MESPOM Project Offerings
The following SENS faculty are willing to work with MESPOM students interested in projects listed.
Please contact the faculty directly for more information.
Dr. Barrett has the opportunity for a student to examine threshold concepts for a new ecological paradigm. This project involves thematic analysis of qualitative data to develop and validate a set of threshold concepts that are barriers to integrating Indigenous and Western worldviews in environmental problem-solving. Threshold concepts have been developed by Land and Meyer and identified as critical for accessing “new and previously inaccessible ways of thinking about something” (2006). Skills required: The student will need strong writing and organizational skills and the ability to analyze qualitative data using NVIVO data analysis software.
Professor, Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics, College of Agriculture and Bioresources; Professor, SENS
Project: Understanding Tradeoffs in Water Allocation
This research project will focus on evaluating how people understand the value of these competing uses and the tradeoffs inherent in allocating water as a scarce resource. Specifically, the research project will carry out valuation experiments using the Social Sciences Research Lab at the University of Saskatchewan and a sample population of water users. This lab is set up to carry out computer based experiments social science experiments.
Project: Appropriateness of Market-Based Policy to Provide Environmental Quality in Agricultural Landscapes
The project will focus on developing a relatively comprehensive literature review of market-based policy instruments that have been used to address environmental concerns. An objective of this project will be to develop an organizing protocol based on the review to facilitate understanding and selection of appropriate market-based policy instrument to meet specific environmental objectives.
Associate Professor, School of Public Health; Associate professor, SENS
Project: Beyond Physical: Impacts of the Water Crisis in First Nations
Skills required: Strong writing and organizational skills and the ability to analyze qualitative data using NVIVO software.
Project: Water Consumption Choices and Perceptions of Water Related Health Risks Among First Nations in Saskatchewan
Skills required: Strong writing and organizational skills and ability to analyze quantitative data using SPSS software.
Assistant professor, Department of Poultry and Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Bioresources; Associate professor, SENS
Project: Delivering and evaluating aboriginal youth engagement programs
This project will develop and evaluate a process for optimizing and evaluating aboriginal youth engagement projects that are currently being conducted in Saskatchewan on Woodland Caribou (northern Saskatchewan) and Farmland Moose (southern Saskatchewan).
Roles and responsibilities: develop an evaluation process and implement it during the delivery of our aboriginal youth engagement programs to provide critical feedback to improve and enhance future years of these programs.
Skills required: No specific required skills, though having worked with youth and/or on knowledge translation/engagement projects would be a strong asset.
Associate professor, SENS; Canada Research Chair in Predictive Aquatic Ecotoxicology
Project: Aquatic Impact Assessment of Municipal Effluents (AIME)
This project will be imbedded in a larger study that assesses the impact of municipal effluents on different watersheds across Canada using a novel bioassay directed approach combined with analytical chemistry (termed Effect Directed Analysis). It uses biological endpoints (cell-based in vitro assays and in vivo fish studies) and analytical chemistry to identify toxic potentials in wastewater samples collected at a number of field sites in Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec. The data will be used to characterize potential risks to humans and wildlife due to decreased water quality, and - if such risks are present - pinpoint the sources responsible for the observed decrease in water quality. Furthermore, this study assess the efficiency of wastewater treatment plants to eliminate emerging contaminants such as endocrine disruptors from municipal wastewater.
Roles and responsibilities of the student (under supervision and after appropriate training by supervisor or other personnel): Collect (depending on weather) and prepare (e.g. extraction, filtration, fractionation) water samples for biological and chemical analysis. Conduct in vitro (cell lines and/or fish egg test) or fish-based in vivo assays to identify specific biological activities of samples or their fractions. Statistical data evaluation. Write a summary report, and - if permitted by the data - contribute to writing a peer-reviewed publication (student will be listed as a co-author). The student will need to complete the following safety course at the University of Saskatchewan before any work can commence (courses are between 1/2 and 1 day long): Biosafety, Laboratory Safety.
