We conduct research in arctic, boreal, and temperate ecosystems on topics related to biogeography (of course!), climate change, and disturbance. We are currently collaborating with researchers across Canada and around the world. Check out the latest news from our lab, below!
Two more propagules expand to colonize new habitat
Anna Crofts and Jess Hogan both finished their theses Fall 2018 and underwent "the ritual". We miss them both! Jess is roaming the heathlands of Scotland doing research, and Anna has started her PhD at Université de Sherbrooke with Mark Vellend. They both made huge contributions to our community here, and we know they will go on to great success in their next adventures.
We love the sounds of deadlines as they go whooshing past our heads... (Douglas Adams paraphrase)
Fall 2018 was a busy one. Working groups, thesis submissions, end of field work, start of analyses ... We welcomed Heather Baehre to the lab, who is doing her MES research project on arctic-alpine Diapensia populations here on the Avalon Peninsula in the Hawke Hills. If Heather had to use one word to describe her research, I think that word would be windy. Check out the video of us trying to lay out a transect.
More gold stars!
It has been a year of achievement for Northern EDGErs. We are very grateful for the funding received from NSERC, the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, Canadian Northern Studies Trust, WCS Canada, W. Garfield Weston Foundation, MUN's Seed Fund, Western Ag Innovation, MUN's Geography Department and the Dr. Joyce Macpherson Award, and the Northern Scientific Training Program. We would not be able to do what we do without the generous support of these funds, so thanks, all!
And a baby samara disperses
Piers Evans successfully finished his MSc degree and convocated without falling off the stage (an achievement in itself). Piers has been around since before we were the Northern EDGE Lab, first as an undergrad and then as a Masters student, and he is the first signature on the ceiling. Congratulations Piers! So... who's going to make the coffee now?
They grow up so fast...
Anna Crofts gave her MSc exit seminar to the Geography Department in March. She had graphics so hot, gasps were heard throughout the room and there were murmurings of "I want to become an ecologist" from the social science crowd.
Don't let the door hit ya...
Friday was the Northern EDGE Lab's first grad student exit seminar, courtesy of Piers Evans. He presented the summary of his MSc research during his talk: "The changing face of Newfoundland's forests: Germination beyond the range edge".
Congrats, Piers! Well done!
New Northern EDGE Lab paper!
Piers Evans' second publication from his MSc is out in Forest Ecology and Management. This paper is a neat side project and collaboration with Emma Davis and Ze'ev Gedalof at U of Guelph. How do herbivore exclosure cages influence microclimate? Check it out here!
Gold stars all around
We speak of the coveted "gold star" in our lab regularly. You can earn a gold star by making really good coffee, remembering to pack important equipment for field work, solving a problem... Piers once won a coveted titanium star for something or another that we now can't remember. But, it turns out, Northern EDGErs are pretty awesome at winning more than just imaginary lab awards. Most recently, Anna won the TD Graduate Bursary for Environmental Study and the PRS Research Award from Western Ag Innovations and the Dr Joyce Macpherson Research Award in Physical Geography. PLATINUM STAR TO ANNA! Her award streak adds to a sweet run by Northern EDGERs with NSERC (USRA, PGS-M, PGS-D, PDF), the Weston Foundation, NSTP, and previous Dr Joyce Macpherson Research Awards.
I am lucky to work with such talented collaborators!
~Carissa, Spring 2017
The first official Northern EDGE Lab paper!
Piers Evans has the honour of being the first student to publish in the Northern EDGE Lab. Check out "The boreal-temperate ecotone response to climate change" in Environmental Reviews. Whoop whoop! Gold star to Piers for making it to the finish line on the huge marathon task that is a literature review.
Northern EDGE Lab at CSEE 2017
Northern EDGE-ers - current and future - had a fantastic time at the annual Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution meeting in Victoria, BC. We're not saying there is anything wrong with Newfoundland in the spring...but it sure was nice to see lush forests, huge trees, flowering magnolias, otters, seals, oh my! Tacos were eaten, coffee and beer were drunk, and science was had. Piers Evans, Lucas Brehaut, and Carissa Brown gave talks and Anna Crofts presented a poster of her cool lab germination experiment. Thanks Victoria!
Carissa on Quirks & Quarks!
I had the pleasure of chatting with Bob MacDonald about my research with Mark Vellend on non-climate constraints on tree range expansion recently, and the big role seed predators play in controlling sugar maple's distribution. Check out the interview, paper, and other press, below!
CBC Quirks & Quarks Interview: Maple Migration Moderated
Paper: Brown, C.D. and Vellend, M. 2014. Non-climatic constraints on upper elevational plant range expansion under climate change. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281: 20141779.
Canadian Geographic Blog: Climate Change Isn't the Only Thing Threatening Maples
The Global Treeline Range Expansion Experiment (G-TREE) is a globally distributed experiment Carissa Brown is leading with a number of researchers around the world. G-TREE is aimed at testing the generality of mechanisms driving treeline position. Using a straight-forward experimental design with seeding and substrate-altering treatments, we will be able to disentangle seed versus substrate limitations on treeline recruitment. Participating researchers from Canada, the United States, across Europe, Australia, and Venezuela, to name few, have begun implementing the field experiment in 2013 at arctic and alpine treeline sites. This initiative will provide empirical data on where, and under what circumstances, treeline expansion can occur globally.
Learn more at treelineresearch.com!
Carissa Brown, leader of the Northern EDGE Lab, has been making an effort to spread the word on the exciting world of research in the boreal forest. Check out a video of Carissa and colleagues enthusiastically enacting post-fire regeneration in northern black spruce stands, or Carissa's interview with CBC Radio in the Yukon on some cool things happening at the edge of black spruce's range in northern Yukon.
Listen to the CBC Radio Interview here.