The Department of Geography and Environmental Studies offers programs of study leading to the degree of Master of Science. Subjects of research are in the natural and geographical information sciences, with substantive research clusters detailed below that provide critical mass for advanced inquiry.
By its nature, Physical Geography is an integrative science, bridging traditional disciplines such as biology, physics and chemistry to enhance our understanding of the natural world.
At Carleton University, the Department of Geography and Environmental Science places particular emphasis in exploring the biophysical aspects of cold regions. Professors with expertise in permafrost dynamics, hydrology, biogeography, climatology, biometeorology and geomorphology work together with graduate students to study fundamental and applied problems that are of compelling societal and scientific interest. Issues such as global climate change, water, energy and carbon cycling, vegetation and carbon dynamics associated with environmental change and management, landscape development, and human impacts on the environment are studied with particular emphasis on northern Canada.
In addition, local research projects are routinely undertaken that examine environmental issues pertinent to the Ottawa area such as forest disturbance and recovery, and wetland sustainability.
Research in remote sensing and geographic information systems is conducted within the contexts of methodological development and environmental analysis. Methodological development includes the evaluation and use of spectral, spatial and temporal data at scales ranging from local to regional for modelling and mapping vegetation composition, structure, and health in a variety of environments. Process-based environmental modelling of vegetated ecosystems, and supporting spatial analysis are also conducted, to develop understanding of ecosystem productivity at landscape scales in changing environments.
Examples of applications range from habitat and vegetation characterization and mapping to modelling biophysical systems, their diversity, and response to stresses such as severe ice storms and road development. Research is conducted in prairie grasslands, eastern temperate forests and wetlands. At the Masters level, there is a wide diversity of research topics that can be undertaken within these fields.
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