Research Highlights

++ project 1

Delineation of High Potential Habitat for the Newfoundland Marten (Martes americana atrata

The American marten in Newfoundland is designated under provincial and federal species at risk legislation. Dramatic population declines have resulted primarily from habitat loss and fragmentation, and from incidental mortality through trapping and snaring. The need for updated spatial distributions of critical and recovery habitats has been identified by the 2010 Newfoundland Marten Recovery Plan. This project developed a model which helps identify areas that likely should be considered high probability because of their proximity to areas of high marten potential.  This was achieved through three project components: Filter marten occurrence data for analysis and calculate descriptive statistics; apply researcher-established adjacency rules to filter home range sized cells that fulfill proximity requirements; and identify areas previously assigned low probability values and incorporate them into areas of high potential.


++ project 2

Site Suitability Mapping of Five Edible Mushroom Species in the Western Newfoundland Ecoregion

Presently, there is little published literature available regarding mushroom mapping in Newfoundland. Mapping out potential mushroom sites not only aid hobby mushroom pickers, but the analysis can also be used commercially. This project shows potential growing sites for select edible mushrooms according to Meades and Moores (1989) forest classification of the Western Newfoundland Ecoregion. Using a GIS site suitability model, a map of "suitability" values for the ecoregion was produced . The values were created from the input layers: forest age, crown closure, soil moisture, and species composition. Each location on the individual layers were reclassified to a common scale (0-3) to rank important growing conditions from lowest to highest. The higher the value for each location the greater the suitability.


++ project 3

Spatial Analysis of Erioderma pedicellatum Presence/Absence in a Ribbed Moraine Landscape of the Avalon 

Lichens are a combination of a fungus and an algae, and sometimes a cyanobacteria living together in a symbiotic relationship. Because lichens represent a partnership between different species, they are often sensitive to environmental changes and are often used as ecological indicators. The resultant gap analysis data from this project will be used to refine field research/data collection in the Halls Gully, NL area of interest. Describing the spatial structure and ecological context in which E. pedicellatum currently exists is important to better understanding its relationship to biophysical data; and to the eventual development of a spatial model that helps predict the presence of erioderma across diverse landscape types.


++ project 4

Sound Surface Mapping: A Case Study in Corner Brook, Newfoundland

Sound maps, an emerging artistic method, provide an interactive method to experience locations culture, beauty, and serenity without actually being there. However, the full potential of these maps have yet to be discovered. For instance, urban planners must take into account a location’s sonic environment as well as the intensity of sounds relative to that location before their job can begin.  Additionally, real estate clients that are looking to purchase property or a dwelling would also benefit from this service as it would allow them to witness firsthand the sounds and the intensity of these sounds present within neighbourhoods of interest. 

The purpose of this project was to create a sound mapping service of the city of Corner Brook, NL transformed into a sound intensity surface layer. Sound intensities were quantified and mapped to depict the spatial variations of the urban sounds.


++ project 5

Ktaqmkuk Mi’kmaq place names on the Island of Newfoundland, Canada

Throughout Mi’kma’ki (traditional Mi’kmaq lands), places were often named to describe landscape features, to aid in navigation, and to locate specific resources.  Names like Pilmuipke’katik (where mint grows along the brook) speak to a traditional way of naming lands and water features that was useful and practical for the people of the day. The Ktaqmkuk Place Names Project has been evolving since the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) first Traditional Use Study in 1999, and through subsequent TUS completed by both the FNI and Qalipu.  Recently, Qalipu partnered with the College of the North Atlantic and Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus to compile information into an interactive map which includes more than eighty place names collected from community members. 


++ project 5

Automating Watershed Delineation and Peak Stream Flow in Newfoundland for 25 Year Storm Cycles

The goal of this project was to assist in the process of water management in its direct relationship to forestry activities and resource road development. Completed for the Department of Transportation and Works, Forestry Engineering Division, the results alignin with their mandate to employ a semi-automated method to calculate stream discharge rates (m3/s) for stream crossing placement. The model provides a more efficient and accurate approach to calculating stream discharge, utilizing the use of Geographic Information Systems, spatial analysis, and automation via Python scripting language.


