Permafrost Polygons

Aquatic organic matter

As part of my postdoc with Howie Epstein at UVA, Iā€™m joining a project that aims to understand how the physical degradation and stabilization of permafrost polygons interacts with carbon and nitrogen cycling. In summer 2019, I will be collecting data on the composition, quantity, and lability of aquatic organic matter, from ice wedges, pore water, and surface waters in northern Alaska. This will complement ongoing efforts to understand carbon and nitrogen dynamics in soils and vegetation.

Stable isotopes

As ice wedges thaw, land subsides low-centered permafrost polygons with ponds shift to high-centered ponds, surrounded by troughs of water. I am analyzing stable isotope data of terrestrial vegetation and soils (particularly the active layer), to understand how this process might impact processes like water use efficiency, plant functional types, and microbial activity.