Dan L. Johnson
Professor of Environmental Science

BSc: USask (Biology, High Hon.);
MSc, PhD: UBC, Dept of Plant Science, &
Institute of Animal Resource Ecology.

dan.johnson at uleth.ca

Member (- 2013) Alberta Environmental Appeals Board.

Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Grassland Ecosystems (- 2011)

C.V. Publications Biography

Department of Geography (Biogeography)
University of Lethbridge,
4401 University Drive W.
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada T1K 3M4.

Office WESB1020: (403) 329-2040, Students (403) 332-4047
Lab WESB1020 (403) 317-5056, Fax: (403) 332-4039.



Fall, 2012:

1) GEOG 2700, Geographical Data and Analysis, 05-Sep-12 to 07-Dec-12, Tu Th 09:25-10:40 C756.
NOTE: Course designation: Science.
PREREQUISITE(S): One of Geography 1000 or Environmental Science 2000, or permission of D. Johnson
Lab is required (1 or 2):
Geog 2700 Lab 1 13:40-14:55 AH148 Montain J
Geog 2700 Lab 2 Tu 12:15-13:30 AH148 Montain J

2) GEOG 2090, Biogeography, 05-Sep-12 to 07-Dec-12, Tu Th 12:15-13:30 C756.
NOTE: Course designation: Science.
PREREQUISITE(S): Geography 1000 AND One of Biology 1010 or Biology 1020, or permission of D. Johnson
EQUIVALENT: Geography 3090 (prior to 2010/2011)
Geog 2090 Lab, M 09:00-11:50 E620 Johnson D



Outreach: some recent articles in the Lethbridge Herald.

We created the "Public Professor" weekly column in cooperation with the editors of our city's paper to add to public understanding of academic work and thought, with our University as one example. Many topics are under consideration in a wide range of studies and disciplines at universities, colleges, institutes, and labs. We wanted to present some of that to the public. Because I am a natural scientist, I particularly value public understanding of, and participation in, science. When the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) formed to mark the Year of Science, I was pleased that Lethbridge was one of the "stars" on their map.

Example articles:

Healthy skepticism (a good thing)

Comment from Michael Shermer:


Use of energy, environmental science tools for archeology (volunteer research in Israel)

Early springs may be more common (with discussion of public participation in science)


Charles Darwin, the scientist who changed everything

Awards in education help students and promote new ideas (link here to the Patrick Chan Award
in Sustainable Agriculture)


The Department of Geography includes researchers and instructors in earth science, social geography, remote sensing, ecology, biogeography and agriculture, united by interests in landscape themes and spatial analysis.

Research, teaching and project topics:

Ecological agriculture (class and program proposed)

Current and recent courses taught:
Biogeography and biodiversity (GEOG2090)
Environmental Science, First Nations Transition Program (ENVS500)
Experimental design and data analysis (STAT3850)
Biomonitoring, biodiversity, ecological tolerances, and ecological change (ENVS4000)
Environmental safety for wildlife, soil, water and food (ENVS4000)

Previous: Agroecosystems; Geographic Information Systems I & II; Geographical Data Analysis

Environmentally compatible agriculture tools for North America, Africa, Asia
Environmentally sustainable pest management
; Environmental safety for soil and water
Entomology and Insect ecology; development, diversity, pathology; populations

Biopesticides as pest management alternatives in crop and grassland management

Ecology and biometeorology modelling and experimentation
Plant and animal ecology, movement and dynamics
Sustainability under changing climate and development
Threatened and endangered species; Invasive species
Alternative energy and waste management
Population modeling for environmental assessment and ecosystem health
Forecasting impacts of weather and climate on the distribution and abundance of life
Geographic Information Systems (previous)


Fall, 2012:

1) GEOG 2700, Geographical Data and Analysis, 05-Sep-12 to 07-Dec-12, Tu Th 09:25-10:40 C756.
NOTE: Course designation: Science.
PREREQUISITE(S): One of Geography 1000 or Environmental Science 2000, or permission of D. Johnson
Lab is required (1 or 2):
Geog 2700 Lab 1 13:40-14:55 AH148 Montain J
Geog 2700 Lab 2 Tu 12:15-13:30 AH148 Montain J

