[tugs] TUGS Pub Night & Physical Geography Candidates

  • From: TUGS - Toronto Undergraduate Geography Society <r.tchoukaleyska@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: TUGSGeneral <tugsgeneral@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2005 12:09:05 -0500

                              TUGS Pub Night
                      This THURSDAY, February 24th
                               Rowers Pub
                            150 Harbord St 
               (about three blocks west of Spadina,on the north side)
                              Upper Level

                       Snacks provided by TUGS!

The Department is commencing its second set of interviews for
a faculty position in Physical Geography.

The Departmental Search Committee encourages all undergraduate students to 
attend and provide their input.


Dr. Nathan Basiliko (PDF - UBC)

Tuesday February 22 - 3:30 to 5:00pm - Room SSH 2125


Soil microorganisms perform vital tasks in terrestrial ecosystems
through the turnover of organic matter and nutrients.  Ultimately
microbial activity mobilizes nutrients to sustain vegetation, while at the
same time is responsible for the net release of greenhouse gasses
from the terrestrial biosphere to the atmosphere.  In only the past
decade, new molecular tools for rapidly characterizing signature genes
in soils and measuring key microbial enzyme activities have been
developed that allow for the scaling up of microbial ecology and
function in soils from the microsite to the landscape.  This has led soil
ecology to become one of the last major frontiers to understanding
and improving management of ecosystems, especially under
increasing environmental change and demands for natural resources.  

Peatland and forests are widely distributed,important Canadian
ecosystems.  In Canada, peatlands represent the largest pool of
carbon in the terrestrial biosphere, likely the largest net sink for
atmospheric carbon dioxide, and a net source of atmospheric
methane.  Peat is also a valuable natural resource that is
commercially mined, and efforts have been made to restore
biogeochemical functioning of harvested sites.  Canada contains ca.
10 % of the world?s forests, and forestry is a vital component of the
Canadian economy.  New harvesting techniques, including variable
live-tree patch retention, are currently being tested in hope of
improving forest regeneration.


Dr. Emma Watson (PDF - Environment Canada)

Friday February 25 - 4:00 to 5:30pm - Room SSH 2125


The varied topography and landscapes of the Canadian west afford
unique opportunities to sample and develop tree-ring chronologies
sensitive to different climate conditions from proximal sites.
Dendroclimatic studies based on a broad network of moisture and
temperature sensitive chronologies have been used to reconstruct
changes in the variability of precipitation, temperature and streamflow
at a number of sites in the region. Maps of precipitation variability in
the southern Canadian Cordillera and adjacent U.S. extend back to
1640 and are useful for viewing dry conditions of the early 20th century
in a longer context and for assessing historically important events from
a climatic perspective.  This network of chronologies has also allowed
the investigation of more complex variables that integrate seasonal
changes in precipitation and temperature.  Winter, summer and net
mass balance reconstructions have been developed for Peyto Glacier
in Banff National Park, Alberta.  These records are 322 yrs in length
and offer a continuous insight into glacier variability over the Little Ice
Age that was not available previously.  When compared with
streamflow reconstructions, possible causes of annual discharge
variability over the past 350 years (i.e. during periods of varying glacier
extent) can be investigated.  The reconstructed mass balance series
can be compared with conditions in the Pacific Ocean over the past
100 years (almost triple the length of studies using the 35 year
measured mass balance series).  The Peyto mass balance
reconstructions are also compared with similar records developed for
Glacier National Park, Montana to begin to address broader questions
on the timing and scale of glacier advances of the past 300 years
throughout this portion of the Rocky Mountains. 


Dr. Sarah Finkelstein (PDF - U.Ottawa)

Tuesday March 1 - 4:00 to 5:30pm - Room SSH 2125


Paleoecology is the study of how ecosystems change on century and
millennial time scales. These long-term records supply important
evidence for paleoclimatic and other paleoenvironmental changes.
They also provide key insights into the mechanisms through which
ecosystems change and develop, and allow hypotheses about
ecosystem dynamics to be tested through time. Pollen grains
preserved in lake or wetland sediments have long been used to
reconstruct paleovegetation quantitatively; I show how advances in
pollen grain taxonomy and in the use of regional databases are
allowing pollen analysis to become a ?sharper? tool, increasingly able
to track species-level interactions through time. Paleoecological
techniques, including the analysis of pollen and diatoms (microscopic
aquatic algae) in peat records spanning the past 5000 years at a Lake
Erie coastal marsh, were used to test different hypotheses of wetland
initiation and subsequent plant community change. This research
indicates that geomorphic activity provides a fundamental control on
wetland development, but hydrological changes, driven both by
isostatic rebound and by climatic variability, acted to reorganize plant
communities episodically since the middle Holocene. The
paleoecological record from this wetland also provides a context for
modern day changes by showing which once-dominant plant
communities are no longer common and by identifying an invasive
plant species. I am now applying paleoecological techniques to
determine how aquatic ecosystems in two lakes in the central
Canadian Arctic have responded to Holocene climatic shifts.
Ultimately, paleolimnological records taken from a number of lakes
that have varied in diatom diversity and in productivity will be used to
test new ideas about the role of these in responses to disturbance and
in resilience.


If you have any questions, contact TUGS: tugs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Visit the TUGS website: www.geog.utoronto.ca/info/tugs

Roza Tchoukaleyska

TUGS - President 
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 Toronto Undergraduate Geography Society 
 Sidney Smith Hall, Rm 613 
 100 St. George St. 
 Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3G3 
TUGS GENERAL ANOUNCEMENT MAILING LIST - www.geog.utoronto.ca/info/tugs
Email TUGS: tugs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or visit the TUGS office in the basement of 
Sidney Smith Hall, Room 613

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