Brent Wolfe

Brent Wolfe

Department of Geography and Environmental Studies
Wilfrid Laurier University

Chair title

NSERC Northern Research Chair in Present and Past Hydro-ecology of the Mackenzie Basin Deltas

Chair program

Northern Research Chair Program


Associate Chairholder since 2002


The Mackenzie Basin Deltas (MBDs), which include the Peace-Athabasca Delta, Slave Delta, and Mackenzie Delta in northern Canada, have broad ecological and cultural significance and are ecosystems highly sensitive to prevailing climatic and hydrological conditions. Changing delta lake levels impact aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, wildlife habitat, and traditional First Nations communities that have a historical connection with the MBDs and their resources.

To address pressing concerns related to multiple stressors that may affect these internationally recognized ecosystems, research is being conducted to: 1) characterize contemporary hydrological and limnologic conditions; and 2) reconstruct 1,000-year hydro-ecological histories from lake sediment archives. Knowledge of present and past hydro-ecological variability is vital for effective industry-, government-, and community-based environmental stewardship of the MBDs. The research program builds on more than a decade of experience the Chair has gained from other collaborative paleolimnological investigations in the circumpolar Arctic and Subarctic, subtropical Andes, temperate regions of North America, and the Great Lakes of North America and East Africa.

MBD research is funded mainly by the NSERC Northern Research Chair Program, with significant support from provincial (Ontario Premier’s Research Excellence Award) and industrial (British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority) sources. Additional support is provided by federal programs (Polar Continental Shelf Project, Northern Scientific Training Program) and organizations (Water Resources Division of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, National Water Research Institute of Environment Canada, Wood Buffalo National Park of Canada), and local community groups (Fort Resolution Environmental Committee and Fort Resolution Deninu School, NWT).


  • British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority
  • National Water Research Institute of Environment Canada/Institut national de recherche sur les eaux, Environnement Canada
  • Water Resources Division, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development/Division des ressources hydriques, ministère des Affaires indiennes et du Nord
  • Wood Buffalo National Park of Canada/Parc national du Canada Wood Buffalo

Contact information

Department of Geography and Environmental Studies
Wilfrid Laurier University
75 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario
N2L 3C5

Tel.: 519-884-0710, ext. 3470
Fax: 519-725-1342


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