Alumni

Adam Baylin-Stern
Worked with: Dr. Mark JaccardSchool of Resource and Environmental Management

Research Project: Hybrid Simulation Modeling to Estimate U.S. Energy Elasticities

Adam Baylin-Stern obtained his Master of Resource Management Degree with the Energy and Materials Research Group in the School of Resource and Environmental Management. His research comprised modeling climate policy design in the United States and Canada, in particular seeking to show how relative shares of effort and money transfer is probable under a combined Canada-US cap and trade system.  The overarching objective was to apply a modeling tool and provide results that are of use to Canadian and American decision makers in their climate policy and target negotiations. Born and raised in Montreal, Adam completed his undergraduate degree in McGill University's Bachelor of Arts and Science program in 2008 with majors in Cell/Molecular Biology and Economics and his graduate degree in 2012.

 

Jordan Brubacher
MSc Faculty of Health Science 
Worked with Dr.Tim Takaro

Research Thesis:  Associations between biogeoclimatic zones, aquifer type, agricultural land and five gastrointestinal illnesses in British Columbia from 2000-2013 and potential implications under projected climate change 

Jordan obtained his MSc in the Faculty of Health Sciences.  His research focused on the potential links between climate change, drinking water and health in British Columbia. His general aim is to further the body of knowledge surrounding this topic for the purpose of facilitating an increase in BC’s adaptive capacity towards the negative health effects of climate change. While attending the University of Victoria, he completed a BSc in Geography as well as a diploma in Restoration of Natural Systems. Following his undergraduate program, he volunteered for three months in Nicaragua with NGO El Porvenir where he helped design a community-based watershed restoration plan in a region with vulnerable drinking water supplies and high levels of environmental degradation. He received a fellowship from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.

 

Dionne Bunsha
MRM, School of Resource and Environmental Management
Worked with: Dr. Ken Lertzman

Research Project: Two Approaches to Ecosystem-based Management in British Columbia.

Dionne developed a plan for an on-the-ground system of monitoring and adaptation for climate change with the aim of making communities more resilient to its impacts. Monitoring indicators of climate change (such as stream temperature and flow, ocean acidity levels or when the first buds appear), can help communities gain a local and regional perspective of the patterns and magnitude of changes underway, and help them decide how best to respond. Responses could include protecting plant or tree species that were earlier considered abundant, for example.

Dionne Bunsha is an award-winning writer, photographer and researcher. As a Senior Assistant Editor for Frontline magazine (www.frontline.in) in Mumbai, India, from 2001-2008, she wrote extensively on human rights, social justice, development, poverty and environmental issues. Her critically acclaimed book, ‘Scarred: Experiments with Violence in Gujarat’, was published by Penguin India in 2006.  She obtained her graduate degree in 2012.

 

Eric Brown
Worked with: Dr. Meg Holden, Urban Studies

Case Study: Transitioning Campbell River: From resource dependent to climate resilient.

Research Project: Housing Preference in the Peri-urban Zone: The Prospects for Urban Containment and Smart Growth in North Cowichan 

Eric Brown holds an Interdisciplinary Honours Degree in Sustainable International Development from Carleton University and obtained his Masters in Urban Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012.  He holds a fellowship with the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions to look at municipal responses to climate policy in BC.  His research interests include participatory planning, public space, the right to the city and sustainable community design. During his undergrad, Eric spent two semesters studying and interning in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This experience led to his current involvement with Sustainable Cities International, a Vancouver-based NGO with the mandate to catalyze action on urban sustainability in cities around the world. Eric is a Project Manager and the Youth-Led Development Officer at Sustainable Cities and his work has focused on integrating a youth voice into municipal decision making processes in Canada and abroad.

 

Ben Cross
MRM, Resource and Environmental Management
Worked with: Dr. Karen Kohfeld

Research Project: The Impacts of Wind Speed Trends and Long-term Variability in Relation to Hydroelectric Reservoir Inflows on Wind Power in the Pacific Northwest

Ben Cross was a student with the Climate, Oceans, and Paleo-Environments Laboratory in the School of Resource and Environmental Management. His research examined the effects of climate change and the interaction of climate factors on the development of renewable energy. This work focused on how wind power can best be developed to complement BC's hydroelectric generation by examining wind speed behaviour in low streamflow years. He developed an optimization model that selects the ideal distribution of wind turbines based on both wind speeds and their correlation with streamflows into the province's hydroelectric reservoirs. By considering the interaction between the climate forces driving BC's electricity generation, environmental and financial costs can be reduced through better site selection and the prevention of overdevelopment. Ben has received funding from NSERC and Simon Fraser University. He completed his BSc in Earth Surface Science at the University of Guelph in 2008.

