Research Day

 

research day

REGISTER FOR RESEARCH DAY 2017

Research Day 2017 - Wednesday, April 19

Join us for this annual event during earth week to hear about some of the research being conducted by faculty and graduate students of the School of the Environment. The 2017 program includes four research talks, followed by a presentation of graduate students' awards and refreshments.

LOCATION: Faculty Club, 2nd floor, 41 Willcocks St. (east of Spadina Ave., south of Bloor St. and north of College St.)

INFORMATION: For more information, please email c.bird@utoronto.ca.

 

DIRECTIONS VIA TTC AND PARKING:
Via TTC:  Willcocks street is three lights south of Spadina subway. Take 501 Spadina streetcar southbound.

Parking: metered parking on Willcocks St. or underground lot at 213 Huron St. (1 block east), north of College St.  
(Call 416-978-PARK or visit the 
parking website)

 

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Research Day
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
1:00 to 4:00 pm

 

RESEARCH DAY 2017 PROGRAM

ABSTRACTS AND BIOGRAPHIES ARE BELOW

 

1:00
KIMBERLY STRONG, Professor and Director, School of the Environment
Opening Remarks

1:15
COLUMBA GONZALEZ, PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology and School of the Environment, University of Toronto
Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) on Monarch Butterfly Conservation in the United States and Mexico

1:45
TERRI PETERS, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design and School of the Environment, University of Toronto
Superarchitecture: Building Better Health

2:15
ANASTASIA HERVAS, PhD Candidate, Geography and Planning and School of the Environment, University of Toronto
Implications of Smallholder Oil Palm Cultivation for Local Food Security: Study of Q'eqchi' Maya Households in the Lachuá Ecoregion, Guatemala

2:45
PAUL J. KUSHNER, PhD, Professor, Department of Physics; Graduate Faculty Member, School of the Environment, University of Toronto
Canadian Snow and Sea Ice: From Observations, to Models, to Predictions

3:15   PRESENTATION OF GRADUATE STUDENTS' AWARDS

3:45  REFRESHMENTS

 

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DIRECTIONS VIA TTC AND PARKING:

Via TTC:  Willcocks street is three lights south of Spadina subway. Take 501 Spadina streetcar southbound.

Parking: metered parking on Willcocks St. or underground lot at 213 Huron St. (1 block east), north of College St.  
(Call 416-978-PARK or visit 
http://www.transportation.utoronto.ca/parking/rates/)

 

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ABSTRACTS & SPEAKERS' BIOS:

 

Columba Gonzalez, PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology and School of the Environment, University of Toronto
Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) on Monarch Butterfly Conservation in the United States and Mexico

Abstract

This presentation synthesizes my findings on Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) related to monarch butterflies in the United States and Mexico gleaned from written and verbal sources. My analysis of these sources (160 in total) allowed me to categorize the types of ecological knowledge generated and possessed by the multiple indigenous groups that live along both the East and West Coast migratory routes of the butterfly. My findings indicate that these groups' knowledge about the butterfly and its habitats exist as part of, and in relation to, indigenous groups' connections to and experiences with the land within their territories. It suggests that TEK of monarchs and their habitats is at risk of disappearing if the groups' access to their traditional and consuetudinary uses of the land continues to be restricted and impeded. I elaborate on the difficulties tri-national conservation agencies may find in the implementation of recommendations that target the territory as a socio-natural category instead of working to preserve individual species in isolation.

Bio

Columba Gonzalez-Duarte is a Ph.D. candidate in sociocultural anthropology at the University of Toronto in the School of the Environment (Collaborative Program in Environmental Studies). Her doctoral thesis examines monarch butterfly conservation dynamics across the East Coast migratory route. Her work builds on critical conservation studies and post-humanities approaches to elaborate the ways in which humans and butterflies mutually constitute each other in this tri-national conservation corridor. Her recent contributions as a consultant for the Commission on Environment Cooperation explore the historical and present registers of Traditional Ecological Knowledge involving monarch butterflies in the indigenous communities that inhabit this corridor. Her findings illuminate the long-term relationship between the butterfly, its host plant, and the diverse array of humans that symbolically and materially interact with the plant and butterfly.

