soil texture graphic

Join Us

We have a broad scope of research interests and are not limited to specific organisms, systems, or approaches. Our focus is on pursuing important and intriguing questions, using diverse organisms, systems, and approaches to gain valuable insights. Our work revolves around EcoGastronomy, which recognizes the influence of human agency and ecological processes on food and drink.

We focus relationships linking ecological processes (soil to ecosystem) to product quality and identity and food system viability. Our research group covers both land and water environments.

Graduate Students

How to apply

Please feel free to contact me anytime. 

Be sure to include:

  • Your CV

  • Your academic transcripts (unofficial is fine)

  • A brief overview of the kind of research questions you wish to pursue – “I am passionate about conservation" is laudable but not helpful in determining if this lab is likely to be a good venue for your graduate degree.

Dr. John Volpe

School of Environmental Studies
David Turpin Building Room B156
University of Victoria
Victoria, BC Canada

+1 250 472 4298

Application Deadline

The main intake of MSc / MA and PhD students occurs each September with the application deadline being the previous January 15 (e.g. to begin in Sept 2023 the application deadline is nine months earlier – January 15 2023.

For numerous reasons the preferred start for graduate students is September each year, however under certain circumstances a January or April start is possible.


I do not accept graduate students without any personal contact.

It's important for both of us to make sure joining our group is a good fit. For this reason I do not take on students with no prior contact. Please reach out to me directly to discuss options. If we find there is a potential fit for you in our group, I will recommend you contact current and past grad students to learn more (a good idea no matter where you might apply).

I expect graduate students to be self-motivated and independent thinkers. I don't assign research projects; instead, students are encouraged to develop their own in collaboration with me and others. This approach has two benefits. Firstly, it prepares you for the challenging and rewarding nature of graduate work. Secondly, it allows you to take ownership of your project, leading to a more fulfilling and valuable experience. Therefore, it's important for potential students to have a rough idea of the research they want to pursue prior to contact.

My mentoring style is "hands off" and I provide support as needed. We thrive in an environment that values exploration and independence, rather than structure and predictability.

PhD vs MSc? 

Applicants with a BSc or BA are required to apply to our MSc / MA program. In some instances a student may change their program from a MSc/MA to a PhD however this is only undertaken in circumstances of exceptional student performance. An MSc or MA is necessary to apply directly to our PhD program.

Undergraduate Students

There are several unique opportunities available to undergraduate students who are passionate about ecogastronomy and the work of our research group. Those interested in getting involved are encouraged to explore the following programs:

To determine your eligibility and get started, contact Dr. John Volpe

Our graduate students and research collaborators are always in need of extra hands. See a project that interests you in Soil Ecology & Conservation or Food & Wine Identity? Contact the student lead to learn more about volunteer opportunities or Dr. Volpe for other opportunities.


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Ecogastronomy Research Group

I and my students use quantitative analyses of food and wine production systems to reveal linkages between ecological and social sustainability, “quality”, and the primacy of place … “Ecogastronomy”

Dr. John Volpe

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School of Environmental Studies
University of Victoria
V8W 2Y2
JPV Office - Turpin B156
EcoSoil Lab - Turpin B159
Sensory Lab - Turpin B161