 

Tyler Herrington
Master of Science, Department of Geography
Worked with: Dr. Kirsten Zickfeld

Research Thesis: Dependence of Regional Climate Change on Greenhouse Gas Emission Pathway

Tyler Herrington completed his Master of Science degree in 2013 from the Department of Geography. and his BSc Physical Geography in June of 2011.  His graduate study explores the dependence of the coupled climate-carbon cycle response on greenhouse gas emission pathway. An Earth System model of Intermediate Complexity is forced with 24 idealized emissions scenarios across five cumulative emission groups (1300 GtC - 5300 GtC) with varying emission rates. The global mean response, and regional responses of Arctic sea ice, the Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) and the Amazon are investigated. The ratio of global mean temperature to cumulative carbon emissions is found to decline with increasing cumulative emissions, unlike in previous studies. The long-term response of the MOC and Arctic sea ice is independent of emission rate and proportional to cumulative emissions, with the threshold for an ice free Arctic in September found between 1300-2300 GtC. Both global land carbon and Amazonian broadleaf carbon display non-monotonic long-term responses to cumulative emissions, whereby carbon uptake declines beyond a certain threshold (2300 GtC and 3300 GtC respectively).

 

Shannon Jones
MRM, Resource and Environmental Management
Worked with Dr. Peter Williams

Research Project: Planning for Sustainability and Climate Change in Mountain Based Resort Municipalities: A Case Study of Whistler and Rossland, British Columbia

Her thesis examines planning for sustainability and climate change in British Columbia's Resort Municipalities. In her research Shannon adapts Jopp et al.’s (2010) regional adaptation model to learn how the ski and snowboard resort and the local government in Whistler and Rossland, British Columbia are responding to the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change. During the summer of 2012 Shannon worked as a PICS intern with the Fraser Basin Council’s (FBC) Climate Change and Air Quality Program. The focus of this internship was to support sustainable transportation initiatives throughout British Columbia. More specifically, Shannon conducted a case study to determine how the FBC can enhance its E3 Fleet program (an initiative that helps fleets of vehicles meet green standards). Shannon also worked on the Plug in BC program, which helps support communities, businesses and other organizations in expanding the network of electric vehicle charging stations across BC.

 

Isabelle Laroque
MSc Candidate, Department of Earth Sciences
Supervisor: Dr. Diana Allen

Isabelle is a master’s student in the Department of Earth Sciences.  Her research aims to develop a risk-based framework for identifying climate change impacts on groundwater resources and adaptation strategies for small coastal communities using Salt Spring Island as a case study. Given the highly valuable role of groundwater as a freshwater source for coastal and island communities and its vulnerability to climate change and saltwater intrusion, it is important to identify key issues and sensitivities in order to develop viable adaptation strategies for managing this resource. Field and numerical modeling studies will be used to develop an understanding of various stressors and effects related to climate change and development (groundwater recharge, saltwater intrusion, etc.) on Salt Spring Island. The local community will be involved to identify key issues and contribute to the design of a monitoring and development plan. This project is the first phase of a more comprehensive project that aims to develop a risk assessment methodology for coastal bedrock aquifers.  She completed a bachelor of environmental sciences degree at McGill University during which she worked as an assistant to a glaciologist and a biologist. For the last two years she has been working as an environmental technician at a zinc-lead smelter where she was responsible for monitoring and sampling groundwater. Being directly exposed to the reality of groundwater protection and heavy industry, she wishes to further her knowledge of hydrogeology and take a more active role in the management and protection of groundwater resources. Isabel holds a fellowship from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions

 

Mary Ann Middleton
PhD  Department of Earth Sciences
Worked with: Dr. Diana Allen

Mary Ann obtained her doctoral degree in the Department of Earth Sciences. Her research focused on evaluating the impacts of climate change and water use on groundwater sensitive streams. Late summer flow is sustained by groundwater in many streams in British Columbia. At this time of year streams may be particularly sensitive to changes in groundwater input resulting from pumping, land use change or climate change. This project will use a combination of field and modelling techniques to characterize stream sensitivity to changes in the groundwater system during these low flow periods. The results were used to develop criteria for assessing sensitive streams for protection of fish and aquatic habitat.  She holds a fellowship from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions and is a member of the Climate Change Impact Research Consortium - CCIRC Research Group at Simon Fraser University.

