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Evan Edinger

Department of Geography
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's, NL
A1B 3X9

Office: SN 1044
Tel: (709) 864-3233
Fax: (709) 864-3119

E mail: eedinger[at]

Dr. Evan Edinger is an associate professor in Geography and Biology, and cross-appointed to Earth Sciences. Prior to joining Memorial, he taught at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, and did a post-doctoal fellowship at Laurentian University in Northern Ontario. His major research interests centre around coral reefs and environmental impacts on them, the paleoecology of fossil coral reefs, and the biogeography and conservation of deep-sea corals. Additional research interests include the impacts of mining on reefs and other marine environments, marine protected area design, and marine habitat mapping.

Dr. Edinger obtained his PhD from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, where he studied the impacts of land-based pollution on Indonesian coral reefs. He joined the faculty at Memorial in 2001.

Current Research Projects

  • Distribution patterns of deep sea corals in Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • Fisheries impacts on deep-sea corals in Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • Growth rates and longevity of deep-sea corals; paleoceanographic records in deep-sea coral skeletons.
  • Surficial geology of deep-sea coral habitat.
  • Marine habitat mapping in coastal waters of Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • Climate change impacts in the Canadian Arctic.
  • Paleoecology of Holocene age (Quaternary) coral reefs, Papua New Guinea.
  • Paleoecology of Devonian reefs, Arctic Canada.
  • Environmental and oceanographic records from coral skeletons.


Teaching Interests

I am jointly appointed in Geography and Biology, and cross-appointed to Earth Sciences, and I teach courses in all three departments. My teaching interests span physical and environmental aspects of geography, biology, and earth sciences. Courses I have taught at Memorial include Introductory Geography II (Geog 1011), Physical Geography (Geog 2102), Natural Resources (Geog 2425), Geography of the Seas (Geog 3510), Biology for Earth Science students (Biol 2120), The Aquatic Environment field course at the Bonne Bay Marine Station (Bio 3710 field), Paleontology (Earth Sciences/Biology 3811), Conservation (Geog/Biol 4650), Biogeography and Systematics (Bio 4505), and Coastal Geomorphology (Geog 4190), and graduate courses in both geography and biology. I supervise graduate students in Geography, Biology, Earth Sciences, and Environmental Science.


Course Links

Biology 2120 - Biology for Earth Sciences.

Geography 2425 - Natural Resources.

Geography 3226 - Advanced field methods.

Geography 3510 - Geography of the Seas.

Geography 4190 - Coastal Geomorphology

Biology/Geography 4650 - Conservation in Biology

Geography/Biology/Earth Sciences 3811 - Paleontology.


Research Interests

My research interests focus mainly around corals and coral reefs, both modern and ancient, and both tropical and temperate (deep-sea). Coral reefs are subject to a variety of stresses, including pollution, sedimentation, overfishing, and climate change. My research involves disentangling the effects of different kinds of stressors, using bioindicators, reef surveys, and sediment and coral geochemistry. Current projects on tropical corals include a submarine mine tailings disposal site in Sulawesi, Indonesia, and nearby reefs subject to other stresses, including mercury pollution from artisanal (small-scale) mining.

Deep-sea corals are an important component of deep-sea ecosystems in Newfoundland and Labrador. Working with DFO and fisheries observers, we are documenting coral distribution based on records in bycatch, both from DFO survey trawls and commercial fisheries monitored by observers. In 2007, we completed the first-ever ROV mission to study deep-sea corals in Newfoundland waters.

Deep-sea corals are long-lived organisms that can archive records of oceanographic change in their skeletons. We are describing the growth rates and longevities of a variety of deep-sea coral species from Newfoundland and Labrador waters using growth rings are radiocarbon ages. In addition, we are exploring the use of skeletal trace-element geochemistry of deep-sea corals as an oceanographic monitor.

This research is closely related to new research on benthic habitat mapping in Newfoundland waters using multibeam bathymetry, and ground-truthed using grab samples, towed camera surveys, and SCUBA surveys.

Finally, fossil coral reefs have played an important role in marine biodiversity throughout Earth history. I participate in several group projects on fossil reef paleoecology, including Devonian reefs of Arctic Canada and Pleistocene-Holocene reefs of Papua New Guinea. These projects aim to understand the environmental constraints on the growth of these fossil reefs, their community paleoecology, their modes of fossilization, and how the limits on preservation affect interpretations such as Quaternary sea-level curves.


Selected Publications