Geography Research Report 2012-2013
The 2012-2013 Research Report for Memorial University's Department of Geography.
Research report 2012–2013 Department of geography R e s e a r c h re por t 20 1 2 –2 0 1 3 D epa r t m e nt o f Ge o gr a p h y M em or ia l u n iv er s it y | n ewf ou n d l a n d & L a br a d or 1 R es ea r c h rep or t 2 0 1 2 –2013 CONTENTS Research Clusters 4 VGI MAPPING 6 DEEP SEA CORALS Message from the Geography Research Group 8 THe North From left: Trevor Bell, Charles Mather and Jennifer Thorburn 10 E-waste recycling 12 Too Big To Ignore 14 Talent 16 Speaker Series 18 This inaugural research report for the Geography Department, Memorial University, is the brainchild of our Geography Research Group (GRG). The GRG’s work in the Department focuses on issues related to research. Its aim is to both develop research capacity within our Department and to publicize our considerable success in research. We use the Group, among other things, to continue to further develop and strengthen our research clusters (see page 5) and to discuss how we can take advantage of new opportunities. The Group is also an important forum for sharing — and learning from — our research experiences. In this report for 2012/13 we profile five projects that highlight some of the outstanding research we do in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, in the rest of Canada, and internationally. In the talent section we highlight the work of our graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, and we introduce two new faculty members — Dr Carissa Brown and Dr Cedric Brunelle, biogeographer and economic geographer, respectively. Our research report reveals a sample of some of the outstanding research in the Geography Department. But it is just a sample! In future reports we will profile existing and new projects in the Department, and we will highlight our research achievements and successes. We want to acknowledge the Provost, Memorial University, who made this report possible through the Scholarship in the Arts initiative. 3 Research report 2012–2013 Department of geography Message from the dean of ARTS Lynne Phillips It is a pleasure to be showcasing the research accomplishments of Memorial University’s Geography Department. As you can see from this report, Geography’s research is on the cutting edge of a range of significant ecological, economic and social issues and they are a highly productive group. The Department houses one of the strongest team of Geographers in the country. How have they accomplished this? In my view, research productivity is built on four key ingredients: collegiality, collaboration, mentoring, and support for successful grantscrafting. These are the qualities we seek for excellent research throughout the university, and Geography is a model department for us within the Faculty of Arts. As this report indicates, Geography excels at focusing on the placebased intersections of global dynamics and local challenges and resilience. With its deep respect for place, Geography’s research is also strategically positioned within Memorial’s Faculty of Arts — the Humanities and the Social Sciences — where we are investigating, among other issues, the future of the fisheries and climate change, health and safety, alternative food systems, the impact of the oil industry on identity, and economic and cultural changes for coastal communities. Research in Geography, under the direction of its Head, Charles Mather, continues to soar. This report only highlights a selection of its research; I suggest checking out the Department’s website to review all that it has to offer. LYNNE PHILLIPS Dean, Faculty of Arts 5 Research report 2012â€“2013 ď‚œ Department of geography Geography Department Research Clusters society, knowledge and values climate and environmental change In late 2009, the Geography Department hosted a meeting with the vice-president (research) (VPR) and the dean of Arts. The purpose of the meeting was to allow the VPR to outline strategic initiatives coming out of his office for research at Memorial. We decided to use this opportunity to present our research, highlight our recent achievements, and raise some of the challenges we faced in reaching our goals. In preparing for this process we identified four research clusters, sustainable communities and regions which have allowed us to present our varied research projects in a more coherent fashion. This is in contrast to previous efforts to present our research, which have relied on disciplinary distinctions (e.g. cultural, economic, physical geography). The four clusters are: Globalization, economy and resources; Sustainable communities and regions; Climate and environmental change; and Society, knowledge and values. globalisation, economy and resources We subsequently identified a fifth cluster in the area of Health and well-being. This cluster links closely with several specific research projects currently underway in the department. Our goal is to strengthen this cluster through a new appointment in the not-toodistant future. Geography research clusters contribute to and are aligned with the strategic research themes of Memorial University. health and well-being Society, knowledge and values 7 Research report 2012–2013 Department of geography Digital mapping: citizen map-makers Rodolphe Devillers Producing geographic information and maps is no longer the exclusive task of professional cartographers. Since 2004, large mapping projects such as OpenStreetMap allow citizens to collect and compile geographic information into large and complex world maps available for free on the Internet. This process, described as volunteered geographic information (VGI), builds on the fact that people familiar with places are in the best