Middleton, M. (2016).  Aquifer – stream connectivity at various scales: Application of sediment – water interface temperature and vulnerability assessments of groundwater dependent streams

 

Heather Munro
MRM, Resource and Environmental Management
Worked with: Dr. Ken Lerztman

Research Project: Economic Trade Offs between Carbon Offset and Timber. Opportunities in British Columbia's Central Coast: A Decision Analysis Approach

Heather Munroobtained the degree of Master in Resource Management in 2014 from the School of Resource and Environmental Management She worked in partnership with the Heiltsuk First Nation to aid in the design of forest management strategies that provide a mix of benefits to the community from alternative management scenarios involving timber harvest, carbon management, and conservation options. Her worked concluded that despite price uncertainties, carbon offsets are a strong economic opportunity that can be used to diversify forest management and support implementation of Ecosystem-based Management in Heiltsuk Territory by compensating for foregone timber harvest revenue. However, revenue from timber harvest and carbon offsets vary over time and are sensitive to uncertainty in price trends, costs, parameters used in carbon accounting, the time horizon considered, and how future benefits are valued. If forest managers across British Columbia are to be informed and able to seriously consider managing forests for carbon offsets, a comprehensive study is needed that identifies what strategies are feasible for forest carbon offset projects, across which types of sites, and under which accounting standards.  Heather completed her bachelor of science in civil engineering in the faculty of applied science at Queen’s University in 2011. She conducted her undergraduate thesis research at the Cape Bounty Arctic Watershed Observatory on Melville Island, Nunavut studying the impacts of changing climate and resulting permafrost disruption on water, sediment, carbon, nutrient and contaminant fluxes in high arctic watersheds. Her research interests are focused on how to work towards sustainable management of natural resources in the face of a highly uncertain future with local communities.

 

Rose Murphy
PhD, Resource and Environmental Management
Worked with: Dr. Mark Jaccard and Dr. Nancy Olewiler

Research Theses: Use of Empirically-Based Models to Evaluate the Potential of Energy Efficiency and Forest Carbon Sequestration for Mitigating Climate Change.

Rose Murphy obtained her Doctoral degree in 2013 working with the Energy and Materials Research Group in the School of Resource and Environmental Management. Her research involved a number of projects on themes such as the risks associated with geological carbon storage, strategies for implementing carbon storage technology in China, and energy efficiency opportunities in the US economy. Past PICS (Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions) fellow for a project that aims to test how various policies might shift land-use choices between agriculture and forest, with implications for carbon sequestration. Rose also received funding from NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) and Simon Fraser University.

 

Christie Spry
MRM, Resource and Environmental Management
Worked with: Dr. Karen Kohfeld, Dr. Ken Lerztman

Research Project: Understanding Extreme Precipitation Behaviour in British Columbia's Lower Mainland Using Historical and Proxy Data

Christie is a member of the Climate, Oceans and Paleo-Environments Laboratory in the School of Resource and Environmental Management. Her research focuses on the management implications of Pineapple Express storms, a subtropical winter storm that makes landfall on the west coast of North America on average of 0-4 times per year. The intense precipitation associated with these storms often leads to flooding, debris flows and water quality issues in Metro Vancouver. These impacts can be extremely hazardous and expensive, so they are of special interest to environmental managers, especially those dealing with public safety, land use planning, water quality and water supply. The goal of Christie’s research is to characterize Pineapple Express storms in terms of their historical trends (frequency, magnitude), defining characteristics (meteorological, hydrological and isotopic signature), and impacts, with particular emphasis on the Metro Vancouver area. She is also investigating ways to extend the existing chronology of Pineapple Express storm events, using oxygen isotopes in tree rings as proxy data. Christie was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario and received her B.Sc. in Earth Sciences from St. Francis Xavier University in 2008.

Publications:

- Christina M. Spry, Karen E. Kohfeld, Diana M. Allen, David Dunkley & Ken Lertzman (2014) Characterizing Pineapple Express storms in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada, Canadian Water Resources Journal / Revuecanadienne des ressources hydriques, 39:3, 302-323

 

Katarzyna (Kasia) Tokarska
Master of Science, Department of Geography
Worked with: Dr. Kirsten Zickfeld

Research Theses: The role of negative carbon dioxide emissions in climate system reversibility

Kasia obtained her Master of Science degree in Climatology, in the SFU Department of Geography. Her research explores the role of net-negative emission scenarios in stabilizing Earth System component responses. Net-negative emissions aim to artificially remove atmospheric CO2 (for example, via direct air capture, artificial trees, biomass combustion with carbon capture and storage or enhancement of natural carbon sinks). Using the University of Victoria Earth System Climate Model of intermediate complexity, Kasia studies different CO2 emission pathways that follow a business-as-usual scenario for the next few decades, followed by a gradual decline in CO2 emissions and an artificial removal of atmospheric CO2 (net-negative emission phase) at technologically feasible rates. She analyses the responses of different climate system components (temperature, sea level rise, thermohaline circulation and carbon sinks responses) for each of the scenarios and determines how efficient the negative emissions are in stabilizing climate system components at desired levels.

