Scientific and mathematical solutions to real world problems


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Dr. Leif Burge




PhD, McGill University

MSc, University of Calgary

BSc, University of Victoria




Dr. Burge is currently the chair of the department of Geography & Earth and Environmental Science at Okanagan College.  He came to Okanagan College in 2005 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto.  While in Toronto he worked on a large NSERC funded project investigating river channel erosion due to urbanization.  He completed his PhD in 2003 in the department of geography at McGill University where his thesis investigated the form and processes of multiple channel rivers. His master’s thesis investigated sand bedded river deposits.  He has been working on river based problems for 11 years and has worked in a number of environments throughout Canada. 


He has applied a number of numerical techniques to better understand complex river problems.  His work has taken him across Canada and has allowed him to collaborate with university, industry and government scientists.  His postdoctoral work involved the University of Toronto, University of Guelph, University of Western Ontario, the City of Toronto, Parish Geomorphic Consultants, and the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority.  His NSERC funded PhD project allowed him to work with a number of top scientists at McGill University and the University of Montreal where he gained analysis skills.  Dr. Derald Smith from the University of Calgary instilled curiosity and love for scientific inquiry that has remained.  


Dr. Burge is active in research and has given a number of presentations for local conservation groups, universities, and at conferences.  He has published a number of well received papers in international journals.  For example, Burge and Lapointe (2005) was the 9th most downloaded paper for all of Wiley’s 41 Earth and Environmental Sciences journals for September 2005, and Burge (2004) was the 24th most downloaded paper for the journal Geomorphology in 2005. 

Research interests


His research interests center on river stability, habitat and sediments.  His research into river stability began with understanding how the pattern of channels within multiple channel rivers remains stable through time.  His interest evolved into investigating stream channel erosion in unstable rivers due to urbanization.  This research has lead to the hypothesis that periodic or recurrent features on riverbeds affect river stability.  River stability impacts fish habitat and river management will be improved by understanding the causes of river instability. He is currently interested in employing cutting edge mathematical techniques to interrogate the theory related to riverbed stability and the factors that influence river channels.






Burge, L.M., (In review), Anabranching variability, Renous River, New Brunswick. Canada, Geomorphology.

Shugar, D., Kostaschuk, R., Ashmore, P., Desloges, D., and Burge, L.M. (In review) In-situ Jet-Testing of the Erosional Resistance of Cohesive Streambeds, Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering.

Burge, L.M., (2006), Wandering river island head diffluences (bifurcations): morphology and surface grain size patterns, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 31 10, pp. 1211-1226.

Burge, L.M., 2005, Wandering Miramichi rivers, New Brunswick. Canada, Geomorphology. 69, pp. 253-274.

Burge, L.M. and Lapointe, M.F., 2005, Understanding the temporal dynamics of the wandering Renous River, New Brunswick, Canada. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms.  30 10, pp. 1227-1250.

Burge, L.M., 2004, Testing links between river patterns and in-channel characteristics using MRPP and ANOVA. Geomorphology. 63 3-4, pp. 115-130.

Henry, K.A., Burge, L.M. and Nguyen, D., 2003, Testing differences between point patterns using GIS and bootstrapping. In: Lecture Notes in Computer Science. 2669. Springer-Verlag Heidelberg. pp. 33-42.

Burge, L.M. and Smith, D.G., 1999, Confined meandering river eddy accretions: sedimentology, channel geometry and depositional processes. In: N.D. Smith and J. Rogers (Editors), Fluvial Sedimentology VI, Special Publication of the International Association of Sedimentologists. 28. Blackwell Science. pp. 113-130.

Unpublished reports

Burge, L.M., 2000, Assessment of side-channel habitat and fish community structure, Little Southwest Miramichi River, New Brunswick.  A progress report for the Atlantic Salmon Federation. 13 pp.



Leif Burge