Photo of Murray Richardson

Murray Richardson

Associate Professor, Undergraduate Physical Geography and Geomatics Program Supervisor and Student Advisor

Degrees:B.Sc. (Trent University), M.Sc. (University of Toronto), Ph.D. (Toronto)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2574
Office:A329 Loeb Building


My research group conducts inter-disciplinary research in geomatics (e.g. Geographic Information Systems and remote sensing), physical hydrology and the biogeosciences.  We focus on the spatio-temporal characterization and modelling of lake, river and wetland hydrology at sites throughout several of Canada’s major ecoregions, including the Boreal Shield, the Hudson Bay lowlands and the Arctic tundra, as well as more local sites in central Ontario and the Ottawa-Gatineau region. Using targeted field observations and through the development and application of novel GIS, remote sensing and statistical/numerical modelling techniques, we strive to advance scientific/predictive understanding of hydrology, ecosystem processes and contaminant movement (especially mercury and other trace metals) in these landscapes.  Through our efforts we are able to quantify and document the varying responses and sensitivities of these processes to weather/climate, atmospheric pollution, and landscape disturbance, and their implications for freshwater environments.

I teach courses at all levels in the Department of Geography and Environmental studies, and supervise a team of graduate and undergraduate students. I also co-lead the recently funded Water and Ice Research Lab (WIRL) at Carleton, which specializes in field-data collection and geo-computation for water and ice research.  Finally, I work with government, industry, not-for-profit partners and community groups, and welcome new research opportunities and consultancies that fall within my broad areas of interest.

Research keywords

hydrology; water-quality; mercury; watershed ecosystems; limnology; GIS; remote sensing, geo-computation; digital terrain analysis; spatial statistics; ecohydrology;  LiDAR; DEMs, northern peatlands, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

Current or recent research activities/partners and funding agencies

  • Northern Contaminants Program, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (2014-2016) –  “Metal loading and retention in Arctic tundra lakes during spring snowmelt” with co-PI Jamal Shirley, Nunavut Research Institute
  • Canadian Foundation for Innovation Leaders Opportunity Fund – “Water and Ice Laboratory Infrastructure Grant” with co-PI Derek Mueller, Carleton University
  • Northern Contaminants Program, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (2013-2015) – “A latitudinal investigation of ecosystem sensitivity to methylmercury bioaccumulation in Arctic freshwaters” with co-PI John Chételat, Environment Canada
  • South Nation Conservation Authority (SNCA) and Eastern Ontario Water Resources Committee (EOWRC) – “Alfred bog hydrology study ”
  • NSERC Discovery Grant (2012-2017) –  “Water balance modelling in complex terrain: new approaches for Canada’s northern lowland and Precambrian Shield regions”
  • Canadian Water Network (2012-2015) – Managing cumulative effects in the Muskoka River Watershed: Monitoring, research and predictive modellingwith PI Catherine Eimers (Trent University), and 9 others 
  • Environment Canada Grant and Contribution Agreement (2012-2015) – “Techniques to map the sensitivity of aquatic ecosystems to atmospheric mercury pollution”
  • Canadian Space Agency (2012-2015) “C-SET: Cluster for Subarctic Ecosystems in Transition”  (with PI Bill, Quinton, UWO, and 7 others)
  • National Capital Commission (2012) – “Mercury in sportfish of Gatineau park lakes” (2012) 
  • Geological Survey of Canada (2012) – “Lake shape analysis of eastern Victorian Island, N.W.T. for surficial materials remote predictive mapping” 
  • Geological Survey of Canada (2011),  “Drainage Pattern Analysis to support SMART mapping in Northern Canada “ (January-April 2011) 

Community-based participatory research

  • First Nations Environmental Contaminants Program (Health Canada), A community-based monitoring study to establish baseline fish mercury and heavy metal concentrations in the traditional territory of Temagami First Nation (TFN), Ontario, Canada  (with co-leads Daisy Fannin, TFN, and John Millar, Tin Roof Global)
  • Health Canada First Nations Drinking Water Quality Monitoring Program (2013), “Shawanaga First Nation Community-Based  Source Water Protection Research Partnership” (with co-lead John Millar, Tin Roof Global)

2016 – 2017 Courses

  • GEOM 1004 Maps, Satellites and the Geospatial Revolution
  • GEOG 3000 Honours Field Course
  • GEOG 5002 Quantitative Analysis for Geographical Research


Millard, M., Richardson, M.C. 2013. “Wetland mapping with LiDAR derivatives, SAR decompositions and LiDAR-SAR fusion using a random forest classifier” Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing. 30(4), 1-18.

Zanatta, R. Carey, S.K., Richardson, M.C., 2013. “The influence of hyporheic exchange on reach-scale water budgets in a Precambrian shield catchment, Quebec, Canada”, Hydrological Processes.  27: DOI: 10.1002/hyp.9873

Graydon, J., St. Louis, V., Lindberg, S., Sandilands K., Rudd, J., Kelly, C., Harris, R., Tate., M., Krabbenhoft, D.P., Emmerton, C., Asmath, H., Richardson, M.C., 201 “The role of terrestrial vegetation in atmospheric mercury deposition: pools and fluxes of spike and ambient Hg from the METAALICUS experiment”, Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 26(1): GB1022

Whittington, P., Ketcheson, S., Price, J., Richardson, M.C., DiFebo, A., 2012″Areal differentiation of snow accumulation and melt between peatland types in the James Bay Lowlands”, Hydrological Processes. doi: 10.1002/hyp.9414

Richardson, M.C., Ketcheson, S., Whittington, P., Price, J. 2012. “Runoff generation in a northern peatland complex: the influences of catchment morphology and scale”, Hydrological Processes. 26(12): doi: 10.1002/hyp.9322

Richardson, M.C., 2011. “Contributions of streamflow variability, concentration discharge shifts and forested wetlands to terrestrial-aquatic solute fluxes in Precambrian Shield headwater catchments”,  Ecohydrology.  doi: 10.1002/eco.244

Oswald, C, Richardson, M.C., Branfireun, B.A., 2011. “Water storage dynamics and runoff response of a boreal shield headwater catchment”, Hydrological Processes. doi: 10.1002/hyp.8036

Richardson, M.C., Mitchell, C., Branfireun, B.A., Kolka, R., 2009. “Influence of topographic setting on the geomorphology and subsurface hydrochemistry of northern forested wetlands.  Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, 115, doi:10.1029/2009JG000972

Richardson, M.C.,  Fortin, M-J., Branfireun, B.A., 2009. “Hydrogeomorphic edge-detection and delineation of landscape functional units from LIDAR DEMs.”  Water Resources Research, 45, doi:10.1029/2008WR007518

Richardson, M.C., Branfireun, B.A., Robinson, V.B. and Graniero, P.A. 2007. “Towards simulating biogeochemical hotspots in the landscape: a geographic object-based approach.” Journal of Hydrology, 342, 97-109