2) GEOG 2090, Biogeography, 05-Sep-12 to 07-Dec-12, Tu Th 12:15-13:30 C756.
NOTE: Course designation: Science.
PREREQUISITE(S): Geography 1000 AND One of Biology 1010 or Biology 1020, or permission of D. Johnson
EQUIVALENT: Geography 3090 (prior to 2010/2011)
Geog 2090 Lab, M 09:00-11:50 E620 Johnson D

Spring, 2012:
1) ENVS500. First Nations Transition Program, Environmental Science.

Text: Withgott, Jay and Scott Brennan. 2009. Essential Environment: The Science Behind the Stories, Third Edition. Pearson. Publisher: Benjamin Cummings. Plus assigned readings related to environment, science, related history, traditional knowledge, environmental management and ecology.

2) ENVS4000. Sustainable Development and the Environment.
No central textbook, but there will be required assigned readings from copies and textbooks placed on library reserve. Readings will include articles and book chapter excerpts topics in environment, environmental economics, ecological economics, environmental law, environmental justice, sustainable agriculture, sustainable resource utilization, sustainable cities, cases studies, regional topics, globalization, environmental modeling, environmental management, environmental impacts, forecasting, monitoring, and related topics.

Spring 2012
ENVS 4000: Environmental Science for majors "Sustainable Development and the Environment"
ENVS 500: Environmental Science for First Nations Transition Program

Fall 2011:
1) GEOG2090 Biogeography.
Lectures Tuesday and Thursday, 12:15-13:30, D631.
2) Lab Monday morning, 9-11:30, E620

Spring 2010
GEOG 2700, Geographical Data Analysis, Outline:
Biogeography section of GEOG1010
Student Independent Studies

Fall 2009
GEOG 2700, Geographical Data Analysis
Student Independent Studies

STAT3850, Design and Analysis of Experiments (undergraduate), Outline:

This is a new class. I chose this name to emphasize that it concerns not only analysis of data, but also the restrictions on randomization, and hypothesis contruction.

STAT5850, Design and Analysis of Experiments (graduate students), Outline:
STAT 3850 Lab and Tutorial
ENVS4000, Sustainable Development and the Environment, Outline:
Student Independent Studies

Spring, 2008
STAT3850, Design and Analysis of Experiments (undergraduate), Outline:
STAT5850, Design and Analysis of Experiments (graduate students), Outline:
STAT 3850 Lab and Tutorial
ENVS4000, Environmental Impacts, Outline:

Student Independent Studies

Fall, 2008
I will not be teaching Biogeography this fall (taking a break after a decade of teaching this class)

Student Independent Studies

Spring, 2007
ENVS4000, Impacts of Climate Change, Outline:

Student Independent Studies

Fall, 2007
GEOG 3850, Biogeography (and Methods in Biogeography Lab/Tutorial), Outline:

Student Independent Studies

Spring 2006
ENVS4000, Ecosystem Monitoring, Outline:
Fall, 2006
ENVS500, Environmental Science for the First Nations Transition Program
GEOG3850, Biogeography (and Methods in Biogeography Lab/Tutorial)

Spring 2005
ENVS4000, Agroecosystems, Outline:

Fall, 2005
ENVS500, Environmental Science for the Native Transition Program
GEOG3850, Biogeography (and Methods in Biogeography Lab/Tutorial)

Location: Alberta Water and Environmental Science Building (completed Nov, 2008)

The University of Lethbridge is in the Oldman River valley.

Post-doctoral Research Associate, 2010-2011: Dr. Xuedong Chen, (403) 332-4048

Current graduate student research:

Cara Adrain, Region-based Biomonitoring for Improved Environmental Management of Industrial Sites. In progress.

