Research Groups & Labs



Aerial photograph of a country road and pastures.Agricultural Sustainability in the Anthropocene

Primary Contact: Damian Maddalena

Host Campus: Geography, Geomatics, and Environment, UTM 

Agricultural sustainability in a changing climate at various scales, with a focus on the interface between agricultural and natural systems. Particularly interested in open source tools and science that can inform decisions in the public and private sectors. 



llab logo. an illustration of a snowflake inside of a piece of melting iceCryosphere Research Lab 

Primary Contact: Laura Brown 

In the Cryosphere Research Lab we focus mainly on snow and ice and how they are responding to ongoing climate changes. Current research projects in the lab mainly fall into two broad categories: changing arctic ice and snow, and temperate region lake ice.  We use a mix of numerical modelling, remote sensing and field work to achieve our research objectives, which seek to better understand the changes taking place in the cryosphere. 



Infographic of a child's playground.Engagement & Planning for Inclusive Communities (EPIC) Lab

Primary Contact: Tim Ross

Host Campus: Department of Geography & Planning, St. George; Bloorview Research Institute 

The mission of the EPIC Lab is to advance more inclusive communities for families living with childhood disability. Using primarily qualitative methods, Lab members engage four key research areas: (1) Education access, (2) Transportation and mobility, (3) Inclusive play, and (4) Addressing institutional ableism.

(Image designed by Megan Cheun)


People in a cold climate looking into an ice hole.Environmental and Aquatic Biogeochemistry Laboratory

Primary Contact: Igor Lehnherr

Host Campus: Geography, Geomatics, and Environment, UTM 

In the Environmental and Aquatic Biogeochemistry Laboratory we conduct research to understand the impacts of environmental stressors such as contaminants (mercury, metals and organic contaminants), nutrients, and climate change on aquatic ecosystems, focusing primarily on the Arctic and Boreal ecoregions. A biogeochemical perspective is required because many environmental problems, including pollution, climate change and eutrophication, are caused by anthropogenic disturbances to natural biogeochemical cycles. Our research is interdisciplinary - integrating physical geography, limnology and environmental biology - and combines ecosystem-scale field studies, controlled experiments and emerging analytical techniques to elucidate how humans impact the natural world we live in. 


A man standing and smiling in front of trees. Global Environmental Change Lab

Primary Contact: Adam Martin

Host Campus: Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, UTSC

The Global Environmental Change Lab is based at University of Toronto Scarborough. Our group focuses on the causes and consequences of variability in plant traits, and its linkages with key ecosystem processes including carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling, and plant responses to climate change. We also explore how plant diversity has changed over the past decades, and what this means for the ecology of agricultural systems.


A pattern of nine hexagons showing remote sensing equipment.The Remote Sensing and Spatial Ecosystem Modeling Laboratory (the RSSEM Lab)

Primary Contact: Yuhong He

Host Campus: Geography, Geomatics, and Environment, UTM 

We investigate changes that have occurred in natural (grasslands, forests, wetlands) and managed (farmlands and urban) systems using remote sensing, machine learning, and ecosystem modelings, for the common goals of understanding how human activities and global changes affect environments and how to make our natural/built environments healthier, more resilient, and adaptable. 


Map showing age distribution of Canada via different colours.Spatial Analysis of Urban Systems (SAUSy) Lab

Primary Contact: Michael Widener

Host Campus: Department of Geography & Planning, St. George 

The SAUSy lab is generally interested in using cutting edge geographic data science to understand how urban systems impact a range of social and health outcomes, from access to affordable and health food to equitable availability of transit services.  



7 lab members standing in front of a helicopter.UTM Paleolab

Primary Contact: Trevor Porter 

Host Campus: Geography, Geomatics, and Environment, UTM 

The UTM Paleolab specialises in reconstructing past climate and environmental change in sub-Arctic and Arctic regions, mainly in N.W. Canada and Alaska, using a wide range of natural indicators such as tree rings, fossil leaf waxes and the stable isotope geochemistry of relict permafrost. 




Bear stands alone on a logging road.Wildlife, Land, and Sustainability Lab

Primary Contact: Andrea Olive

Host Campus: Geography, Geomatics, and Environment, UTM 

Research in this lab focuses on wildlife and land conservation in the context of biodiversity loss, climate change, and sustainable development. 




Groups & Collaborative Projects 


Logo for Act In Site - a series of circles in a network ActInSite Project

Primary Contact: Lindsay Stephens

Host Campus: Department of Geography & Planning, St. George / Multi-site

The ActInSite project (Accommodation to Include Students with Disability in Practicum Sites) is an interdisciplinary and multi-institutional collaborative project. The  goal of research in the ActInSite project is to increase accessibility for Disabled students in experiential and work integrated learning. We use participatory and engaged processes to design interventions and change social and cultural ideas about disability so that access becomes easier.