Skills required: Good English reading and writing skills. Natural science background with some laboratory (pipetting, etc.) experience. The student should be willing to participate in possible field excursions to collect samples. Basic knowledge in statistical evaluation of data sets is expected.
Project: Assessing adverse effects of emerging chemical contaminants on fishes of commercial, aboriginal, and recreational value to Canadians (AECCO)
Roles and responsibilities of the student (under supervision and after appropriate training by supervisor or other personnel): Plan and conduct short-term exposure studies with early life- stages of fish. Routine water quality assessment and maintenance of exposure experiments. Bio-analytical investigations (determine growth, deformities and mortality of fish; collect tissues and analyze sub-lethal biological effects such as changes in gene expression, biochemical homeostasis). Statistical data evaluation. Write a summary report, and - if permitted by the data - contribute to writing a peer-reviewed publication (student will be listed as a co-author). The student will need to complete the following safety course at the U of S before any work can commence (courses are between 1/2 and 1 day long): Animal Ethics Training, Biosafety, Laboratory Safety.
Skills required: Good English reading and writing skills. Natural science (biology) background with some laboratory experience (pipetting, etc.). Experience with working with aquatic vertebrates will be beneficial but is not critical. Basic knowledge in statistical evaluation of data sets is expected.
Assistant Professor, School of Environment and Sustainability; Assistant Professor, Global Institute for Water Security; Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Geological Engineering, College of Engineering
Hydrological processes determine how water is cycled through the environment, and determine the availability of water for plants, animals and humans. Models are useful tools to develop and test our understanding of how these processes work in diverse areas. However, developing reliable models is particularly challenging, largely because of large uncertainties associated with observations, and a lack of knowledge of the properties and processes that operate in the subsurface (soil and groundwater).
Dr. Ireson is conducting research that focuses on combining field observations with models to improve process understanding. There are opportunities to conduct research in the Prairies, Boreal Forest and Rocky Mountains of Canada, supervised by Dr. Ireson. Here, the hydrological processes are strongly dominated by the seasonal snowmelt event, which occurs sometime in April-May. Suitable candidates will have some background in hydrology/hydrogeology, and will ideally have excellent computational skills. They should also be willing to conduct field work in Western Canada.
Associate Professor, SENS; Associate Professor, Toxicology Centre
Project: Development of a Bayesian Belief Network to Assess Fish Health
Project: Assessment of Different Pattern Recognition Techniques for the Apportionment of Pollution Sources
|Professor, SENS; Director, Toxicology Centre
Project: Pesticide Ecotoxicology
One of the biggest challenges in aquatic toxicology is to provide good risk assessments of contaminant mixtures. Pollutants are rarely present in the environment as single contaminants,but generally present along with a variety of other contaminants that can vary in concentration both spatially and temporally.
One category of pesticides that has received a lot of attention in recent years is a group of insecticides called the neonicotinoids. These insecticides have become the largest group of insecticides used globally and low concentrations of these chemicals have been detected in surface waters all over the world. Although these insecticides are usually found in very low concentrations (<1 µg/L levels), they are toxic to non-target aquatic organisms at such low levels. In addition, there are several different neonicotinoid compounds on the market and several are used in the same areas at the same time. As a result, surface waters in these areas often contain low levels of several different neonicotinoids. This project will evaluate the mixture (combined) toxicity of several different neonicotinoids to a model aquatic invertebrate species. The objective would be to determine if toxicity of different neonicotinoid mixtures is additive, as would be predicted based on their identical mechanism of toxic action. Special emphasis would be placed on determining whether the toxicity relationship is molar concentration dependent and how important molar ratios of the different compounds are in the toxicity outcome.
