Current Research Projects
Paleolimnology of Northern Minnesota Lakes
The GeoSpatial Services of St. Mary’s University wants to know how healthy the lakes are on the reservation of the Leech Lake Band if Ojibway. We have taken gravity cores of a few lakes and seek to understand their paleo health using diatoms, pollen, and organic and inorganic material.
Past Research Projects
Carbon Accumulation Rates in Lake Sediment in Western Canada since 1860
We have established carbon accumulation rates in 19 lakes across western Canada using elemental analysis and coulomentry/acidification (by-difference) in the COPElab. In effort to explain the significant trends in accumulation rates since 1860 (extent of reliable Pb-210 dating), we have investigated explanatory variables from climate, lake morphology, and the surrounding landscape. My co-investigators are my senior supervisor Dr. Karen Kohfeld (SFU) and Dr. Marlow Pellatt (Parks Canada).
Holocene records of Carbon Accumulation Rates in the Kootenay and Beaverfoot Valleys of British Columbia
For two of the lakes determined to be comparable in the aforementioned project we were able to secure C14 dates to generate a Holocene (last ~10,000 years) record of carbon accumulation rates. To explain these long-term trends in accumulation rate we have also investigated fire frequency using charcoal analysis, vegetation change using palynology, volcanism using smear slide analysis, continuity using magnetic susceptibility, and a logging history using modern historical records. My co-investigators are my senior supervisor Dr. Karen Kohfeld (SFU) and Dr. Marlow Pellatt (Parks Canada).
Perspectives of Carbon Management in Canada’s Protected Areas
To determine if carbon data (like that generated from the two aforementioned projects) is usable to actual landscape managers we interviewed and surveyed protected area practitioners’ perspectives on carbon management. Building on two conferences and a choice modeling survey we set out to determine what carbon management measures are most practical and easiest to implement on the protected area landscape. My co-investigators are my senior supervisor Dr. Karen Kohfeld (SFU), supervisor Dr. Wolfgang Haider (SFU), and Dr. Marlow Pellatt (Parks Canada).
The most scientifically robust way to calculate lake sediment carbon accumulation rate is through the by-difference method as noted in the first current project. The major drawbacks to the by-difference method is the amount of laboratory time and money needed to run separate (and notoriously finicky) machines on the same sample. Loss-on-ignition offers an alternative, low-cost, method to determine carbon accumulation rates in lake sediments. The reasoning that loss-on-ignition isn’t more widely used is the need of a regionally dependent conversion factor. If a database can be created that can catalogue the existing loss-on-ignition data, regional, and perhaps more universal, conversion factor(s) can be ascertained. My co-investigators are my senior supervisor Dr. Karen Kohfeld (SFU) and Dr. Marlow Pellatt (Parks Canada).
Lake Sediment Carbon Storage on the Landscape
Currently, lake sediment and all inland waters are treated as passive conduits to the atmosphere in carbon models. To determine if lake sediment should be included in the Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Service (CBM-CFS-3) a known catchment area model scenario will be run against the same catchment area with lake sediment included. My co-investigators are my senior supervisor Dr. Karen Kohfeld (SFU) and Dr. Marlow Pellatt (Parks Canada).
Post Project Appraisals of Ecological Restoration Projects in Stoney Creek, British Columbia
An infamously neglected part of the ecological restoration process is determining functionality after the project is completed. Collaborating with active citizen monitoring groups around Stoney Creek, students of my EVSC 205 course -Applied Methods in Environmental Science were able to start a repository of appraising past ecological restoration projects. To determine what project interested them and what groups/individuals to initially contact in the community I created a series of videos stored in a companion repository. My co-investigator is Dr. Leah Bendell (SFU).
Development of a low-cost CO2 Efflux Sampler
One of the major losses of CO2 from a lake system is through gas exchange through the atmosphere (efflux). The major barriers to ascertaining rigorous data from efflux from a lake is that traditional gas samplers are expensive (>$25,000), are not suited for a lake environment, and need a long battery life. Working with a portable and low-cost (<$10,000) air-chamber gas sensor designed to work atop volcanos with a floatation device and re-calibrated for the air-chamber to be partially immersed in water. My co-investigators were my senior supervisor Dr. Karen Kohfeld (SFU) and Dr. Glyn Williams (SFU).
Evaluation of Ocean CO2 Injection as a means for reducing Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations
Using a series of Earth System Model (GENIE) experiments we injected an idealized pulse of CO2 in to the ocean to see the efficiency over a 1,000 year period. After adding physical, technological, and socio-environmental constraints, several sites were identified as possible injection sites. Costs for injection ranged from $75-1055USD and were found not to be competitive with other carbon sequestration options. My co-investigators were my senior supervisor Dr. Karen Kohfeld (SFU) and Dr. Andy Ridgewell (University of Bristol). Masters Thesis and Publication