Calder's research focuses on health and environmental impacts of energy and civil infrastructure interventions. Calder is particularly interested in developing methods to guide individual and policy decisions to manage risks to water resources and food systems. Calder's work creates quantitative models of coupled social-environmental systems with phenomena that span traditional academic disciplines. Beyond academic research, Calder has developed decision support tools for diverse entities such as the Province of Newfoundland & Labrador and the United States Army.
Finds nature-based adaptations to climate change are increasingly popular because they offer benefits not provided by dikes and levees (e.g., wetlands serve as ecological niches). Finds, however, decision-making around these environments is complicated because benefits accrue over different timescales and to different parties. Provides a framework to forecast and actualize uncertain future benefits and guide decision-making.
Describes decentralized (Canada) vs. centralized/federal (United States) drinking water regulatory systems and evaluates risks and benefits for each. Places calls by Canadian environmental activists for a stronger federal role in drinking water regulation in the context of Canadian cultural factors.
Notes food consumption advisories are a common policy response to control exposures to organic contaminants (such as mercury in fish). Finds that such advisories are likely to create, on average, more risks than they avoid in the context of mercury exposures from hydroelectric development among the Labrador Inuit.
Provides a transferable tool to estimate future maximum exposures to methylmercury resulting from hydroelectric development as a function of dietary characteristics, reservoir design and local conditions. Evaluates exposure risks among the Labrador Inuit in the context of local hydroelectric development.
Investigates, in the context of drinking water, the common industry claim that environmental regulations are getting increasingly strict as a result of improved analytical ability. Finds no evidence to support this claim and chart the history of drinking water regulation and re-regulation in the United States alongside the history of detection ability.