Researcher: Mariam El-Amine, MSc (2018–present)
Supervisor: Oliver Sonnentag, supervisor, Université de Montréal
This study will evaluate the impact of soil freeze-thaw cycle variations on the net carbon uptake period and the possible lagged effects on the annual net ecosystem productivity. Soil freeze-thaw cycles will be compared to the timing of phenological events to assess what indicator explains most of the variability of the net carbon uptake period. To evaluate spatial variability, results from sites at the southern limit of the boreal forest will be compared to the ones from the Scotty Creek site.
Researcher: Miriam Hurkuck, PhD Postdoctoral researcher (2017–18)
The project focuses on a better understanding of high-latitude carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes and their rapidly changing biotic and abiotic controls in response to increasing natural and anthropogenic pressures. The study area consists of a latitudinal climate (maritime, continental) and permafrost gradient (sporadic, discontinuous, continuous) in northwestern Canada. It includes ten high-latitude research sites across the southern Arctic ecozones in the NWT. This study explores the impact of permafrost thaw and associated wetland expansion on boreal forest carbon and water budgets as well as the relative importance of tree line advance in comparison to shrub proliferation on tundra carbon and energy budgets. This research will help to understand the resilience of high-latitude tundra and boreal forest to environmental changes from natural and anthropogenic pressure.
Researcher: Kathe Todd-Brown, PhD postdoctoral researcher (2018–present)
Although wetlands occupy only 4-6% of the earth’s land area, they are estimated to contain 20-25% of the world’s organic soil carbon, with the majority of this carbon stored in thick soils. Thus, while both forests and wetlands play important roles in global carbon cycling, the nature of their carbon stocks and sensitivities to disturbance and land use are likely to differ considerably. This project will estimate current forest and wetland carbon stocks and will develop methods by which future storage can be estimated for the NWT. This information will be useful for protected-areas planning in terms of assessing the potential impacts of climate change and land use on carbon stocks, potential approaches to mitigate these impacts, and the potential for enhancing carbon sequestration or long-term removal of greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. It will serve as a starting point for local communities, businesses, or governments to think about the potential for NWT-specific carbon mitigation projects in the future.