position to capture knowledge on their local geographic environment. Such a drastic change in the way maps are produced raised an initial skepticism amongst professional cartographers. Yet, these maps have proven, in some cases, to be more accurate and up-to-date than government maps. They have generated an increasing interest not only from users but also traditional map producers. For VGI maps to be really useful in a number of contexts, the factors controlling the quality of the information have to be better understood. Rodolphe Devillers is the lead researcher in the Geography Department for this project on VGI. His research is supported by a 5-year NSERC Discovery Grant together with a 3-year Discovery Accelerator Supplement to improve our understanding of the quality of VGI and develop and test new methods for improving the quality of derived maps. Together with his research team composed of one postdoctoral fellow, Arnaud Vandecasteele, and two PhD students, Jimena Martínez Ramos and Daniel Bégin, Rodolphe is developing novel methods for assessing the quality of VGI. Their work is based on an understanding of VGI contributors’ behaviour and on the quality of maps using a crowdsourced approach. These works are expected to further our understanding of those new mapping processes and provide tools to help better serve citizens. Climate and environmental change 9 Research report 2012–2013 Department of geography Marine conservation: deep-sea corals Evan Edinger Submarine mine tailings disposal near coral reefs are either banned or discontinued in many tropical countries partly due to research by Evan Edinger and his lab group in Geography. And if that wasn’t enough, Evan has also been standing up for deep-sea corals in the cold waters off Newfoundland and Labrador, helping Canada meets its international commitments to marine conservation. “Our monitoring of the impacts of submarine mine tailings dumps on reefs in Indonesia showed that tailings dispersed from their intended dump site to nearby fringing coral reefs and were incorporated into coral skeletons. Also, our international collaborations have led to a breakthrough in understanding the long-term impacts of global warming, land-based pollution, diseases, and overfishing on Caribbean coral reefs. Our recent publication in Nature Communications reported that nearly half of the reefs are unable to build upwards, compromising future reef viability.” More than 40 species of deep-sea corals are found in Newfoundland and Labrador waters, mostly at continental slope depths, where fishing activities have expanded since the cod moratorium of 1992. Most deep-sea coral species live for decades, and larger corals may live for several centuries, unless they are disturbed by fishing and other activities. Evan has shown how long-lived coral skeletons record changing marine conditions in response to climate change. “Our results are helping government, industry and NGOs focus their deepsea coral conservation efforts. Our exploration of pristine coral habitats beyond the current depth range of fishing activities document what deepsea coral environments looked like before being depleted by fishing.” Sustainable communities & regions 11 Research report 2012–2013 Department of geography The north: building sustainable communities Trevor Bell SakKijânginnatuk Nunalik is the Inuktitut name for the Nunatsiavut Government-led research program on sustainable subarctic communities. The five coastal communities in Nunatsiavut, northern Labrador, are facing challenges that arise from rapid population growth and community expansion, coupled with recent climatic and environmental changes. They include, for instance: a broad infrastructure deficit; scarcity of suitable building land; demand for a more diversified housing stock that is appropriately designed and constructed to meet local needs and changing environmental conditions; emerging energy, food and drinking water insecurities; and declining accessibility to health and transportation services. In 2012, community leaders decided that the solutions to these challenges demanded a new approach, one that was holistic, integrated and sustainable, it was time to try something different. What emerged was a comprehensive vision and action plan under the umbrella of the SakKijânginnatuk Nunalik initiative. As principal research partner, Trevor Bell has worked closely with Nunatsiavut Government and Inuit Community Government representatives to develop research and action plans, secure funding, and engage communities on their priorities. “Our goal is to explore innovative solutions and establish best practices in community development in Nunatsiavut … to focus on issues that are central to community well-being and sustainability. There is a growing need for fresh approaches to community planning across the Arctic, and what we learn and champion in Nunatsiavut may well provide a template for action elsewhere.” Globalization, economy and resources 13 Research report 2012–2013 Department of geography REcycling e-waste Josh Lepawsky Images of burning wires, smashed computer screens, and mountains of discarded cell phones being hacked to pieces by people in precarious conditions are a recurring theme in discussions about electronic waste (e-waste). Electronic discards disposed of in Canada arrive in countries outside NAFTA, in Latin America and Asia, where they may be processed under risky conditions. At the same time, what is cast aside as ‘e-waste’ by some people, is a crucial source of materials for repair, reuse, remanufacturing and production; it is a source of employment and livelihood for some people elsewhere. What’s the right thing to do with electronic discards in Canada and beyond? The Reassembling Rubbish Electronics project is