Researchers: Jordan Musetta-Lambert, PhD postdoctoral researcher (2018–present) with Joseph Culp (Laurier)
Wildfires are dominant natural disturbances in the boreal and will increasingly occur due to climate-driven intensification of droughts. Aquatic ecosystems are highly interconnected to adjacent terrestrial landscapes and, therefore, are sensitive to disturbances such as wildfire. My research focuses on understanding how wildfire alters ecological integrity within the Athabasca river and tributary streams in northern Alberta where the Horse River fire burned ~590,000 hectares in 2016. Due to oil sands development in this region, water quality, habitat and aquatic macroinvertebrate data has been collected since 2011. This data provides the unique opportunity to investigate the effects of wildfire on aquatic ecosystems using a before-after-control-impact design and to separate the effects of oil sands development from the confounding effects of wildfire to aid effective watershed management.
Researcher: Adam Kuhrt, MSc (2018–present)
Supervisor: Joseph Culp (Laurier)
My project aims to determine prey selectability exhibited by ninespine stickleback on benthic macroinvertebrates in Arctic streams of the Greiner Lake watershed in Nunavut. The methods I will use are CABIN protocol kick-nets at study sites to determine aquatic invertebrate community structure, as well as gut content and stable isotope analyses to determine prey selection. Statistics will be used to explore the significance of prey selectability carried out from a taxonomic and traits- based perspective. The research proposed here is part of a multi-thematic study with the aim of developing a multi-trophic understanding of food webs in the Greiner Lake watershed.
Researchers: Mikhail Mack, PhD Student (2017–present)
Supervisors: William Quinton (Laurier) and James McLaughlin (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry)
In peatland-dominated watersheds, fens often connect drier landforms, such as bogs, peat plateaus, and palsas, to incised drainage networks that carry water to the watershed outlet. The main objective of my research is to gain a better understanding of fen peatland hydrologic behaviour in the Hudson Bay Lowlands (Ontario, Canada) by describing their distribution along a north-south transect and quantifying the volume and timing of their runoff at two fen sites with contrasting surface water storage characteristics. The Hudson Bay Lowlands (HBL) ecoregion of central Canada is the world’s third-largest contiguous wetland complex (325,000 km2) of which 85% is classified as peatlands or mineral wetlands. Improved hydrologic models can be developed for the HBL by increasing our understanding of fen runoff characteristics. The provincial government and First Nation communities from this area are keen to understand the impact climate change will have on the water resources of the HBL.