Rob Sonnenberg, The development of an aquatic community in a reclaimed alpine mine pit lake.
Funded by Alberta Conservation Association. Successfully defended.

Paul Irvine, Development of improved mathematical models of weather-related spring events, including insect emergence and development. Funded by AAFC Pesticide Risk Reduction Program, Pest Management Centre, Ottawa, and Pulse Canada. Successfully defended.

Chien Yang, Factors affecting rate and quantity of natural gas generated from urban waste, in collaboration with the City of Lethbridge Wastewater Treatment Plant. In progress.

Wonnita Andrus, Ecology and Conservation of Prairie Rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis viridis) in Relation to Movement in a Fragmented Urban Environment. Successfully defended.

Other previous MSc students:

Susan Entz ; Meg McCluskie ; Luke Powell (University of Guelph)

New Graduate Student Positions Open in 2010:

1. Insect pathology and biological control, for reductions in pesticide use
(related to a range of possible issues regarding development of biopesticides)
2. Grassland ecology and sustainability
(may include weather and climate; sustainable agriculture; water and soil quality and conservation)
3. Biomonitoring (

Technical support:

2009: Patrick Chan (pesticide risk reduction research)

2010-2012: Dr. Xuedong Chen

Current research topics in this lab:
- alternatives to pesticides, to protect soil and water, and provide alternatives for agriculture
- ecologically sustainable agriculture
- development of healthy ecosystems in coalmine pit lakes, and other water bodies
- aquatic insects and factors that affect them
- wastewater and environmentally sustainable applications
- sustainable grasslands (dry mixed grass, fescue, & montane environments)
- climate and future conditions in Alberta ecosystems
- threatened and invasive species
- statistical methods and ecological modeling


Biopesticide R&D program:

Summary; further details available on request.

Recent poster summary.
Johnson., D., Goodwin, M., Irvine, P., Kaminski, D., Byrne, J., Johnson, E., Hartley, S, and Olson, B. 2010. Sustainable management tools for growers: a made-in-Canada biopesticide option, combined with an early warning of risk, and accurate pest identification. Poster Presentation, Pulse Days 2010 (Jan 11-12, 2010, Saskatoon, SK).

Alberta Conservation Association
AAFC Pesticide Risk Reduction Program, Pest Management Centre
Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund
Canada Foundation for Innovation
Canada Research Chairs
Department of National Defence, Canada (environmentally sustainable grassland insect control)
Pulse Canada
Saskatchewan Pulse Growers









Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" was published on November 24, 1859.

Click here for a view of a model of the HMS Beagle that took Darwin around the world



Winners of the Darwin Day Poster Competition:

He Li and Adam Sarjeant





On Feb 15 evening (Wednesday), we will have a fairly informal birthday gathering to cheer Charles Darwin, and the continuing positive effects of his ideas for science, and for the good of humanity. We will display the winning posters, have birthday cake and other snackes, chat about Darwin-related things, and watch "Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life", by David Attenborough (BBC), and "The Genius of Charles Darwin", by Richard Dawkins. We do not have a speaker - we are meeting for birthday cake, to show the winning posters, and to see a video, if people are interested.

Free. All are welcome (but the space is a bit limited; we can hold 80 or so in a pinch).

Location: Galileo's Lounge, 2nd floor, on the north side, Student Union Building, University of Lethbridge

(this is not a bar-type lounge; it is just a sitting area, and all ages can attend)

(map pdf) , (another map)


Evening Travel Lecture at the Lethbridge Public Library:

"China Today", April 27, 2011, Poster

Link to poster image above

Library notice


Biogeography is the study of the distribution of living things on earth, with special attention to how those species and ecological communities came to be where they are, how they interact with each other and the landscape, and what their future might be. Science Alberta made this new career video related to an example of Biogeography and Biodiversity.

(Brent Bawel, Producer)




News for 2009... NASA: 2009 Second Warmest Year on Record; End of Warmest Decade.
2009 was the warmest year on record in the Southern Hemisphere.


