About UAlberta's Augustana Campus


Greg King, PhD

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science

Augustana Campus


About Me

Ph.D. Climate Sciences, Universität Bern (Switzerland)
M.Sc. Physical Geography, Carleton University
B.Sc. Environmental Science, Carleton University

Brief Biography
Although born on the west coast of Canada (Victoria, BC), I consider myself Nova Scotia grown and call Cole Harbour home. I moved to Ottawa for my undergraduate degree (Carleton University) in environmental science and was able to pursue summer research opportunities investigating paleoecology and forest disturbance ecology in northern Canada. This led to studying for a master's degree at Carleton in geography and research on biogeography in the Northwest Territories. At this point my love for northern environments was well established, but with an opportunity to pursue a Ph.D. in Switzerland, it was an offer (and a lot of chocolate) I couldn’t turn down. I spent three and a half years in Zürich investigating tree growth dynamics in stunning alpine Swiss valleys. Upon returning to Canada I taught for two semesters as a part-time faculty member at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. In 2015 I joined the Department of Geography & Planning at Queen’s University as the Robert Gilbert Postdoctoral Fellow and called Kingston home. In this position I was able to re-establish work on vegetation change in northern Canada, continue collaboration with European colleagues and develop some new interests in urban forests. In January 2018 I started as an assistant professor of environmental science at Augustana and am very much looking forward to the opportunity to teaching at a liberal arts institution and calling another Canadian province home. Outside of the university you might catch me in my garden, on the ski trails, paddling a river or playing ultimate.


I have a broad set of research interests based around the topic of forest response to ecosystem change both contemporary and historical and within natural and urban environments. I am interested in combining different methods (crossing temporal scales from minutes to millennia) to bridge knowledge gaps and more completely understand forest response.

I am continuing to pursue several projects from previous positions that involve annual ring development (xylogenesis) and the response of northern forests across ecotones. Having worked at latitudinal treeline during my MSc and elevational treeline during my PhD, I am interested in investigating possible similarities and/or differences in response between these systems. These projects have been expanded to look at wider networks of species-specific responses to environmental change and to think about wider ecosystem implications of vegetation change.

I am currently exploring possibilities for different research topics at Augustana.


Teaching Philosophy
"And live in fascination...fascination forever"
                                                                      - Draw Us Lines, Constantines

My teaching philosophy is closely linked to my own experiences as a lifelong learner who wakes each day with a sense of fascination for the world. I have a desire to use my role as an occasion to connect with students and increase awareness of the world around them. My teaching experience has primarily involved environmental and physical science courses. I view natural science as a fundamentally hands-on, exploratory pursuit and I am excited to develop courses related to my own background in biogeography and forest ecology. I'm very interested in taking advantage of Augustana's new 3-11 semester structure to develop ideas for a field course that would provide an immersive, experiential learning opportunity.

Courses Taught
I have taught several geography and environmental studies courses at Mount Allison University and Queen's University. Courses that I have taught at Augustana include the following:

AUENV 233 - Soil Science and Soil Resources (W11 2018, W11 2020)
AUENV 220 - Solutions in Sustainability (F3 2018, W3 2019, W3 2020, next offering W3 2021)
AUGEO 351 - Biogeography (F11 2018)
AUGEO 251 - Climatology (W11 2019)

Upcoming Courses
I will be leading two new courses in 2020/21! In the Fall 3-week I will be teaching a Dendrochronology field course (AUIDS 387) based at the newly expanded Augustana Miquelon Lake Research Station and in the Winter 11-week I will be leading a 4th year seminar course on the Scientific Basis of Climate Change. If you have any questions about either course, please get in touch!