Graduate Students

Abigail Harrison, M.Sc. Student (Co-supervised with Dr. Mike Palmer, Aurora Research Institute)

Natural resource extraction has been an integral part of human development over the past century. However, in most cases resource extraction is accompanied by environmental degradation. My current research focuses on re-mobilization of aerially distributed arsenic pollution, a result of decades of gold mining, through snow melt and seasonal surface water runoff in the Pocket Lake catchment, Yellowknife NWT. This work will help to understand the transport of arsenic among surface layer soils into regional lakes and has the potential to inform local communities and potential future remediation efforts in the area. This work is particularly interesting in the face of ongoing climate change as northern seasonal patterns and environmental conditions continue to shift rapidly. 

I have a B.A. in Biology from Wellesley College. In the past I have conducted research in astrobiology, limnology, immunology, and astronomy. I’m excited to now be developing my research capabilities and knowledge in the fields of permafrost hydrology and geochemistry as a member of the FaBRECC lab!

Abigail Harrison in a canoe on a lake.


Erika Hille. Ph.D. Student (co-supervised with Dr. Scott Lamoureux)

My research focuses on how landscape, hydrologic, and climatic conditions influence the water quality of Arctic streams and rivers. More specifically, I am examining spatial variability in the seasonal hydrochemistry of four Arctic rivers situated in contrasting permafrost landscapes (coastal tundra, low arctic polygonal, ice glaciated marginal, forested interior plain). Three rivers are located in the Beaufort Delta Region. The fourth is located on Baffin Island, in the Eastern Arctic. This information will be used to develop a conceptual framework that characterizes the sensitivity and response of aquatic systems to permafrost thaw.

In addition to being a PhD student, I work at the Western Arctic Research Centre (WARC) in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. In my role at WARC, I spend a lot of time working with community members, government, Indigenous, and co-management organizations to develop research programs that are relevant to the people of the Beaufort-Delta region. As a vital resource, understanding and mitigating the effects of climate change on freshwater systems is consistently a research priority. It’s my hope that this research can be used by community leaders to make informed decisions about northern freshwater resources.

Erika Hille


Veronique Landriault, M.Sc. Student (co-supervised with Dr. Chris Omelon)

My research will focus on the impact of permafrost thaw on water quality and aquatic ecosystems in High Arctic rivers, and will try to understand how permafrost-derived nutrients (including carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous) in lakes and rivers, will impact aquatic food web dynamics and primary productivity in surface waters around Resolute, Nunavut.

With nitrogen and phosphorous being limiting nutrients in these oligotrophic environments, any addition of nutrients from climate-induced permafrost thaw stands to cause shifts in the primary productivity and food webs in these environments. 

This research is funded through research grants from ArcticNet and NSERC; and has as its core the aim to engage in collaborations with the community of Resolute Bay to develop baseline water and permafrost data to support local decision-making.

Veronique Landriault


Lee Nguyen, M.Sc. Student

Water quality and availability are critical in determining sources of drinking water. As climate change amplifies warming in the Arctic, surface water sources (rain and snow) and groundwater dynamics in permafrost regions are changing alongside it.

My research aims to identify and characterize potential groundwater fluxes in Iqaluit, Nunavut to better understand these subsurface processes, and how they are likely to impact water quality and seasonality and volume of surface runoff in rivers around Iqaluit.

Lee Nguyen


Cedelle Pereira, M.Sc. Student

My research focuses on understanding how landscape characteristics, permafrost disturbances, and hydrological processes control the transformation and transport of dissolved organic and dissolved inorganic carbon in High Arctic headwater streams.

In addition, my research aims to better comprehend how dissolved organic matter characteristics and composition vary with landscape cover. My work is situated at the Cape Bounty Arctic Watershed Observatory (CBAWO) on Melville Island, Nunavut.
I am hopeful that working at a long-term integrated research facility, will allow me to advance my research and analytical skills in order to provide quantitative information that will facilitate the development of watershed scale models that can be used to evaluate how changes in land cover types, hydrology and permafrost disturbance, influence carbon dynamics in surface waters.