 

Michael Ton
MSc Department of Geography
Worked with: Dr. Meg Krawchuk

Michael Ton obtained his Master degree from the Department of Geography.  His research focused on the ecological resilience and disturbance interactions in pine forests of central interior British Columbia. Disturbance is a normal feature of many ecological systems, and vegetation communities are generally adapted to the prevailing disturbance regimes of their systems. However, the mountain pine beetle (MPB) epidemic that is currently spreading across western North America’s pine forests is novel in its extent and severity. The outbreak has the potential to dramatically alter the structure and dynamics of lodgepole pine forest ecosystems in central interior BC. Other disturbances, such as fires likely to burn through many MPB-affected landscapes over the next few decades, may compound the stress to these environments. Little is known about the effects of such interacting disturbances. This study explored how northern lodgepole pine ecosystems respond to the compound disturbance of MPB and fire, and the prevalence of compositional changes that may result from the atypical post-disturbance environmental conditions. The level of resilience displayed by these forests will have important implications for the management of MPB-afflicted vegetation communities. Michael graduated from the University of Toronto with a BSc in conservation biology.  His research interests lie in the field of community ecology; particularly in the mechanisms that drive community assembly and that determine community composition and species coexistence.  Prior to joining SFU, Michael worked on invasion dynamics in plant communities and completed a study on the spatial and temporal interactions between two highly successful invasive species in southern Ontario. Michael holds a fellowship from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.

Ton, M. (2015). The effects of disturbance history on the taxonomic and functional composition of ground-layer plant communities

 

Rupananda Widenage
MRM, Resource and Environmental Management
Worked with: Dr. Duncan Knowler

Research Project: Economics of biological invasion: Hound’s Tongue (Cynoglossum officinale) and livestock production in British Columbia.

Rupanada Widenage's research aims to identify policies for the sustainable management of rangelands within British Columbia to raise livestock productivity and improve the economic wellbeing of ranchers. Existing research shows that anthropogenic activities - leading to climate change in particular - has caused alterations in species distribution in rangelands across North America by creating competition between invasive plants and grass species. This has reduced the forage available for cattle consumption, thereby diminishing their weight gain and the resulting profitability of the livestock industry. Rupananda will examine the impact of climate change on biological invasion and the resulting economic loss for ranchers. He will also explore how different policy options such as taxes, subsidies, and community-based management can help mitigate these impacts. These research results will be used to inform and assist decision makers in the Federal, Provincial, and Municipal governments in Canada.

 

Nat Wilson
Master of Science, Department of Earth Sciences
Worked with: Dr. Gwenn Flowers

Research Theses: Characterization and Interpretation of Polythermal Structure in Two Subarctic Glaciers

He uses field-based and modelling methods to study the temperature and water distribution in glaciers in order to better understand how changes in environment affect present and future glacier behaviour. Small glaciers account for a measurable fraction of modern sea level rise, and this is expected to remain the case as climate warms. The temperature and water content of ice affect glaciers by altering their mechanical properties, such that warmer and more temperate glaciers are less viscous and therefore tend to flow faster. This potentially sets up a feedback in which faster-flowing glaciers generate more heat by internal friction, causing further changes to the thermal regime. Understanding where and how these and related processes take place helps to make accurate predictions of future glacier dynamics.

 

Dr. Syed Ahmed, Post-doctoral Fellow, School of Engineering Science
Worked with:
 Dr. Erik Kjeang

Syed Ahmed is a Post-doctoral fellow from the School of Engineering Science.  In collaboration with the City of Surrey and clean energy producers and distributors, Syed will develop a vehicle procurement tool to assess the environmental impact of different vehicles. This tool will assess alternative and conventional vehicles from various points in their lifecycles. The approach taken includes all steps required to produce a fuel, to manufacture a vehicle, and to operate and maintain the vehicle throughout its lifetime including disposal and recycling at the end. The proposed modeling tool is specifically targeted at accurate analysis of fleet vehicles.  Syed Ahmed graduated with a BSc in chemical engineering degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago in 2006. Stemming from his research into fuel cells as an undergraduate, he was accepted into the doctorate program at IIT. His dissertation is entitled Modeling, Control, and Design of Hybrid Fuel Cell Vehicles. His research interests include alternative energy, modeling of fuel cells, and optimization of hybrid fuel cell vehicles.