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Our Team

Led by Laurier researchers, Northern Water Futures is an interdisciplinary team made up of partners from across Canada including different institutions, organizations and communities working collaboratively to address water issues in the Northwest Territories.

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Principal Investigators

  • Jennifer Baltzer, Canada Research Chair in Forests and Global Change; Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Wilfrid Laurier University

Project Co-Investigators

Wilfrid Laurier University

  • Alison Blay-Palmer, Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) Chair in Sustainable Food Systems; Associate Professor, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • William Quinton, Director, Cold Regions Research Centre; Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Michael English, Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies
  • Derek Gray, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology
  • Deborah MacLatchy, President and Vice-Chancellor; Professor, Department of Biology
  • Philip Marsh, Canada Research Chair in Cold Regions Water Science; Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies
  • Jason Venkiteswaran, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies
  • Brent Wolfe, Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

McGill University

  • Jeff McKenzie, Associate Professor and Department Chair, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

University of Calgary

  • Masaki Hayashi, Canada Research Chair in Physical Hydrology; Professor, Department of Geoscience

University of Guelph

  • Merritt Turetsky, Canada Research Chair in Integrative Ecology; Associate Professor, Department of Integrative Biology

Université de Montréal

  • Oliver Sonnentag, Canada Research Chair in Atmospheric Biogeochemistry in High Latitudes; Assistant Professor, Department of Geography

University of Saskatchewan

  • Christopher Spence, Adjunct Professor, Department of Geography and Planning; Research Scientist, National Hydrology Research Centre, Environment and Climate Change Canada

University of Waterloo

  • James Craig, Canada Research Chair in Hydrologic Modeling and Analysis and Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Chris Derksen, Research Scientist - Cryosphere and Climate Interaction, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Adjunct Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies
  • Roland Hall, Professor, Department of Biology
  • Brian Laird, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health and Health Systems
  • David Rudolph, Professor and Chair, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Sherry Schiff, Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Kelly Skinner, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health and Health Systems
  • Heidi Swanson, University Research Chair; Assistant Professor, Department of Biology


  • Leon Andrew, Sahtú Renewable Resources Board/Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı
  • Aaron Berg, University of Guelph
  • Julia Boike, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research: Research Unit Potsdam
  • Simon Courtenay, University of Waterloo
  • Brian Branfireun, Western University
  • Joseph Culp, Wilfrid Laurier University, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Isabelle de Grandpré, Government of the Northwest Territories
  • Kevin Devito, University of Alberta
  • Jennifer Fresque-Baxter, Government of the Northwest Territories
  • Audrey Giles, University of Ottawa
  • Stephan Gruber, Carleton University
  • Steve Kokelj, Government of the Northwest Territories, Northwest Territories Geological Survey
  • George Low, Deh Cho Aboriginal Aquatic Resources and Oceans Management
  • James McLaughlin, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
  • Craig Scott, Ecology North
  • Rob Scincariol, Western University
  • Melaine Simba, Ka’a’gee Tu First Nation
  • Mark Servos, University of Waterloo
  • Sharon Smith, Natural Resources Canada
  • Suzanne Tank, University of Alberta
  • Stephen Wolfe, Natural Resources Canada
  • Sonia Wesche, University of Ottawa


Meghan works with the NWF team as the Project Manager. She was a Division One, NCAA, scholarship athlete in the sport of swimming at the University of South Carolina, where she studied both Marine Science and Public Health. She holds a MSc in Global Health, which focused on the impacts of offshore drilling on Canadian Arctic marine food security and is particularly interested in the adaptive capacity of health and food systems to climate change in the north. To this position, Meghan brings a wide range of research and project management experience, both in Canada and internationally, working with academic, non-governmental and consulting organizations.
  • Ryan Connon, GWF Senior Research Associate, Hydrometerology, Wilfrid Laurier University

Ryan works with the GWF team as a Research Associate in Hydrometeorology and is based out of the Yellowknife office. He completed his PhD in July, 2017 which examined changing runoff pathways in response to thawing permafrost, and how changing hydrological connectivity affects the basin water balance. Ryan is looking forward to working with NWF collaborators to further our understanding of the cycling and storage of water in permafrost catchments and to improve our predictive capacity in remote, ungauged basins.

