Mike Palmer is an environmental scientist with the GNWTs Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program who has been involved in multidisciplinary northern research for the last 10 years. Mike came north as a graduate student to study permafrost conditions across the ecological gradient of tree line in the Mackenzie Delta uplands. He planned on staying north for the duration of a research internship (4 months), but like many who came for a visit, he has now settled in Yellowknife and considers it home.
Much of his work involves working with communities and co-management boards to develop research and monitoring programs that help them make more informed decisions. Recent projects include working with the Ka’a’gee Tu First Nation and several university and government partners to investigate the cumulative impacts of upstream oil and gas development and climate change on lake ecosystems in the Tathlina Watershed. He is also working with the Yellowknives Dene to investigate the influence of 30+ years of vehicle traffic on the water quality of lakes along the Tibbitt-Contwoyto winter road. Most recently, he has begun collaborating with university partners to examine the nature, extent and fate of legacy contaminants around Yellowknife. Originally trained in permafrost studies, the multidisciplinary nature of many northern research questions has required him to expand his interests beyond frozen ground. Interestingly, permafrost often plays a central role to many of the processes being studied.