People

David Olefeldt - PI

David is the Campus Alberta Innovates Program (CAIP) research chair in Wetland Restoration and Catchment Management at the Department of Renewable Resources at University of Alberta. Research interests include peatland biogeochemistry and catchment science, with a focus on peatland regions within the boreal and subarctic. Read abbreviated CV here.

Current Lab Members

Liam Heffernan - PhD Candidate

Liam's project focuses on the long term implications of permafrost thaw for peatland carbon storage and greenhouse gas balance. His project combines several research approaches, including peat stratigraphy and dating, soil flux measurements, and below-ground profiles of dissolved and gaseous carbon.

McKenzie Kuhn - PhD Candidate

Kenzie's thesis focuses on understanding the consequences of thermokarst lake expansions on the Taiga Plains in western Canada with regards to greenhouse gas emissions. She will contrast biogeochemistry in peatlands lakes with variable groundwater connectivity, and carry out lab incubations to understand potential for greenhouse gas production.

Emily Pugh - PhD Candidate

Emily studies water quality on the Boreal Plains in central Alberta, with a focus on both spatial and long term temporal variability in lake water chemistry. Her research helps us understand vulnerability of water quality and lake terrestrialization to both climate variability and human disturbances.

Julia Orlova - PhD Student

Julia studies the delivery of dissolved organic matter from forested catchments across Canada, with a focus on the boreal plains no central Alberta. Her focus is both on the variability in dissolved organic matter characteristics from different land cover types, and at different times of the year, but also links between these characteristics and metrics of water treatability for drinking water purposes.

Christopher Schulze - PhD Student

Christopher studies the greenhouse gas balance of boreal peatlands, to determine what the main influences of wildfire and permafrost thaw are at the landscape level. He has field studies focusing on nitrous oxide and methane emissions from various peatland types, and also runs eddy covariance measurements from two burned peatlands. Upscaling his field results by GIS techniques will help him to predict future changes in net radiative forcing on an ecozone scale.

Lauren Thompson - MSc student

Lauren studies the effects of peatland permafrost thaw on the mobilisation of mercury and methylated mercury, with fieldwork across permafrost zones from Inuvik to central Alberta.

Rebecca Frei - MSc Student

Rebecca studies impacts of peatland disturbances on the mobility of aged soil organic carbon, particularly in the form of dissolved organic matter to downstream ecosystems.

Taylor Cyr - Lab manager

Taylor is completing her undergraduate program at University of Alberta, while working as lab manager for the CAWS lab - with responsibilities for instrument maintenance, sample analysis, and organisation of both lab and field work.

Lorna Harris - Postdoctoral Researcher

Lorna studies effects of peatland disturbances on vegetation composition and greenhouse gas exchange, in order to understand successional trajectories of recovery following these disturbances.

Previous Lab Members

Cristian Estop-Aragones - Post-doctoral Researcher

Cristian's broad research interests are carbon cycling in permafrost regions and feedbacks to climate change, biogeochemistry of peatlands and belowground soil redox dynamics linked to hydrology. Cristian is an active member of the Permafrost Carbon Network, leading a synthesis effort on the use of 14C within the permafrost region.

Alexander Mertens - MSc student

Alex's project is aimed at understanding controls on lake water chemistry in low relief glaciated regions of Canada. He will be using data from thousands of synoptically collected lake and pond water samples along with landscape characteristics to create an overall generalized conceptual model that can be adapted to the range of lake physiographic settings across the Western Boreal Forest.

Carolyn Gibson - MSc student

Carolyn's MSc thesis focuses on understanding the role of fire on permafrost stability and carbon cycling on peat plateaus in the discontinuous permafrost zone. Her thesis combines remote sensing approaches and field data. She is co-supervised by Mike Flannigan.

Katheryn Burd - MSc student

Katie's project investigates the implications of fire and permafrost thaw in peatlands for the export and biodegradability of dissolved organic carbon (DOC). She is monitoring water quality at both burned and unburned catchments in southern Northwest Territories with state-of-the-art instrumentation for detecting rapid shifts in DOC concentrations and composition.