Nipissing professor named Canada Research Chair in Climate and Environmental Change

North Bay, ON – Yesterday, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced an investment of more than $139 million to support 176 new and renewed Canada Research Chairs across Canada. Nipissing University is pleased to congratulate Dr. Colin McCarter who has been named Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Climate and Environmental Change and the recipient of $600,000 in funding. McCarter is an Assistant Professor cross-appointed in the Department of Geography and the Department of Biology and Chemistry in the Faculty of Arts and Science at Nipissing University.  

McCarter's CRC research involves understanding how the cumulative impacts of unprecedented climate mediated (e.g., wildfire, drought, warming) and environmental (e.g., mining, urbanization, forestry) disturbances impact water quality. His research will also examine changes in key northern water quality indicators, such as mercury and heavy metals, before, during, and after disturbances. McCarter will use a process-based approach to understand how future disturbances may impact shared water resources.  

Dr. Colin McCarter
Dr. Colin McCarter

“My fascination with water and wetlands stems from playing in streams and canoeing through Algonquin Provincial Park as a kid and a teenager,” shared McCarter. 

After starting university, McCarter quickly learned of the significant pressures on water resources and wetlands and began to understand the complex physical, chemical and biological processes that interact to support ecosystems.  

“While understanding the processes and interactions was intellectually stimulating, I found myself gravitating towards applying this new-found knowledge to wetlands and waterways,” he said. “I would say I am pretty lucky that I get to study in the same ecosystems that played such a formative role in my youth.”  

Canada’s Boreal and mixed forests have historically had water resources, but there are significant pressures impacting these resources. 

As our climate warms, it is predicted that some disturbances, such as wildfires, will become more severe. The understanding of how these disturbances interact to impact the provision of clean drinking water in Boreal Canada remains an unanswered question and has been identified nationally as a research priority. This region is home to 2.7 million people, including 600 Indigenous communities, and is a significant contributor to Canada’s economy. 

“The Canada Research Chairs Program remains at the centre of a national strategy to ensure Canada's role as a global leader in research and innovation,” said Ted Hewitt, Chair, Canada Research Chairs Steering Committee and President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. “This latest investment ensures we are continuing to attract and retain a diverse cadre of world-class academics who consistently demonstrate their commitment to excellence in research and training at postsecondary institutions right across this country.”  

To support field-based science, McCarter will establish the Mercury and Ecohydrology Research Laboratory at Nipissing University.  

McCarter is currently recruiting students to work in the Mercury & Ecohydrology Laboratory at Nipissing University and wants to hear from anyone who shares the same love for wetlands and waterways. Those interested can contact Colin at colinmcc@nipissingu.ca.  

To learn more about Dr. Colin McCarter and his research, visit https://www.nipissingu.ca/users/colin-mccarter or follow him on Twitter (@Colin_PRM). 

The Canada Research Chairs Program invests up to $311 million per year to attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds. Chairholders aim to achieve research excellence in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences. 

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Carly Johnston 
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Nipissing University 
(705) 474-3450 ext. 4035 
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