A collage of air monitoring equipment and monitoring maps.Adams’ Research Group

Primary Contact: Matt Adams

Host Campus: Geography, Geomatics, and Environment, UTM 

Our focus is on individuals’ exposure to air contaminants in the urban environment. Research outputs cross between the social and natural sciences, leveraging and advancing spatial analysis; while understanding social science problems, such as examining the relationship of human behaviour and the built environment on exposure.  



Close up of an ozone map, shows the outlines of continents overlaid with colours representing information.Liu's Atmospheric and Ecological Environments Group

Primary Contact: Jane Liu

Host Campus: Department of Geography & Planning, St. George 

Our research focuses on processes in our atmospheric and ecological environments and mechanisms modulating these processes. We develop and use advanced atmospheric and ecological models to mimic these processes and to diagnose their interactions. Using technology of remote sensing, geographic information system (GIS), and computer programming, we conduct integrated analysis of data from multiple sources from surface, balloons, aircrafts, and satellites. The ultimate goal of the research is to find scientific ways to solve environmental problems. 

A research group standing in front of a large rock formation.Desloges Geomorphology Research Group

Primary Contact: Joe Desloges 

Host Campus: Department of Geography & Planning and Department of Earth Sciences, St. George 

Our group operates a wet lab, core preparation lab, grain material analysis lab, computer lab and a wide range of field equipment preparation spaces. There is a very wide range of shared analytical instrumentation in the Earth Sciences Centre. 


Two women bending over wheelbarrows in a forested area. A child stands in front of them, looking at the camera.The Feminist Collective 

Primary Contact: Sharlene Mollett

Host Campus: Department of Geography & Planning, St. George, Department of Human Geography, UTSC, The Department of Global Development Studies, UTSC

The Feminist Collective is a writing and mentoring collective designed to bring into conversation a multi-scaled group of feminist thinkers, where undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty come together based on shared interests in intersectional feminism, anti-colonial, anti-sexist and anti-racist thought and practice. This year’s cohort consists of the following graduate students from the Department: Anahid Simitian, Andrew Thomas, Nokuzola Songo, Kaela Sanborn-Hum, Estefania Rueda-Torres along with six undergraduate fellows. The Collective will meet weekly and tri-mentor around a collective writing project, professional development activities and events. We welcome visits from faculty, staff, and advanced graduate students looking to share professional development tips, career trajectories, works-in-progress, and research presentations (etc.). 

Landscape with tree nursery and grass.Food, Environment, and Activism Study Team (FEAST)

Primary Contact: Sarah Wakefield

Host Campus: Department of Geography & Planning, St. George

FEAST explores the various ways different communities organize around social justice issues, particularly – although not exclusively – in relation to food. We are especially interested in how equity-seeking groups (particularly communities of colour and Indigenous communities) in North America engage with social justice and /or food system issues, as well as how “mainstream” environmental and food activist groups reach out to (and /or work in solidarity with) equity-seeking communities.

A colourful map of the Toronto subway line.Mobilizing Justice 

Primary Contact: Steven Farber

Host Campus: Department of Human Geography, UTSC 

Mobilizing Justice is a Canadian Partnership conducting research to support equitable transportation planning processes and outcomes.





A picture of a stream surrounded by trees.Political Economy of Environment and Political Ecology (PE2) Research Group

Primary Contact: Scott Prudham

Host Campus: Department of Geography & Planning and the School of the Environment, St. George

Our group is organized loosely around graduate students who are supervised by or work in some capacity with Professor Scott Prudham, and who share a common interest in a broad political economy approach to understanding environmental issues (i.e., environmental change, natural resource appropriation, environmental politics and social movements, environmental regulation, environmental injustice, etc.). Some in the group are also drawn to embracing the umbrella descriptor “political ecology” to describe the scope of our shared interests. We don’t care too much about being classified.

We are more or less a co-operative, non-hierarchical group set up to mentor one another and to share and advance our research programs, particularly through the production and dissemination of scholarly writing.


A map of Bay area showing the outlines of different regions overlaid with colours representing information.Urban Displacement Project

Primary Contact: Karen Chapple

The Urban Displacement Project (UDP) is a research and action initiative of the University of Toronto and the University of California Berkeley. UDP conducts community-centered, data-driven, applied research toward more equitable and inclusive futures for cities. Our research aims to understand and describe the nature of gentrification, displacement, and exclusion, and also to generate knowledge on how policy interventions and investment can support more equitable development.