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Postgraduate Seminar

Listings and abstracts of our regular DurhamARCTIC seminars, open to all postgraduate students and staff members.

Spring Seminar Series (2021)




Date: Monday

April 19th 2021


Time: 14.00 (UK)


Room: Zoom – links will be sent in the week prior, and on the morning of, the presentation.



Ellie Ward (DurhamArctic)


Predicting risk for populations of Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) to regional impacts from climate change


Climate change is now disrupting biodiversity from the scale of genes to entire ecosystems, impacting species physiology, morphology and phenology. In order to avoid extinction, species can (i) migrate to track preferred environmental conditions, (ii) respond by phenotypically plastic mechanisms or (iii) genetically adapt to new conditions. For many freshwater fish species, movement is restricted by physical barriers and they must adapt in situ to survive rapid environmental change. Local adaptation is key to species resilience but is frequently ignored from population vulnerability projections. Determining species at risk will require assessments of the relationship between local adaptation and climate indices, current and future levels of genetic variation and species exposure to climate selection. I will explore these issues in a highly cold-adapted fish, the Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus). Arctic charr are the most Northernly distributed freshwater fish, inhabiting regions that are disproportionately impacted by climate change. Their biogeographic range intersects that of many indigenous and non-indigenous communities for which they support Commercial, Recreation and Subsidence (CRS) fisheries and are of significant cultural value. I introduce an integrative approach to exploring the vulnerability of Arctic charr populations that combines quantitative analysis of both ecological and genomic processes.


Date: Monday

April 26th 2021


Time: 14.00 (UK)


Room: Zoom - links will be sent in the week prior, and on the morning of, the presentation.



Paul Burgum (DurhamArctic)


Resilience in Arctic Environments: Temporary Workers 


This project aims to investigate if psychological resilience in both temporary and permanent Polar populations can be explained by universal psychological constructs.  The ecological-transactional model (ETM) proposes that to understand resilience, factors must be considered on numerous levels; individual (e.g., coping, personality traits), microsystem (e.g., family), exosystem (e.g., community), and macrosystem (e.g., society and culture). However, current literature on resilience in polar regions has predominately focused on only a single level within a single group. For example, literature on polar endurance athletes and temporary workers predominately focusing on the individual difference level (e.g., personality, coping). Whilst, in contrast, work with Indigenous groups focused on wider level factors such as impact on culture (Macro). Due to this, the range of factors proposed to support resilience is diverse. However, the potential for a more parsimonious explanation could be offered by Basic Psychological Needs Theory. This theory proposes that human well-being can be linked to the satisfaction of three basic psychological needs, competence, relatedness, and autonomy. Furthermore, consistent with ETM these can be affected at different levels from the individual to the cultural and thus, allowing meaningful comparisons across Polar groups to be investigated. This presentation will outline the planned first study which is focused on temporary populations for discussion.





Date: Monday

May 10th 2021


Time: 14.00 (UK)


Room: Zoom - links will be sent in the week prior, and on the morning of, the presentation.



Danae Kontou (DurhamArctic)


Mapmaking in Social Sciences for everyone


Ever thought "Ah, I would love to have this specific map to present" or "It would be great to have a map with me on my fieldwork" or "Ah! I just need something very simple, I can't find it ready, so I will not put anything on my presentation even if I am talking about places!"?


A tiny mapmaking workshop might help you! (even if you never so far wanted a map!)


"Mapmaking in Social Sciences for everyone" workshop will be a short introduction to simple map-making using simple tools (analogue and digital). Starting from hand-drawn mental maps and direction-giving sketches to generate minimal base maps to use as additional material when on fieldwork, and finally some hints on easily visualizing quantitative and qualitative spatial data.

And most importantly! No drawing skills required!


Date: Monday

May 24th 2021


Time: 14.00 (UK)


Room: Zoom


Beth Gillie (DurhamArctic)


Biodiversity colonisation of the Arctic under climate change


Climate is changing rapidly across the Arctic region, as well as across lower northern latitudes. As a consequence, there are widespread expectations that species from temperate regions will move into Arctic ecosystems in the near future, and such changes are already being observed. The impact of such changes on the ecology of the Arctic remains relatively little studied. Using species distribution models, my research aims to assess the potential for the Arctic to be invaded by novel species and the potential for novel assemblages to form. I will explore the impacts of projected changes on Arctic ecosystems, focusing on key species and habitats and will evaluate the consequent human impacts of such changes. During my talk, I will give a brief summary of my project, aims and research so far. I will talk through the first round of ecological models I’ve been working on and discuss preliminary results.



If you have any questions, please contact Eric Boyd –