Assistant Professor, SENS; Global Institute for Water Security
Project: The regimes of convective rainfall over the Canadian Prairies
The proposed research project for a student is to examine the regimes of warm-season convection and the initiation mechanisms of severe thunderstorms over the Canadian Prairies. Detailed satellite and station data analysis from the Saskatchewan River Basin project will improve the understanding of the land-atmosphere interactions and their contribution to convection initiation.
Skills Required: Experience with big data analysis. Ability to gather, understand, and critically analyze data from all relevant sources. Programming skills, such as Fortran, Matlab, R, Python, etc. Experience with large datasets analysis on multiple computer platforms (Unix/Linux, Windows).
Project: Assessing the water resources vulnerability of the Canadian Prairies under climate change background
A project is available to work on the regional climate simulation of future precipitation changes east of the Rockies. Regional climate analyses, based on high-resolution model simulations, will enhance global model capabilities for future precipitation change projection, as well as human impacts on regional climatic and hydro-climatological regime changes due to land-surface changes. The proposed research project for a student may include any of the following: (i) run the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model which covers the Saskatchewan River Basin; (ii) couple the WRF regional climate model with land-surface model to study the convection initiation mechanism and its related large-scale/regional circulation features to demonstrate whether the WRF model can reproduce these mechanisms. iii) Conventional ground and satellite observations, as well as those made by the various instruments deployed in the Saskatchewan River Basin research sites, will be utilized to evaluate the model's capability.
Skills Required: Experience with numerical modeling. Ability to gather, understand, and critically analyze data from all relevant sources. Programming skills, such as Fortran, Matlab, R, Python, etc. Experience with large datasets analysis on multiple computer platforms (Unix/Linux, Windows).
Associate Professor, SENS; Associate Professor, Global Institute for Water Security
Project: Water quality modelling of the Qu’Appelle River, Saskatchewan, Canada
Project: Modelling river ice processes along the Saskatchewan River
Project: Winter limnology study of selected reservoirs in Saskatchewan
Project: Modelling temperature and salinity stratification in reservoirs
Project: Analysing remote sensing data with ArcGIS to determine geomorphological changes or rivers
Associate Professor, Department of Educational Foundations, College of Education; Associate Professor, SENS; Director, Sustainability Education Research Institute
Project: Sustainability Education
The Sustainability and Education Policy Network (SEPN) is a collaborative partnership of leading Canadian environmental policy organizations, North American educational organizations focused on sustainability in early childhood to grade 12 education and post- secondary education, and Canadian and international academic researchers.
SEPN’s research addresses the current lack of coordinated analysis and development of sustainability in education policy and practice in Canada. We examine existing and new policies, practices, and innovations in relation to governance, curriculum, research, operations, and community outreach and determine which are most promising for enabling educational change for a more sustainable future. Our core focus is the policy-practice gap. Traditional policy analysis traces policy from development to implementation. SEPN uses practice to critically examine policy, and develop research-based situated models for furthering sustainability through education policy and practice.
The research is organized into two subthemes, EC-12 (Subtheme A) and PSE (Subtheme B), and three iterative Themes, (1) Document Analysis, (2) Community Engagement, and (3) Knowledge Mobilization.
For more information on SEPN, visit sepn.ca.
SEPN is looking for students to work on a variety of research projects. Possible areas of focus include: Aboriginal education settings, early childhood education settings (e.g., forest schools), GIS mapping of sustainability features, or other areas of SEPN’s research.
Skills Required: Very good English reading and writing skills; fluency in French is an asset. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills (written and verbal); ability to work productively, both individually and in groups; ability to work independently and efficiently; strong time management skills. Experience and familiarity with discourse analysis and critical policy analysis and familiarity with analyzing qualitative data using NVivo 10 is also an asset.
|Assistant professor, SENS; Assistant professor, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Science
Project: The impact of neonicotinoid insecticides on wetland invertebrates
The student will do lab work on existing samples to assess Macroinvertebrate abundance, diversity and biomass from a range of sites with differing agricultural impact and neonicotinoid use.