News for 2010... 2010 Tied with 2005 for Warmest Year on Record say NOAA and NASA



MISC: Recent posts for student discussion

Canada in a Changing Climate:

Sauchyn, D., Kulshreshtha, S., Barrow, E., Blair, D., Byrne, J., Davidson, D., Diaz, P., Henderson, N., Johnson, D., Johnston, M., Kienzle, S., Klaver, J., Thorpe, J., and Wheaton, E. 2008. The Prairies; in From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate 2007, edited by D.S. Lemmen, F.J. Warren, J., Lacroix and E. Bush; Government of Canada, Ottawa, ON.

"Sun and climate have been going in opposite directions during the last 35 years of global warming."

Arguments against current climate change theory, vs. what the science says (John Cook)

Climate Data Sources: if the facts matter in your view of the situation

CO2 and climate: why is there a link?

Scientific American, November 30, 2009:
Seven Answers to Climate Contrarian Nonsense

Some interesting reading:

How much error did the "urban heat island effect" account for, in surface data records? How much of the climate warming conclusions were affected? It was one of the main arguments of the deniers. Find out here. (from John Cook at http://www.skepticalscience.com/)

More on the urban heat island effect.

New Scientist special series: Living in Denial.
When a sceptic isn't a sceptic
Why sensible people reject the truth
How corporations manufacture doubt

Who is a scientist, anyway?

The Known Universe (AMNH)

Are you interested in insects?

Mayfly hatch

Stick insect hatch

The Mating Game


I've proposed a new field course to this site:

Information on hiking to see the famous invertebrate fossils at the Burgess Shale.



Testing section, June 3, 2010

Test of new methods of displaying insect data for interested users.
Thanks to Guy Duke.

1) University-based ESRI Server

2) Google maps method


  News item: recommended book  

Climate Cover-Up.
The Crusade to Deny Global Warming

by James Hoggan, with Richard Littlemore



Climate Data Sources: do your own study here

A poster on Richard Littlemore's talk at the University of Lethbridge

Lawsuit by Tim Ball dropped




Example background for related class discussions


Example Photos from IRF Project #168, Assessment of Grassland Management and Restoration Practices on the Availability and Quality of Insects as Food for Grassland Species at Risk

Part 1: land, insects and methods
Part 2: examples of method used in the project
Part 3: general interest photos of insect prey being consumed

Species at risk summary: Burrowing Owl;
Recovery Team, and more about Burrowing Owls



USDA: ecotoxicology and environmental side effects of insecticides

Book available: Microbial control of grasshoppers and locusts.
Published by the Entomological Society of Canada.

Available on request.

At right, I'm holding an African grasshopper, Kraussaria angulifera (5th-instar female), killed by naturally occurring Sorosporella, a fungus.

This disease agent was common in northern Mali in 1989. I was there to conduct field tests with a protozoan biocontrol agent, Nosema locustae, but this fungus occurred naturally.


Recent endangered species survey:


Do you have Yucca plants in Canada that produced fruit this year or in previous years? Or, do you have Yucca that produced flowers and no fruit? Help our survey by sending the information to dan.johnson@uleth.ca. The Yucca plant (also called soapweed) is pollinated only by the Yucca moth. Alberta has a Recovery Plan for the Yucca moth. We would like to know whether they are distributed widely, and the best way is to map where Yucca produces fruit or not.

Some related good news: a pod showing evidence of pollination by the yucca moth was recently found at the Pinhorn Grazing Reserve:


Entomology resource material for interested members of the public

Broader research is underway to find ways to make agriculture and grassland management more environmentally sustainable. One way is to avoid the use of pesticides unless that are warranted.

Download a free copy of a photographic guide to grasshoppers, ,

prepared at the request of Pulse Canada, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada.

Spring Grasshopper Identification Guide

Are you looking for the page on " Recognizing grasshoppers" ?

or the Kids' grasshopper page: ?   





In memory of team member

Patrick Chan (1980-2009)


In memory of team member

Shane Clark (1973-2005)