investigating this broad and deceptively simple question. “It raises intertwined, complex and urgent questions about sustainability, innovation, poverty, and prosperity that transcend the political and legal boundaries of any one nation,” says the study’s leader, Josh Lepawsky. The project aims to work with people often represented as victims of dumping of other peoples’ e-waste, to document their skills, knowledge and creativity at re-kindling into value what others cast aside as waste. With co-researchers working in locations in Mexico, Peru, Bangladesh and China, the Reassembling Rubbish Electronics project includes collaborators from three universities and an electronics recycling firm. By working together, members of the project seek to gain insight into the possibilities for, and limits to, fair trade electronics recycling and the diverse economies of which they are, and may become, a part. Health and well-being 15 Research report 2012â€“2013 ď‚œ Department of geography too big to ignore Ratana Chuenpagdee Too Big to Ignore (TBTI): Global Partnership for Small-Scale Fisheries Research (toobigtoignore. net) is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded project focused on small-scale fisheries, led by Ratana Chuenpagdee. This is a sector that is largely under-appreciated for its value and contribution to society, and is also under-represented in national and international policy forums. The TBTI global partnership fosters collaboration, communication and education between fishers, researchers, community groups, non-governmental organizations, and governments, who go about their own business in their own way. Through a partnership approach, TBTI serves as a platform for learning and sharing of knowledge and experience. Current partners of TBTI includes intergovernmental agencies, like the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), non-governmental organizations like Masifundise, a fisher organization in South Africa, research institutions like Centre for Poverty Analysis, based in Sri Lanka, and knowledge mobilization partners like the Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support (DELTS) at Memorial University. The partnership began with a bottom-up process of problem identification and follows participatory and collaborative approaches in developing research frameworks to address the issues, and interacting with all stakeholders in the design of appropriate governing institutions. Its ultimate goal is to contribute to elevating the profile of small-scale fisheries, arguing against their marginalization and addressing food security and sustainability challenges in small-scale fisheries worldwide. new faculty member Carissa Brown new faculty member I am interested in the drivers and controls of the spatial distribution of plant species, particularly trees, under climatic change. As environmental constraints on speciesâ€™ distributions lessen with warming temperatures in northern ecosystems, we expect species to shift their distributions northward and upward (in alpine environments); however, a speciesâ€™ establishment and persistence are controlled by many factors beyond climate, and I am particularly interested in phenomena beyond direct climate effects that drive speciesâ€™ distributions. I look forward to expanding my research program to include some of the many exciting ecosystems Newfoundland and Labrador has to offer. CEDRIC BRUNELLE My research falls into the subfield of economic geography, with an emphasis on the study of urban systems, industrial organization, labour mobility, regional development, and the resource economy. I am interested in analyzing the long-term social and economic development of territories, the industrial restructuring of regions and the socio-economic impacts of global industrial and technological changes. talent graduate student graduate student TARA CATER Ryan Gibson My current research, supervised by Arn Keeling, focuses on past, present and future mining encounters in the Kivalliq Region of Nunavut. During a 90-day ethnographic field season in the summer of 2012 in Rankin Inlet and Baker Lake, Nunavut, I conducted in-depth interviews with community members, government officials, and mine workers and executives, examining how actors were coming to terms with the upcoming Meliadine gold exploration project's potential costs and benefits, amid historical mining encounters still present on contemporary landscapes. Rural regions throughout Canada and internationally are seeking new forms of governance to address challenges and opportunities associated with changing social, economic, and environmental dynamics. My research examines two governance initiatives (one in rural Newfoundland and one in rural Ireland) to understand the influence of non-governmental organizations, place and geographical boundaries, and the relationships between government and new forms of governance. This research will advance theoretical discussions of collaborative governance and regional development policy discussions. postdoctoral fellow postdoctoral fellow postdoctoral fellow postdoctoral fellow EASKEY BRITTON HEATHER HALL MAGGIE DANEK ARNAUD VANDECASTEELE I am a post-doctoral research fellow from Ireland with Too Big to Ignore (TBTI), a global partnership for small-scale fisheries research. TBTI is led by Ratana Chuenpagdee and supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. My research with TBTI seeks to explore the research priorities and knowledge gaps for smallscale fisheries and to help develop an interactive information system that captures the key characteristics of small-scale fisheries and aids multi-level and multi-scale analysis of their needs and contributions. My research interests focus on regional planning and regional development