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Joan Bunbury

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Geography & Environmental Science
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

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Joan Bunbury Pronouns: she/her/hers


Geography & Environmental Science

Specialty area(s)

Paleoclimatology, biogeography, freshwater environments

Brief biography

There is no place I would rather be than on a lake. I consider myself very lucky to be able to combine my favourite place with the research that I do. At UWL, I work closely with undergraduate students to investigate how climate change and anthropogenic activities have impacted freshwater environments recently and in the past. As a physical geographer, my knowledge spans different fields, so if you are interested in contributing to research focused on aquatic ecosystems, I may have an opportunity for you; please feel free to contact me.

Current courses at UWL

GEO 101 Earth Environments
GEO 401 Focus on Geography and Environmental Science: A Capstone Course
GEO 428 Past Environmental Change


2009 Ph.D. Geography, University of Ottawa


Teaching history

FYS 100 First Year Seminar - Ice Age Wisconsin
GEO 200 Conservation of Global Environments
GEO 211 Global Climate Change
GEO 340 Polar Environments
GEO 425 Biogeography
GEO 428 Past Environmental Change
GEO 488 Spatial Data Analysis

Professional history

2021-present Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Science, UW-La Crosse
2013-present Member, River Studies Center, UW-La Crosse
2017-2021 Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Science, UW-La Crosse
2012-2017 Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Science, UW-La Crosse
2011-2012 Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Toronto
2009-2011 Post-doctoral Fellow, Center for Global Change Science, University of Toronto

Research and publishing

I currently have two research projects underway in the region:

1. Understanding the effects of environmental change on the ancient community of Aztalan, south-central Wisconsin. Collaborator: Samuel Munoz, Northeastern University
2. Hydroclimatic change since the last glacial period inferred from lake sediments, Upper Midwest, USA. Collaborator: Colin Belby, Geography and Environmental Science, UWL

Publications (*undergraduate student co-authors)

17. Bunbury, J., *Fisher, R. G., *Blumenstein, T. 2019. Anthropogenic and climate change impacts on lake-water chemistry over the past 20 years, Upper Midwest, United States. Physical Geography 41:433-450.

16. Latitudinal limits to the predicted increase of the peatland carbon sink with warming. 2018. Gallego-Sala, A.V. and 74 others, including Bunbury, J. Nature Climate Change 8:907-913.

15. Towards a Holarctic synthesis of peatland testate amoeba ecology: development of a new continental-scale palaeohydrological transfer function for North America and comparison to European data. 2018. Amesbury, M.J., Booth, R.K., Roland, T.P., Bunbury, J., Clifford, M.J., Charman, D.J., Elliot, S., Finkelstein, S., Garneau, M., Hughes, P.D.M., Lamarre, A., Loisel, J., Mackay, H., Magnan, G., Markel, E.R., Mitchell, E.A.D., Payne, R.J., Pelletier, N., Roe, H., Sullivan, M. E., Swindles, G.T., Talbot, J., van Bellen, S., Warner, B.G. Quaternary Science Reviews 201:483-500.

14. Hargan, K.E., Rühland, K.M., Paterson, A.M., Holmquist, J., MacDonald, G.M., Bunbury, J., Finkelstein, S.A., Smol, J.P. 2015. Long-term successional changes in peatlands of the Hudson Bay Lowlands, Canada inferred from the ecological dynamics of multiple proxies. The Holocene 25: 92-107.

13. Finkelstein, S.A., Bunbury, J., Gajewski, K., Wolfe, A.P., Adams, J.K. and Devlin, J.E. 2014. Evaluating diatom-derived Holocene pH reconstructions for arctic lakes using an expanded 171-lake training set. Journal of Quaternary Science 29:249-260.

12. O’Reilly, B.C., Finkelstein, S.A., Bunbury, J. 2014. Pollen-derived paleovegetation reconstruction and long-term carbon accumulation at a fen site in the Attawapiskat River watershed, Hudson Bay Lowlands, Canada. Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research 46:6-18.

11. Gajewski, K., Bunbury, J., Ayotte, N., and Vetter, M. 2014. Paleoenvironmental studies in the
southwest Yukon. Arctic. KLRS 50th Anniversary Issue: 1-13.

10. Loisel, J., Yu, Z., Beilman, D.W., Camill, P., Alm, J., Amesbury, M.J., Anderson, D., Andersson, B., Barber, K., Belyea, L.R., Bochicchio, C., Bunbury, J., Chambers, F.M., Charman, D.J., De Vleeschouwer, F., Fialkiewicz-Koziel, B., Finkelstein, S.A., Galka, M., Garneau, M., Hammarlund, D., Hinchcliffe, W., Holmquist, J., Hughes, P., Jones, M.C., Klein, E.S., Kokfelt, U., Korhola, A., Kuhry, P., Lamarre, A., Lamentowicz, M., Large, D., Lavoie, M., MacDonald, G., Magnan, G., Mäkilä, M., Mallon, G., Mathijssen, P., Mauquoy, D., McCarroll, J., Moore, T.R., Nichols, J., O’Reilly, B., Oksanen, P., Packalen, M., Peteet, D., Richard, P.J.H., Robinson, S., Ronkanien, T., Rundgren, M., Sannel, A.B.K., Tarnocai, C., Thom, T., Tuittila, E.-S., Turetsky, M., Väliranta, M., van der Linden, M., van Geel, B., van Bellen, S., Vitt, D., Zhao, Y., Zhou, W. 2014. A database and synthesis of northern peatland soil properties and Holocene carbon and nitrogen accumulation. The Holocene 24: 1028-1042.

9. Bunbury, J. and Gajewski, K. 2013. Effects of the White River ash event on aquatic environments, southwest Yukon Territory, Canada. Arctic 66: 17-31.

8. Bunbury, J., Finkelstein, S.A., and Bollmann, J. 2012. A testate amoeba record of Holocene hydro-climatic change from a peat bog in the Attawapiskat River watershed, Hudson Bay Lowlands, Canada. Quaternary Research 78: 275-284.

7. Bunbury, J. and Gajewski, K. 2012. Temperatures of the past 2000 years inferred from lake sediments, southwest Yukon Territory, Canada. Quaternary Research 77: 355-367.

6. Bunbury, J. 2012 Distribution of freshwater ostracods in the Canadian North and implications for palaeoclimate reconstructions. In: Ostracoda as proxies for Quaternary climate change, Horne, D.J., Holmes, J., Viehberg, F. and Rodriguez-Lazaro, J. (eds.), Developments in Quaternary Science, Elsevier, pp. 117-129.

5. Bunbury, J. and Gajewski, K. 2009. Postglacial climates inferred from a lake at treeline, southwest Yukon Territory, Canada. Quaternary Science Reviews 28: 354-369.

4. Bunbury, J. and Gajewski, K. 2009. Biogeography of freshwater ostracodes in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Arctic 62: 324-332.  

3. Viau, A., Gajewski, K., Sawada, M.C. and Bunbury, J. 2008. Low- and high-frequency climate variability in Eastern Beringia during the past 25 000 years. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 45: 1435-1453.

2. Bunbury, J. and Gajewski, K. 2008. Does a one point sample adequately characterize the lake environment for paleoenvironmental calibration studies? Journal of Paleolimnology 39: 511-531.

1. Bunbury, J. and Gajewski, K. 2005. Quantitative analysis of freshwater ostracodes in the southwestern Yukon Territory, Canada. Hydrobiologia 545: 117-128.