Cold Water Research
Aquatic ecosystem expert Kelly Munkittrick named Laurier’s executive director of cold regions and water initiatives
Waterloo A high-profile aquatic ecosystem expert has joined Wilfrid Laurier University to advance research initiatives, student training opportunities and knowledge mobilization in supporting Laurier’s growing commitment to cold regions and water science leadership.
Kelly Munkittrick (right) has been named Laurier’s executive director of cold regions and water initiatives, a newly created position. He will spend part of his time advancing Laurier’s partnership with the Government of the Northwest Territories, Laurier’s role within the Global Water Futures program, and other cold regions and water science initiatives throughout the university, including providing support for future strategic activities through the Laurier Institute for Water Science and Cold Regions Research Centre.
Munkittrick has also been appointed as a professor in Laurier’s Department of Biology, where he will also conduct research, teach, and perform additional academic service.
“I’m delighted to welcome Dr. Munkittrick to Laurier,” said Rob Gordon, Laurier’s vice-president research and acting provost. “He will be a great asset in providing strategic leadership in key areas of priority for Laurier and will also leverage his existing networks to develop and enhance meaningful partnerships locally, nationally and internationally. As a respected scientist, he will also significantly contribute to knowledge in aquatic ecosystem heath assessments.”
Munkittrick is coming from a role as director of monitoring and risk assessment for Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), based in Calgary. He was formerly Canada Research Chair (Tier I) in Ecosystem Health Assessment at the University of New Brunswick and scientific director of the Canadian Water Network. With Laurier President and Vice-Chancellor Deborah MacLatchy and others, Munkittrick co-founded the Canadian Rivers Institute (CRI), an organization with which a number of Laurier faculty members are currently affiliated. He also spent more than a decade as a research scientist with Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Munkittrick’s research is primarily field-based and focuses on measuring the responses of wild fishes to natural and anthropogenic stressors including pulp mills, oil refineries, oil sands operations, agriculture and municipalities. He examines the suitability of laboratory studies for predicting field effects and explores alternate approaches for detecting impacts. He has developed regional and national monitoring programs around the world and worked with governments to improve environmental assessment models.
With a PhD in aquatic toxicology from the University of Waterloo and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Guelph, Munkittrick feels at home in the region and has a history of working closely with Laurier researchers.
“I’m excited to be joining Laurier, where there is such a deep body of expertise in water science and cold regions research,” said Munkittrick. “I see many opportunities to further raise the profile of and advance Laurier’s leadership in these areas, as well as enhance student training.”
Munkittrick officially began his appointment at the start of the fall 2017 term.