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Terri Peters, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design and School of the Environment, University of Toronto
Superarchitecture: Building Better Health

One of the most significant challenges in architectural research and practice is how to better define and evaluate sustainability in buildings and cities. In the past, this has meant ‘green architecture' focused on resource use and comparisons to benchmark buildings, but increasingly a more holistic approach and new metrics for evaluating sustainable buildings including ‘social sustainability' are gaining influence. Research has shown that buildings have the power to enhance people's health and emotional wellbeing, encourage physical activity, and help people be happier and more productive. This talk will reframe key issues in sustainable design research to focus on the human experience, drawing on the speaker's recent journal issue on architecture's role as the link between environmentally sustainable design and health promoting environments. This talk introduces the concept of superarchitecture, which are buildings that go beyond reducing energy use or mitigating the impacts of climate change to offer positive co-benefits of improved health and wellness for occupants, better environmental performance, and enriched architectural design such as innovative spatial experiences, enhanced community benefits, and additional amenities. The talk proposes a framework for social sustainability in architecture and ends with proposals for future research directions in net positive design for defining, measuring and evaluating a new generation of green architecture.

Bio

Terri Peters is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at University of Toronto whose work is supervised by Dr. Stephen Verderber at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design and Dr. John Robinson at the School of the Environment. Her research concentrates on sustainable architecture, in particular the human experience of green buildings, including cultural and architectural qualities, health and wellbeing, and new design tools for measuring and evaluating building performance. She is the editor of Architectural Design journal "Design For Health: Sustainable Approaches to Therapeutic Architecture" (March 2017) and author of Computing the Environment: Digital Design Tools for the Simulation and Visualisation of Sustainable Architecture (In Press, John Wiley and Sons). She holds a professional degree in architecture and is a registered architect in the UK where she worked professionally before undertaking her PhD. She received a fully funded five-year research fellowship to pursue a PhD in the sustainable renovation of Modern housing from the Danish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education, and earned a PhD from Aarhus Architecture School in Denmark in 2015.

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Anastasia Hervas, PhD Candidate, Geography and Planning and School of the Environment, University of Toronto
Implications of Smallholder Oil Palm Cultivation for Local Food Security: Study of Q'eqchi' Maya Households in the Lachuá Ecoregion, Guatemala

Abstract

Expansion of cash crop farming in developing countries is often advocated as a means of reducing rural poverty and increasing food security through improved purchasing power. In Guatemala, smallholder oil palm cultivation had been aggressively promoted by the state in some of the poorest regions of the country, with improved food security as one of the ostensible benefits. This study of two communities in the Lachuá Ecoregion challenges this narrative, showing that as a result of the introduction of oil palm into a community, household-level food security increases for only a small portion of the residents. On the other hand, staple crop cultivation appears to be much more important, especially for marginalized households and households that are excluded from oil palm employment.

Bio

Anastasia Hervas is a PhD candidate in the department of Geography and Planning and the School of the Environment at the University of Toronto. She is a primary investigator for the project examining the socio-ecological impacts of oil palm in the Lachuá Ecoregion in Guatemala, funded by the Canada-Latin America and the Caribbean Research Exchange Grant (LACREG) through the International Development Research Council (IDRC) of Canada.

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Paul J. Kushner, PhD, Professor, Department of Physics; Graduate Faculty Member, School of the Environment, University of Toronto
Canadian Snow and Sea Ice: From Observations, to Models, to Predictions

Abstract

The daily weather forecasts we count on for planning our work and leisure are part of a suite of environmental prediction tools that are available to predict climate over the coming weeks, the next season, the next decade, and the next century. What's the most effective way to develop these predictions, to test them, and ultimately to measure their utility? To approach these questions, I'll focus on the work of the Canadian Sea Ice and Snow Evolution Network (CanSISE, www.CanSISE.ca). CanSISE brings together researchers from across Canada to improve Canadian capacity to predict sea ice and snow over a wide range of timescales from the seasonal to the centennial.

Snow and sea ice research exemplifies the advantages of gathering researchers with different perspectives and scientific approaches, and observations from different sources, to develop better and more useful predictions of snow and sea ice. I will highlight through a couple of case studies recent progress we've made in CanSISE, and reflect on what the future might hold for snow and sea ice in Canada as a result of anthropogenic climate change.

Bio

Paul J. Kushner (Ph.D., Toronto, 1995) has been a Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Toronto since 2004. Kushner's research group uses computer models and theory to learn about the atmosphere's circulation and cold-climate processes. The group's current research projects explore climate variability from interannual to multidecadal scales, on what controls the jet streams and weather processes, on Arctic and high latitude processes (including linkages between snow cover, sea ice and circulation), and on how the stratosphere (the atmosphere above 10 km) is linked to the troposphere (the atmosphere below 10 km). He is the principal investigator of the Canadian Sea Ice and Snow Evolution Network (CanSISE, www.cansise.ca), a research network studying snow, sea ice and related climate processes in the Arctic and the Western Cordillera region of Canada.

 

RESEARCH DAY PRESENTATION SCHEDULE