Cedelle Pereira


I am an M.Sc. student with an interest in the carbon cycle in High Arctic environments . My research takes place at the Cape Bounty Arctic Watershed Observatory on Melville Island, Nunavut, where I focus on the carbon balance of wet sedge watersheds. I’m interested in measuring the total fluxes of carbon from these watersheds, both directly to the atmosphere and through streams. My fieldwork combines measurements of terrestrial greenhouse gas fluxes throughout the watershed and measurements of a variety of dissolved and particulate carbon species in streams. Ultimately, I want to understand in what forms carbon is being lost and how much is eventually released to the atmosphere as greenhouse gases. As they warm, High Arctic environments are rapidly changing and understanding the extent to which the carbon balance will be impacted is important to our predictions of future change.

Clara Schryer


Undergraduate Student Researchers

Grace Ayers, BSc.H. Student

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in Environmental Science. This summer, I had the opportunity to conduct fieldwork in Iqaluit alongside M.Sc. student Samuel Poirier and in collaboration with the Nunavut Research Institute. My undergraduate thesis uses data collected from various organic-rich surface water catchments in the Niaqunguk (Apex) watershed to determine how variable the geochemistry is between them. This research will be used to determine the controls that make these sites biogeochemically unique and applied to better our understanding of land-water interactions in the Arctic.

Selfie of Grace Ayers, standing in a shallow pool of water with visible large stones under approximately 10cm of water. Grace is wearing an olive green rain jacket with the hood pulled up and has a black toque underneath. Grace is holding a piece of equipment (a silver colored rod) just out of view on the left of the image. Grace is carrying a small black bag across their front.

Sydney Campbell, BSc.H. Student

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in Environmental Science, with a minor in Economics. I have received summer funding under the Queen’s University SWEP program, which is allowing me to conduct fieldwork, investigating the stream discharge and water chemistry in the Mecham, McMaster, and North rivers in Resolute Bay, Nunavut. My goal is to understand how dissolved metal and nutrient quantities change as permafrost thaws and the active layer deepens throughout the summer season across watersheds with a gradient of vegetation cover. This research will provide insights into the relationship between water chemistry, landscape, and active layer characteristics. Understanding the chemical relationship between water and landscape characteristics (vegetation cover) is critical for water governance and decision-making as vegetation cover, active layer depth and duration evolve with climate change. This research is funded by ArcticNet Network Centres of Excellence, Northern Scientific Training Program (NSTP) and NSERC grants.

Sydney Campbell


Chloe Earnshaw-Osler, BSc.H Student

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student specializing in environmental chemistry.  As a result of an NSERC summer USRA award, I was fortunate to work alongside MSc student, Lee Nguyen and in collaboration with student researchers and collaborators at the Nunavut Research Institute, as part of a research project funded by Polar Knowledge Canada, entitles “Partnership for understanding environmental change impacts on water security and water quality in Iqaluit, NU”. My undergraduate thesis research is investigating the dissolved metal concentrations in streams and groundwater in the Niaqunguk (Apex) river watershed. This data will be used to gain an understanding of how the transport of metals is influenced by land cover type and permafrost in this region.

Chloe Earnshaw-Osler


Past Members

Past Postdoctoral Fellows

Year Fellow Degree Research Title
2019 Dr. Joanne Heslop Robert Gilbert PDF Permafrost thaw and disturbance impacts on dissolved organic matter biogeochemistry and greenhouse gas production
2017 Dr. Julien Fouché PDF Distribution and characteristics of dissolved organic matter in permafrost
2013 Dr. Scott Montross PDF Control of geology and permafrost disturbance on aqueous geochemical signatures and microbial community composition
2010 Dr. Ted Lewis PDF Climatic and permafrost change impacts on fluvial sediment and solute loads

Past Graduate Students

Year Graduate Degree Research Title
2022 Nanor Momejian Ph.D. Controls on DOC flux in continuous permafrost watersheds
2021 Evan Koncewicz M.Sc.

