Catherine Hepp

In April 2020, I joined the Watershed Science and Modelling Laboratory as an Industrial Postdoctoral Fellow through the Mitacs Accelerate Programme. In addition to being a member of the lab at the University of Alberta, I am also working with the not-for-profit, Food Water Wellness Foundation, and Dr. Gorzelak’s lab (Soil Microbiology) at the Lethbridge Research Centre at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The primary goal of the partnership is to quantify soil carbon levels under differing climate conditions and management practices across Alberta. The desired output is a soil carbon map and, using process-based modeling, predicted future levels due to e.g. climate change and management practices. Additionally, we would like to better understand the intricate relationships between soil carbon and other parameters ranging from pH, texture, microbial diversity to water infiltration, quality and flood risk. 

I obtained my MSc in Agricultural Development and my PhD in Soil Quality and Fertility from the University of Copenhagen. My background, up to now, is in studying both the environmental and socio-economic impacts of the intensification of low-input agricultural systems in the uplands of Southeast Asia. My research interests are: soil carbon and its role in overall soil quality; livelihood studies; and the impacts of development on both local and global food systems.