++ project 7

Development of Species Distribution Models for Introduced Anuran Species in Newfoundland

This project explores the potential species range shifts of four non-native amphibians (Order Anura) on the island of Newfoundland, based on current interpolated climate data, as well as future climate predictions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These four species are American Toad, Green Frog, Mink Frog, and Wood Frog. The report explores and analyzes the results of these models, looking at various variable contributions to each model, as well as identified areas of concern for each species on the island of Newfoundland currently, in 2050, and in 2070. Preliminary findings report waterbodies and coastal areas will be particularly susceptible to species range shifts in the coming 50 year period. Recommendations for future analysis and research into these range shifts are provided. 


++ project 8

Comparing Choropleth Mapping with Surface Interpolations in Mapping Labour Force Data in Canada

Socioeconomic data collected during Canadian censuses has traditionally been represented using choropleth maps with associated census boundaries. This analysis explores the inconsistencies in census boundaries and the effect those inconsistencies on choropleth accuracy. Surface interpolations using the census data and an ecumene boundary were used to explore an alternate way of presenting socioeconomic data. Various maps and animations were created using both methods to display change over time in labour force trends and then compared. This concluded that the ecumene interpolations are a more accurate and thus more suitable way to represent labour force data in Canada.


++ project 9

The Golden Years: The Potential Impacts of an Aging Population on Ambulance Services in Western Newfoundland

The healthcare system in Western Newfoundland is going to face many challenges in the years to come. Confronted with an aging population, emergency medical services such as ambulance transport are going to see a large increase in usage and a growing need for their services. The purpose of this study was to examine ambulance deployment data, as well as the reasons that the emergency transport was needed and the ages and genders of those that require the service. The results of these studies determine just how much of an impact the aging baby boomers are going to have on emergency transport within Western Newfoundland as well as a forecast of population trends within the next twenty years and the financial strain that the increased need for ambulance services will have on the Western Health.


++ project 10

Predicting Runoff Values in Grand Lake Watershed

Runoff, the movement over ground of rainwater and meltwater, occurs when rocks and soil reach their capacity and water can no longer be absorbed. Predicting the amount of runoff each year can be of great importance. This project will create a runoff predictive model for the Grand Lake Watershed. Using relevant variables from multiple datasets, a regression tree will be used to construct a geostatistical predictive model to accurately predict the average amount of runoff occurring each second. Variables such as temperature, precipitation, and maximum/minimum water content will be used as explanatory variables while historic runoff data will be used as the response variable.


++ project 11

Multivariate approach to modelling origins of migratory Silver-Haired Bats (Lasionycteris noctivagans) in North America

The annual migration of the Silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans) is well documented, but they are difficult to track and there is little known about their migratory movements. Stable hydrogen isotope investigations conducted on migratory silver-haired bats have shown likely areas of origin as spanning coast to coast. Using location data from museum specimens, collected during the time of fur replacement (20 June – 26 August), and cross examining with bio geoclimatic data, the accuracy and precision of stable hydrogen isotope models can be increased in order to narrow down a likely area of origin for individuals.


++ project 12

Examining Sydney Harbour Vessel Density (post-dredging) 2015, Nova Scotia  

Vessel density mapping assists in the visualization of how busy the harbour is, the busiest areas of the harbour, and to some degree, the impact that vessels may have on the harbour. Understanding vessel density was particularly important in the context of the 2012 Sydney Harbour dredge and subsequent HADD (Harmful Alteration, Disruption, and Destruction of fish habitats) compensation remediation sites. GIS analysis of over 50,000 vessel locations resulted in a series of maps indicating harbour, port, and shipping lane densities for 2015.