  • Heather Dixon, GWF Research Associate, Biomonitoring, Wilfrid Laurier University

Heather moved from the UK to Canada in 2011 to pursue a PhD at the University of Waterloo, where she investigated Atlantic salmon marine feeding using stable isotopes and gut contents analyses. After completing her PhD, Heather worked at the Atlantic Salmon Federation in New Brunswick, researching Atlantic salmon survival during their migration to the ocean using acoustic telemetry. As the Research Associate in Biomonitoring in the Global Water Futures programme, Heather is looking forward to investigating contaminant levels and trophic interactions in the food webs of subarctic lakes in The Northwest Territories, and linking these with abiotic and biotic factors.

  • Ashley Rudy, GWF Research Associate, Permafrost, Wilfrid Laurier University

Ashley received her PhD from Queen’s University where she examined landscape patterns of permafrost degradation using a combination of field mapping, remote sensing and geospatial analyses. As the Permafrost Research Associate, Ashley’s work will investigate permafrost changes in key regions of the NWT and link observations to changes in climate, as well as infrastructure and resource development in order to understand permafrost landscape sensitivity.

  • Ana Sniderhan, GWF Research Associate, Ecosystem Resilience, Wilfrid Laurier University

Ana completed her PhD at Laurier, studying the growth dynamics of black spruce in northwestern boreal forests. Her research primarily used tree-ring records to determine how these iconic boreal trees have changed their growth patterns over recent history, but she also performed experiments with black spruce seedlings to help predict the resilience of the black spruce to a changing environment. As the Ecosystem Resilience Research Associate, Ana will continue to work on questions concerning the broader plant community and changes the terrestrial environment is facing in the Northwest Territories.

  • Andrew Spring, GWF Research Associate, Northern Canada Knowledge Networks, Wilfrid Laurier University

Andrew completed his PhD in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Laurier. Andrew’s research looks at food security and climate change in the Northwest Territories and is part of the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems. As the Research Associate, Northern Canada Knowledge Networks, Andrew’s work will focus on building a broad network of communities, NGOs, and government agencies in support of Laurier’s northern research initiatives and develop tools to effectively mobilize knowledge to stakeholders.

  • Anna Coles, NWF Postdoctoral Researcher, Wilfrid Laurier University

Anna, a physical geographer and hydrologist, is joining us from the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan, where her PhD research (2012-2016) focused on fundamental questions of snowmelt- and rainfall-runoff delivery on the Canadian Prairies, and her recent postdoctoral work (2016-2017) applied this understanding in the design of soil covers for mine reclamation in northern Alberta. Anna joined Northern Water Futures in October as a postdoctoral researcher in Subarctic Data Synthesis, based in Yellowknife. She will be working collaboratively on data sets from across the Northwest Territories to help understand the complexity of changes occurring in high latitude ecosystems.

  • Jennifer Hickman, GWF Research Associate, Water Quality, Wilfrid Laurier University

Based out of Laurier’s Yellowknife Research Office, Jennifer supports researchers studying the impact of environmental changes and resource development on water quality in the NWT. Hickman completed her MSc at Laurier studying the effects of changing subarctic peatland hydrology on discontinuous permafrost loss and dissolved organic matter quality and export. As a member of Laurier’s core GWF team, she presently works on hydrology and water quality related projects, one of which examines the hydrological mass balance of unregulated sub-basins in the Snare River watershed.

  • Gopal Saha, GWF Research Associate, Data Management, Wilfrid Laurier University

Gopal obtained his PhD in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies from the University of Northern British Columbia, where he investigated climate and land use changes impacts on groundwater-surface water interaction in the Kiskatinaw River Watershed, northeast British Columbia. As the Data Management Research Associate, Gopal’s will work with Laurier researchers to support all aspects of data management, analysis, policy, access and archiving for GWF projects.