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Trent University Appoints Dr. Derek Mueller to Inaugural Roberta Bondar Fellowship in Northern and Polar Studies


Ice Shelf Expert and Trent Alumnus to Teach Environmental Change in the Arctic

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, Peterborough

Trent University is pleased to announce the appointment of polar scientist Dr. Derek Mueller to the first Roberta Bondar Fellowship in Northern and Polar Studies (RBFNPS) commencing on May 1.

Dr. Mueller got his start in polar research during his bachelor of science degree at Trent University where he studied the White Glacier on Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut. An expert polar scientist with both Arctic and Antarctic experience, his research explores the impacts of climate change to polar lakes, glaciers, ice shelves and sea ice as well as ice-dependent ecosystems.

“I’m looking forward to being at Trent again as my academic home,” said Dr. Mueller, who graduated from the University in 1996. “This will be a wonderful opportunity to get students excited about the significant changes going on in the Arctic, just like Trent inspired me.”

In 2002, Dr. Mueller discovered that the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf on Ellesmere Island had split into two halves and that a massive freshwater lake that was retained behind the shelf drained into the Arctic Ocean. Most recently, he has been working at the Geophysical Institute in Fairbanks, Alaska, where he used remote sensing to document the calving of the Ayles Ice Shelf and learn more about how climate change is impacting perennially ice-covered lakes.

“At a time when the Arctic is front and centre in the minds of Canadians, it is most fitting that this fellowship is awarded to a Trent alumnus,” said Dr. Bondar upon learning of Dr. Mueller’s appointment. “His research will enlighten the international scientific world, Trent, our community and our country.”

Before beginning his fellowship with Trent, Dr. Mueller is taking part in a two-week expedition to Nunavut as one of only three scientists accompanying the Canadian Rangers on their sovereignty patrols of the High Arctic. As part of International Polar Year, this research program will provide a comprehensive survey of the current characteristics and stability of the northern Ellesmere Island ice shelves, multiyear landfast sea ice, and aquatic microbial ecosystems. Further information about this expedition is available by clicking here.

The RBFNPS is a post-doctoral teaching and research award. The fellowship is supported entirely from funds generated by the endowment. Its purpose is to attract up-and-coming young northern scholars to Trent for the period of one academic year (8-12 months), in which they would participate in and bolster Northern Studies at Trent University through teaching, scholarship, and public lecturing.


For further information, please contact:
Dr. Derek Mueller in Yellowknife at (867) 873-0700 ext 6922.
Please note that Yellowknife, NWT, is in the Mountain Daylight Time Zone (two hours behind Eastern Daylight Time).

Professor Peter Lafleur, Geography Department, Trent University at (705) 748-1011, ext. 7487.