Landscape controls on dissolved fluvial carbon concentration across High Arctic headwater streams.

2021 Karine Rioux M.Sc. Abrupt permafrost collapse by thermal erosion enhances carbon and solute exports
2020 Daniel Lamhonwah Ph.D. Hydrological and hydrochemical responses to thawing permafrost in the Canadian Arctic
2019 Matt Gilman M.Sc. Subsurface flow delivery to a small High Arctic river
2018 Gillian Thiel M.Sc. Dissolved organic matter lability in High Arctic pons and soils
2016 Elizabeth Kjikjerkovska M.Sc. Long-term hydroclimatic change and interannual variability in water sources, Apex River (Iqaluit), Baffin Island, Nunavut.
2014 Vivian Wasiuta Ph.D. Sulfur and reactive nitrogen deposited in the alpine of the Southern Canadian Rockies: quantification and assessment of the main factors influencing deposition
2014 Nicole Louiseize M.Sc. Impact of active layer detachments on seasonal dynamics of nitrogen export in High Arctic watersheds
2012 Erin Doxsey-Whitfield M.Sc. Magnitude and controls of microbial nitrate production in the streams and till of a glaciated alpine catchment, Canadian Rocky Mountains, Alberta
2010 Emil Laurin M.Sc. The impact of experimental snow augmentation on soil thermal regimes and nutrient fluxes from High Arctic headwater catchments
2008 Brock McCleod M.Sc. The Influence of Snowcover Distribution and Variable Melt Regimes on the Transport of Nutrients from Two High Arctic Watersheds

Past Undergraduate Student Researchers

Year Student Degree Research Title
2022 Chloe Earnshaw-Osler BScH ENSC Variation in dissolved metal concentrations in runoff from different surficial geologies in the Niaqunguk river, Iqaluit, NU
  Sydney Campbell BScH ENSC Landscape characteristics as controls on the spatial and seasonal variations in dissolved organic matter across watersheds near Resolute Bay, NU 
2021 Roslin Chen Co-op, U Ottawa Developing ultrafiltration methods for the size fractionation of dissolved organic matter 
  Sophie Perett BAH Sheffield UK Control of surface vegetation cover on dissolved organic matter optical characteristics in High Arctic watersheds
  Emma Bramley BAH Durham UK Long term and seasonal controls on trace metals in an Arctic watershed, Iqaluit NU
2020 Madeline Healey BScH GPHY Seasonal and landscape controls on inorganic N fluxes in High Arctic watersheds
2018 Hannah Boomer BScH GPHY Hydrochemical response of Arctic Lakes to climate variability, near Iqaluit NU
2016 Bridget Rusk BScH GPHY Characterization of the geochemical processes and importance of subsurface water input at the confluence of the Apex River, Iqaluit, NU.
  Gillian Thiel BScH ENSC Investigating seasonal hydrology and its relationship with microbiological indicators in the Apex River watershed (Iqaluit, Nunavut)
2015 Katie Burd BScH GPHY Examining the source and flux of organic matter in the Apex River, Nunavut
  Josh Papernick BScH GPHY The influence of permafrost disturbances and subsurface water sources on dissolved inorganic nitrogen in High Arctic Watersheds.
  Luke Steer BScH ENSC The effects of seasonality on runoff generation and stream water origin in the Apex River watershed
2014 Lily Chan BAH GPHY Nitrogen and dissolved organic matter composition in active layer soils affected by permafrost disturbances
2013 Krysten Rutherford BASc Seasonal hydrology and permafrost disturbance as controls on the composition of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in High Arctic headwater streams
2011 Heather Munro BASc Impact of active layer detachments on dissolved organic carbon in five High Arctic subcatchments