Kevin Turner

Department of Geography

Kevin Turner

  • Assistant Professor
  • Office: MC C330
  • Phone: 905-688-5550, ext. 5399
  • Email:
  • Twitter: @turner_kw

Research Program Summary:

Lakes and wetlands, which are abundant across northern landscapes, sustain ecological and cultural integrity and represent important components of hydrological and biogeochemical cycles. There is widespread evidence that these landscapes are experiencing differential responses to shifts climate and land cover.  To enhance our understanding of how these systems are changing, my research program integrates several approaches to identify drivers of hydroecological conditions over multiple spatial and temporal scales. Water chemistry and isotopic tracers from water sampling campaigns are used to evaluate differences in water balance and runoff generation processes among catchments. Remote sensing approaches are utilized to identify temporal patterns in catchment land cover characteristics, which are integrated with ground-based assessments of hydrology, active layer and tree ring data.  Historical context of landscape changes is complemented using paleolimnolgical analyses of lake sediment cores. Capturing evidence of past and present interactions among hydrological features, land cover and climate provide the basis to anticipate how important northern wetlands may respond in the future. Findings generated from this research program will serve to inform land management and adaptation strategies as these important landscapes continue to change. 

Some Background:

My background is in physical geography and geomatics. After earning a BSc at Trent Univeristy in physical geography and biology, I completed the post-graduate GIS (Application Specialist) program at Sir Sandford Fleming. I worked for five years as a GIS Specialist and Land Survey Manager for a geophysical exploration firm that focused on projects in remote US and Canadian locations. My research interests in northern water resources manifested during my graduate program at Wilfird Laurier University, when my fieldwork was concentrated in Old Crow Flats, Yukon. 

Key Words of Interest:

Hydrology, hydroecology, GIS, spatial analysis, remote sensing, water isotope tracers, biogeochemical cycling, paleolimnology

Courses I have taught or am currently teaching:

  • GEOG 2P12 Quantitative Research Design and Methodology
  • GEOG 3P04 Digital Mapping
  • GEOG 3P05 Geographic Information Systems
  • GEOG 3P95 Advanced Geographic Information Systems
  • SSAS 5P11 (0.5) Water Resource Economics, Management, and Governance
  • GEOG 5P03 Quantitative Analysis in Geography


Lantz TC and KW Turner. 2015. Increase in the frequency of catastrophic lake drainage in the Old Crow Flats, Yukon. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 120, 513-524, doi: 10.1002/2014JG002744.

Turner KW, BB Wolfe, TWD Edwards, TC Lantz, RI Hall, G Larocque.  2014.  Controls on water balance of shallow thermokarst lakes and their relations with catchment characteristics: a multi-year, landscape-scale assessment based on water isotope tracers and remote sensing in Old Crow Flats, Yukon (Canada).  Global Change Biology 20 (5): 1585-1603.

Turner KW, TWD Edwards , BB Wolfe.  2014.  Characterising runoff generation processes in a lake-rich thermokarst landscape (Old Crow Flats, Yukon, Canada) using δ18O, δ2H and d-excess measurements.  Permafrost and Periglacial Processes 25: 53-59.

Bouchard F, KW Turner, LA MacDonald, C Deakin, H White, N Farquharson, AS Medeiros, BB Wolfe, RI Hall, R Pienitz, TWD Edwards.  2013.  Vulnerability of shallow subarctic lakes to evaporate and desiccate when snowmelt runoff is low.  Geophysical Research Letters 40:  6112-6117.

Tondu JM, KW Turner, BB Wolfe, RI Hall, TWD Edwards, I McDonald.  2013.  Using water isotope tracers to develop the hydrological component of a long-term aquatic ecosystem monitoring program for a northern lake-rich landscape.  Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 45 (4):  594-614.

MacDonald LA, KW Turner, AM Balasubramaniam, BB Wolfe, RI Hall and JN Sweetman. 2012. Tracking hydrological responses of a thermokarst lake in the Old Crow Flats (Yukon Territory, Canada) to recent climate variability using aerial photos and paleolimnological methods. Hydrological Processes 26: 117-129.

Turner KW, BB Wolfe and TWD Edwards. 2010. Characterizing the role of hydrological processes on lake water balances in the Old Crow Flats, Yukon Territory, Canada, using water isotope tracers. Journal of Hydrology 386: 103-117.

Wolfe BB, MM Humphries, MFJ Pisaric, AM Balasubramaniam, CR Burn, L Chan, D Cooley, DG Froese, S Graupe, RI Hall, T Lantz, TJ Porter, P Roy-Leveillee, KW Turner, SD Wesche and M Williams. 2011. Environmental change and traditional use of the Old Crow Flats in northern Canada: An IPY opportunity to meet the challenges of the new northern research paradigm. Arctic 64: 127-135. 

Wolfe BB and KW Turner. 2008. Near-record precipitation causes rapid drainage of Zelma Lake, Old Crow Flats, northern Yukon Territory. Meridian Spring/Summer issue: 7-12.

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