[Photo of Dr. Ian Strachan]

Dr. Ian Strachan


Associate Head, Geography Undergraduate Programs

Department of Geography and Planning



Mackintosh-Corry Hall, Room D126

People Directory Affiliation Category

I grew up in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough but enjoyed escaping the city when possible. I began my academic journey at the University of Toronto where I studied Physical Geography. I traveled down the 401 to Kingston where I earned MSc and PhD degrees in micrometeorology at Queen's University. I then went up the 416 to Ottawa, completing post-doctoral research combining remote sensing and measurements of greenhouse gas exchange at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. My journey next took me east along the 417/A40 to McGill where I spent 20 years in the Departments of Natural Resource Sciences and Geography. During my final 10 years at McGill, I served as the founding Associate Dean (Graduate Education) for the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. I am excited to be returning ‘home’ and continuing my academic journey at Queen’s.

As the late Neil Peart wrote: "The point of a journey is not to arrive"

•    BSc Physical Geography, University of Toronto
•    MSc Micrometeorology, Queen’s University
•    PhD Micrometeorology, Queen’s University


Research Interests:
My research program aims to develop understanding of the biophysical controls on C exchange in managed and human-modified systems. This needs to encompass the natural heterogeneity that exists across a variety of spatial and temporal scales; understanding ecosystem-level exchange requires an exploration of the mechanisms at smaller scales. 
There remain important gaps in understanding of the fundamental processes of C exchange that inhibit our ability to explain for example, spatially integrated measurements or the basic functions that drive the exchange of C in models. This gap in scientific knowledge is acute when we attempt to determine accurate C exchange in land covers like wetlands that are particularly sensitive to environmental changes. 
My group’s current research is focused on the production, transport and fate of carbon in freshwater marsh ecosystems and on the controls on carbon exchange in actively harvested and restored peatlands. This latter research is done in conjunction with industry partners across Canada.
My research is field-based and employs a variety of techniques for quantification of ecosystem-scale greenhouse gas exchange including eddy covariance.

Curriculum Vitae (pdf, 230kB)