwest, to the river and lake food webs that support salmon populations from California to Alaska. She relies heavily on field-based experimental manipulations to tease apart the mechanistic underpinnings of ecological patterns, from species physiology to food web interactions. However, she is also fundamentally committed to the growing necessity for understanding the dynamics of individuals, populations, and communities at the broad spatial and temporal scales relevant to the conservation and management of aquatic systems. This kind of applied ecological problem-solving requires tailoring a combination of approaches to each particular question; from lab-based physiological assays, behavioural observations, manipulative field experiments, landscape-scale surveys, paleoecological reconstructions, to the quantitative techniques required to draw all of them together. Dr. Palen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in the Faculty of Science.
Randall M. Peterman specializes in quantitative methods to improve fish conservation and fisheries management. His research focuses on: (1) fish population dynamics, (2) uncertainties affecting conservation risks and management decisions, and (3) approaches to reducing uncertainties. A key theme in this research is how uncertain future climatic conditions can be tracked and dealt with effectively by fisheries managers and conservation organizations. His research team uses spatially extensive data sets, simulation models, Bayesian and other statistical methods, and formal decision analysis. He currently leads an international group of researchers on a project related to climatic change and Pacific salmon that is organized through the U.S. National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in California. Dr. Peterman is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in "Fisheries Risk Assessment and Management" in the School of Resource and Environmental Management (REM) in the Faculty of Environment and is a member of the Climate Change Impacts Research Consortium.
John Reynolds is interested in conservation and ecology of Pacific salmon with an emphasis on their ecosystems, including connections between marine, freshwater and terrestrial habitats. He and his team have set up a variety of long-term field studies and experiments designed to understand how various human impacts on salmon and their habitats translate into population declines and recovery, including the many species of terrestrial plants and animals that are linked to nutrients and trophic interactions involving salmon. This includes analyses to predict consequences of climate change for both coastal and interior British Columbia populations. At the same time, he is continuing with his interests in the biology of extinction risk, using large-scale comparative analyses of marine and freshwater fish species to understand how life histories interact with particular kinds of threats to determine population responses, with an emphasis on fisheries, and including climate change. Dr. Reynolds is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in the Faculty of Science and is a member of the Climate Change Impacts Research Consortium.
Mark Roseland is interested in Sustainable Community Development research, education, and community mobilization. His specific areas of focus include municipal climate change mitigation and adaptation, transportation planning and traffic management, land use planning and growth management, housing and social policy, social equity and community capital, energy conservation and efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, urban agriculture and community food systems, and governance for sustainable development. Dr. Roseland is the Director of the of the Centre for Sustainable Community Development and a Professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management in the Faculty of Environment.
Anne Salomon is interested in understanding the ecological and socio-economic processes driving coastal marine ecosystems and seeks to apply this understanding to marine conservation and management. Broadly, Anne is interested in (1) the cascading effects of predator depletion on marine food webs, carbon flux and resilience, (2) factors driving and maintaining alternative stable states, (3) marine reserve design and evaluation, (4) dynamics of social-ecological systems, and (5) climate change impacts on coastal ocean ecosystems. Dr. Salomon is an Assistant Professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management in the Faculty of Environment.
Dr. Takaro's primary research areas focus on disease susceptibility factors in environmental and occupational health, particularly inflammatory lung conditions, including asthma, chronic beryllium disease and asbestosis. His approach as a researcher and physician has been to try to link laboratory biomarker innovations with public health practice including community-based interventions. His research interests in climate change relate to adaptive capacity for public health, including water and heat related illness. Dr. Takaro is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences and is a member of the Climate Change Impacts Research Consortium.
Ilja Tromp-van Meerveld
Ilja Tromp-van Meerveld is a hydrologist with interests in physical hydrology and eco-hydrology. Her research is on hillslope and watershed hydrology. Most of her work is field-based but she also does some hydrological modeling and soil erosion modeling. Dr. Tromp-van Meerveld is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography in the Faculty of Environment.
Jeremy Venditti is interested in the geomorphic and sedimentary processes that shape Earth's surface. He works at a range of temporal and spatial scales from detailed examinations of sediment dynamics occurring over fractions of a second in laboratory channels to monitoring annual river and watershed responses to human impacts. The theme of his research throughout his career has been erosion and sedimentation processes, particularly in river channels. He uses a spectrum of research approaches, including field observation and experimentation, physical modeling in laboratories, development of theoretical models, and numerical simulation. Dr. Venditti is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography in the Faculty of Environment.
John R. Welch
John Welch is an anthropologist and social archaeologist with research interests grounded in broad questions about how communities develop, employ, and sustain environmental and cultural stewardship precepts and practices. What cultural values and historical circumstances influence the conservation of places, objects, and traditions? How do stewardship practices and policies affect governance in general and First Nations sovereignty in particular? What lessons about sustainability and other forms of recommended practice derive from collaborations with indigenous and place-based communities? Dr. Welch is an Associate Professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management in the Faculty of Environment and in the Department of Archaeology in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
Dr. Peter Williams (MCIP) is a professional planner and geographer whose work focuses on policy, planning, and management issues related to tourism development. Dr. Williams is the Director of Centre for Tourism Policy and Research in the School of Resource and Environmental Management (REM). His particular interest is in strategies that lead to more sustainable uses of natural and cultural resources. He and his research team in REM’s Centre for Tourism Policy and Research are currently involved in projects: monitoring the social and environmental impacts of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games; exploring climate change adaption strategies in mountain tourism regions; assessing the effects of ‘residential tourists’ on rural communities; identifying effective strategies for social capital development in nature based tourism regions; and measuring the eco-efficiency of alternative sustainability strategies in resort destinations.
Hannah Wittman received her degrees from the University of Washington (B.A.) and Cornell University (M.S., PhD.). She conducts collaborative research on local food systems, farmer networks and citizenship with the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) and La Vía Campesina in Brazil and with local food networks in British Columbia as part of an international network of scholars engaged in applied and theoretical applications of the concept of food sovereignty. With specific research interests in environmental sociology, agrarian citizenship, and agrarian social movements, she has published articles in the Journal of Rural Studies, Journal of Peasant Studies, the Canadian Journal of Development Studies, Land Degradation and Development and Human Organization, and is co-editor of Food Sovereignty: Reconnecting Food, Nature and Community and Food Sovereignty in Canada: Creating Just and Sustainable Food Systems. Dr. Wittman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
David Zandvliet is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada and the founding Director of the Institute for Environmental Learning. An experienced researcher, he has published articles in international journals and presented conference papers on six continents and in over 15 countries. His career interests lie in the areas of science and environmental education and learning environments. He has considerable experience in the provision of teacher development and has conducted studies in school-based locations in Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Taiwan.
Kirsten Zickfeld is a climate scientist with a particular interest in anthropogenic climate change. Her current research focuses on (i) the interactions between climate and the carbon cycle, (ii) the century-scale response of the climate system to greenhouse gas emissions, and (iii) the emissions implications of long-term climate targets such as limiting global mean warming to below 2 0 C. Her research interests also include potential climate tipping points, in particular shutdown of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation, and disruption of the Asian monsoon. Dr. Zickfeld is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography in the Faculty of Environment at Simon Fraser University, and an adjunct professor in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria.