Ph.D., Roberta Bondar Fellow in Northern and Polar Studies 

Department of Geography
Trent University
1600 West Bank Drive
Peterborough, ON, K9J 7B8

Phone: 1- (705) 748-1011 ext. 7153
Email: dmueller"at"

My research examines indicators and impacts of climate change in the cryosphere (the portion of the Earth influenced by ice and snow) as well as impacts of a warming climate on ice-dependent ecosystems. My current interests include remote sensing and change detection of sea and lake ice, and the response of northern hemisphere ice shelves to climate change. My research also focuses on the interaction between physical and biotic aspects of ecosystems. My experience in remote sensing, glaciology, microclimatology, limnology and ecology inform and broaden my research approach to include both physical and biological aspects of the environment.

I began my career in polar research during my undergraduate studies at Trent University where I conducted mass balance and differential GPS measurements on the White Glacier, Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut. I continued my glacier research in Antarctica and returned to the White Glacier for my M.Sc. research on cryoconite holes (small melt holes on the glacier surface) supervised by Wayne Pollard at McGill University. My Ph.D., supervised by Warwick Vincent, examined physical and biological aspects of cold-tolerant ecosystems associated with the ice shelves of Ellesmere Island. In 2002, I discovered that the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf on Ellesmere Island had split into two halves and that a massive freshwater lake that was retained behind the shelf had drained into the Arctic Ocean. I became interested in how climate is impacting ice shelves and completed two years of postdoctoral work at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (supervised by Martin Jeffries). I used synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and other remote sensing techniques to document the calving of the Ayles Ice Shelf in 2005 and other recent ice break-up events. Currently, I am the Roberta Bondar Fellow in Northern and Polar Studies at Trent University, where I continue to use SAR to examine how climate change is impacting the cryosphere. My work on Arctic ice shelves is ongoing and I am currently co-editing a book on the subject with Luke Copland. In April 2008, I completed a field expedition with the Canadian Rangers where we discovered further evidence of the disintegration of the Ellesmere ice shelves.


Vincent, A.C., Mueller, and Vincent, W.F. (2007) Simulated heat storage in a perennially ice-covered high Arctic lake: Sensitivity to climate change. Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans.113: C04036, doi:10.1029/2007JC004360.

Copland, L., Mueller, , and Weir, L. (2007) Rapid loss of the Ayles Ice Shelf, Ellesmere Island, Canada. Geophysical Research Letters 34: L21501, doi:10.1029/2007GL031809.

Mueller, D.R., Vincent, W.F. and Jeffries, M.O. 2006, Environmental gradients, fragmented habitats and microbiota of a northern ice shelf cryo-ecosystem, Ellesmere Island, Canada, Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research 38: 593-607.

Mueller, D.R. and Vincent, W.F. 2005. Microbial habitat dynamics and ablation control on the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf. Hydrological Processes 20: 857-876.

Mueller, D.R., Vincent, W.F., Bonilla, S., and Laurion, I. (2005) Extremotrophs, extremophiles and broadband pigmentation strategies in a high arctic ice shelf ecosystem. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 53: 73-87, doi:10.1016/j.femsec.2004.11.001.

Fountain, A.G., Tranter, M., Nylen, T.H., Lewis, K.J., and Mueller, D.R. (2004) Evolution of cryoconite holes and their contribution to melt-water runoff from glaciers in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Journal of Glaciology 50: 35-45.

Vincent, W.F., Mueller, D.R., and Bonilla, S. (2004) Ecosystems on ice: the microbial ecology of Markham Ice Shelf in the high Arctic. Cryobiology 48: 103-112, doi:10.1016/j.cryobiol.2004.01.006.

Vincent, W.F., Mueller, D.R., Van Hove, P., and Howard-Willams, C. (2004) Glacial periods on early Earth and implications for the evolution of life. In: Origins: Genesis, Evolution and Diversity of Life. Seckbach, J. (ed.), Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht, 481-501.

Mueller, D.R. and Pollard, W.H. (2004) Gradient analysis of cryoconite ecosystems from two polar glaciers. Polar Biology 27: 66-74, doi:10.1007/s00300-003-0580-2.

Mueller, D.R., Jeffries, M.O., and Vincent, W.F. (2003) Ice shelf break-up and ecosystem loss in the Canadian High Arctic. Eos, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union 84: 548,552.

Mueller, D.R., Vincent, W.F., and Jeffries, M.O. (2003) Break-up of the largest Arctic ice shelf and associated loss of an epishelf lake. Geophysical Research Letters 30: 2031, doi:10.1029/2003GL017931.

Mueller, D.R., Vincent, W.F., Pollard, W.H., and Fritsen, C.H. (2001) Glacial cryoconite ecosystems: A bipolar comparison of algal communities and habitats. Nova Hedwigia, Beiheft 123: 173-197.

Mueller, D. (1997) An investigation of the thermal properties of traditional snow shelters. Proceedings of the Eastern Snow Conference 54: 367-372.


Mueller, D.R. (2008) Book review of “Gerday, C. and Glansdorff, N., 2008. Physiology and Biochemistry of Extremophiles”. The Quarterly Review of Biology. 83(1): 116.

Vincent, W.F. and Mueller, D.R. (2007) Break-up and ecosystem loss at Canada’s Northern Coast. ArcticNet Newsletter. 2(1): 10-11.

Mueller, D.R. (2005) Structure et dynamique des cryo-écosystèmes: Plates-formes de glace nordiques. PhD Thesis, Département Biology, Université Laval, Québec. 169 pp.

Mueller, D.R. (2005) Book review of “Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment”. Écoscience: In press.

Mueller, D.R. (2005) Microbial Mats. In: Encyclopedia of the Arctic. Nuttall, M. (ed.), Routledge: New York, 1288-1289.

Vincent, W.F., Mueller, D.R., and Van Hove, P. (2004) Break-up and climate change at Canada's northern coast, Quttinirpaaq National Park. Meridian Spring/Summer 2004: 1-6.

Mueller, D.R. (2001) A bipolar comparison of glacial cryoconite ecosystems. MSc Thesis, Department of Geography, McGill University, Montreal. 129 pp.

Villeneuve, V. and Mueller, D. (2000) Life on Ice. Canadian Antarctic Research Network Newsletter 11: 1-3.

Mueller, D.R. (1996) An analysis of spatio-temporal Salix patterns in Jemis Lake, Alberta. BSc Thesis, Department of Biology and Geography, Trent University, Peterborough. 101 pp.