Forest Ecology Research Group

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FERG student wins award at Ontario Biology Day

Congratulations to Greg Lynch, B.Sc. honours student in the Forest Ecology Research Group, for winning “Best Plant Biology Poster” at the recent Ontario Biology Day. Greg’s poster was titled “Growth Responses of Tamarack to Recent Climate Warming: A Dendrochronological Study from Canada’s Northern Boreal Peatlands”. Congratulations on the great work, Greg!

Have a look at Greg’s work here


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Laurier biologist named Banting Postdoctoral Fellow

Below is an official Wilfrid Laurier University press release about our very own Dr. Gordon McNickle. Welcome to Laurier, Gord!


Waterloo – On September 23, Gordon McNickle was announced as Wilfrid Laurier University’s first Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship recipient by the Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State (Science and Technology).

The prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program provides funding to the very best postdoctoral applicants, both nationally and internationally, who will positively contribute to the country’s economic, social and research-based growth. Only 70 Banting Fellowships are awarded annually and valued at $70,000 per year for two years.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. McNickle to Laurier as a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow,” said Matthew Smith, associate dean: postdoctoral affairs. “Dr. McNickle is a world-class scholar, and this prestigious award will allow him to develop his research profile within the Department of Biology as he prepares for the next stage of his career.”

Together with his faculty supervisor, Jennifer Baltzer, Canada Research Chair in forests and global change, McNickle’s research examines the boreal forest using game theoretical approaches to predict responses of dominant tree species to global climate change. This research explores the impact of climate change on the boreal forest.

The boreal forest is the largest ecosystem in Canada and is an important resource for Canada’s $60 billion per year pulp wood industry. Globally, the boreal is second only to tropical forests in terms of ecosystem services such as atmospheric carbon capture and sequestration.

“My work will be done under a formal partnership between Wilfrid Laurier University and the Government of the Northwest Territories,” said McNickle. “There is substantial potential for impact both from a basic scientific understanding of this important ecosystem, but also for real-world management practices.”

“This ability to give a little of my expertise back to society is an important part of taking the fellowship at Laurier.”

He will be delivering a public talk on Friday, October 4 at 2:30 p.m. in the Science Building on Laurier’s Waterloo campus, room N1044. The talk, titled “Plants, games and foraging behaviour: from nutrients to ecosystems” as part of the Department of Biology’s Seminar Series.


9th International Workshop on Sap Flow

Dr. Baltzer is in Ghent, Belgium, to present at the 9th International Workshop on Sap Flow.

She will be presenting some of her work being conducted at Scotty Creek, NWT:

Impacts of seasonal thaw and permafrost degradation on Picea mariana root function in a subarctic boreal peatland. (Jennifer Baltzer, Rajit Patankar, Alec Downey, William Quinton)

Ghent, Belgium (photo from

Changing Cold Regions Network (CCRN)

We’re very excited to be apart of the Changing Cold Regions Network (CCRN). It’s a very large and collaborative project that will look at the rapidly changing systems in north and western Canada. Follow the link (above) for more information.

Here’s the Laurier Press Release about our involvement.