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UTSC Prof sets sights on urban environmental issues in newly appointed position

In his new role as the TD Limited Term Professorship in Urban Forest Conservation and Biology, UTSC Associate Professor Marc Cadotte will get to tackle important urban environmental issues. (Photo by Ken Jones)

As the newly appointed TD Limited Term Professorship in Urban Forest Conservation and Biology, UTSC Associate Professor Marc Cadotte can’t wait to translate his passion and knowledge of urban ecosystems into tackling important environmental issues.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to further my research on urban environmental issues,” says Cadotte. “The ability to undertake larger research projects dealing with urban biodiversity and conservation will gather important insight on how urban ecosystems actually function.”     

Cadotte is an expert on the role different species play in maintaining ecosystem function in urban environments. His research looks specifically at how some species complement each other more than others and can contribute more to the overall health of an ecosystem. He also explores the role invasive species play in urban ecosystems.

Many of the research projects Cadotte plans to undertake will capitalize on UTSC’s proximity to the Rouge Park, a 47-square-kilometre ecological buffer zone within the City of Toronto. UTSC is the primary research and education partner with Parks Canada for the urban national park.  

“This position will push the boundaries of our understanding about how urban ecosystems function with Canada’s first national urban park as a living laboratory,” says Professor Malcolm Campbell, UTSC’s vice-principal of research. “UTSC has research strengths in both biological and environmental science and this professorship will also help train the next generation of experts in the field.”

In 2013, a $1 million donation from TD Bank Group to UTSC helped establish the professorship along with funding undergraduate and graduate students with research scholarships. The role allows Cadotte to focus on three key priorities in addition to research projects including undergraduate and graduate student training in the field of urban environmental and biological science as well as community outreach programs.

He’s already started programs with local elementary schools including a monarch butterfly tagging project and also plans to create an educational pollinator garden on the grounds of a local school. Cadotte says he plans to use these outreach programs as a way to engage local youth by getting them to look at nature in a different light.

“I’m passionate about discovering how different species contribute to ecosystems so the chance to share my knowledge and passion with local school children in a meaningful way is a tremendous opportunity.”  

© University of Toronto Scarborough