in resource peripheries. I am currently working on the Advancing Innovation in NL (AINL) project and the SSHRC-funded Canadian Regional Development: A Critical Review of Theory, Practice, and Potentials project. I was recently awarded the 2013 Faculty of Arts Postdoctoral Fellowship to study the regional development impacts of employment-related geographic mobility (E-RGM) in the mining and mineral-processing sectors in Newfoundland and Labrador and Northern Ontario. The goals of my postdoctoral project are to refine the analytical approach for, and reconstruct high-resolution records of, lead and other metals through laser ablation ICP-MS analysis of annual growth rings in 150-year-old trees in St. John's. The research builds on our knowledge of the geochemical landscape of St. John's and our understanding of the exposure risk of residents to lead and other metals in the urban residential environment. My research focuses on volunteered geographic information systems (VGI). These are maps made from the contributions of users, normal citizens like you and me who share a common goal: to create the first detailed free map of the world. VGI has opened the door to an alternative to traditional data producers, changing the way we produce, share and use geographic information. My research asks a number of questions: Why and how do people collaborate to create such data? Can we measure the quality of the data produced by contributors that have no formal expertise in cartography? What will be the future of this phenomenon and how can it be used by traditional data producers? graduate student graduate student RUDY RIEDLSPERGER CARLY SPONARSKI Rudy Riedlsperger is an MA student in the Geography Department and is one of the founding members of The MUN Arctic Student Association (MUNArctic). MUNArctic is affiliated to the ArcticNet Student Association (ASA). The mission of ASA is to broaden the ArcticNet student experience by promoting student learning, leadership, research and networking opportunities among students, academics, governmental partners and northerners. MunArctic believes that Memorial University, with its great research opportunities in Canada's North, deserves a prominent position in ASA. My dissertation research focuses on human-wildlife interactions, specifically human-coyote interactions in Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia. Since 2000, humans and coyotes have come into increased conflict in the park, the worst occurrence being an adult fatality in 2009. The project involves minimizing human-coyote interactions through understanding beliefs, attitudes and behaviour toward coyotes, and knowledge about coyotes and coyote management. 18 Speaker Series Research report 2012–2013 Department of geography During the 2012/13 academic year we were provided generous support from the Provost’s Office under the Scholarship in the Arts initiative. A proportion of the funds were used to invite Canadian and international academics to our Speaker Series 2012/13. This is a list of the visitors and the titles of their presentations. Nov. 30 2012 March 1, 2013 Dr. Sharron Fitzgerald visiting scholar, Ludwig-MaximiliansUniversitat Munchen Dr. Lawrence Hamilton Department of Sociology, University of New Hampshire Securitisation through vulnerability: human trafficking, sexuality and extraterritoriality Integration of social and natural science data March 15, 2013 Feb. 1, 2013 Dr. Heather Castleden School for Resources and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University Relationships before research: friendship, partnership and being researched – are any/ all possible in community-based participatory research? Feb. 8, 2013 Dr. Danika van ProoSdij Department of Geography, St. Mary’s University Vulnerability of dykelands in the Bay of Fundy to climate change Feb. 22, 2013 Dr. Lea Berrang Ford Department of Geography, McGill University Spatial epidemiology in neglected tropical disease research: case studies of Human African Trypanosomiasis Professor Stewart Fotheringham Department of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St. Andrews A new view of the demographic impacts of the Irish famine through geographically weighted regression April 5, 2013 Professor Michael Woods Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Aberystwyth Grounding global challenges and the relational politics of the rural May 24, 2013 Dr. Hugues Lantuit Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research and University of Potsdam Arctic coasts in a changing climate Considering graduate study in geography? We offer fully funded studentships for MA, MSc., and PhD programs. Our graduate program attracts students from across Canada and around the world, and provides opportunities for field-based scientific and social scientific studies in a wide variety of areas. Students attending Memorial receive instruction in geographical practices and methods appropriate to their field of study. Our program offers the chance to interact with a diverse array of fellow students and to live and study in St. Johnâ€™s, the culturally vibrant capital of the ruggedly beautiful province of Newfoundland. Our graduates go on to further advanced study, university faculty positions, and government and private sector employment. Please visit our website to learn about particular faculty membersâ€™ interests and to find out about specific graduate student opportunities: www.mun.ca/geog. Our application deadline is listed as January 15, but we will consider applicants on an ongoing basis. For more information and applications for graduate study at Memorial, visit www.mun.ca/sgs. Find out more about the Department of Geography at: www.mun.ca/geog 081-363-07-13-500 D e par t m e n t o f G e o gra ph y www.mun.ca/geog