Research Group

Some present opportunities to join our group

I do not tend to have a very large group size, mostly because of the high costs of northern research, and that I like to work closely with students and commit sufficient resources to do a project well.  You can read through some of the past student projects below to get a sense of the range of things that I tend to encourage students to pursue.  It’s unusual that I will have more than one or two graduate positions available in any given year.  However, if you are competitive for scholarships or have significant experience carrying out research than I’m happy to discuss potential projects with you.  At the moment, most of my research is focused on upper Mackenzie basin, the area from the lower Athabasca valley to the central Mackenzie valley, though I do have several projects going on in the Yukon where the majority of my research has taken place.
In 2019, we will be opening the Permafrost Archives Science Laboratory (PACS Lab) which is an ice-core styled lab focused on Permafrost characterization and analyses of permafrost-preserved records for a variety of applications.  This is a state-of-the-art lab (see News) that will have many opportunities for novel projects related to permafrost science.

I encourage students to develop their own projects- the main caveat being that it must fit broadly within the goals. and be consistent with the funding, I have available. But contact me if you think you might be interested. Be aware, however, right now my group is near capacity- that makes it harder to find a spot, but not impossible…

Philanthropist I have an immediate opening for a generous philanthropist. If perhaps you started a social networking site in your dorm room, held some critical smart phone patents, or perhaps invested heavily in gold, we have ideas for those dollars – just ask.



Sophie Norris – PhD – Reconstructing the patterns and dynamics of the late Wisconsian Laurentide Ice Sheet deglaciation in NW Saskatchewan and NE Alberta.

Joseph Young – PhD – Quaternary reconstruction of Lake Mackenzie, Mackenzie valley, NWT

Alireza Saidi-Mehrabad  (co-supervised with Brian Lanoil- based in Biological Sciences).  Microbial community changes across the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary from relict permafrost

Ben Stoker  (co-supervised with Martin Margold, Charles University, Prague- based at Charles University).  Laurentide Ice Sheet dynamics in the central Mackenzie valley

Tyler Murchie (co-supervised with Hendrik Poinar, McMaster University- based at McMaster).  Ancient Environmental DNA

Casey Buchanan – MSc Thesis Student – Novel characterization of Active Layer processes.

Jordan Harvey – MSc Thesis Student (co-supervised with Britta Jensen)  Cryptotephra and dating of Yukon lakes

Katrina Neill, (BSc. Thesis) Stable isotopes and plant and insect macrofossils of the Pleistocene-Holocene transition from relict permafrost. Present Position: Student, University of Alberta

Allison Rubin (BSc. Thesis) Quaternary geomorphology of glacial lake Edmonton from LiDAR Present Position: Student, University of Alberta

Alejandro Alvarez (BSc. Thesis) Characterization and dating of Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway permafrost cores. Present Position: Student, University of Alberta




Martin Margold (2015-2018)  Cosmogenic dating of Laurentide Ice Sheet dynamics. Present position: Assistant Professor, Charles University, Prague

Trevor Porter  (2012-2014)  Water isotope reconstructions of late Cenozoic climate.  Present position: Assistant Professor, University of Toronto

Fabrice Calmels  (2007-2012) Permafrost resilience and response to historic disturbances.  Present position: Research Association Northern Climate Exchange Centre, Yukon College

Svetlana Kuzmina (2007-2012) Fossil insects from Beringian sedimentary environments.  Present position:  Private research consultant on fossil insects (Europe and Russian Arctic)

Stephen Kuehn (PDF 2007-2009) Electron microprobe development for tephrochronology applications.  Concord University, WV.


Robin Woywitka (PhD 2018) Geoarchaeology of the Oilsands Region, NE Alberta.  Present position: Cultural Land Use Analyst at Government of Alberta, Edmonton.

Lauren Davies  (PhD 2018)  Toward a cryptotephra framework for northwestern North America.  Present position: Post Doctoral Researcher at the University of Alberta under the supervision of Dr. Britta Jensen, Edmonton.

Derek Turner (PhD 2014) Stratigraphy of SW Yukon Quaternary sediments.  (co-supervised with Brent Ward, Simon Fraser University).  Present position: Instructor, Douglas College, British Columbia

Britta Jensen (PhD 2012)  Tephrochronology of Middle Pleistocene to Holocene sediments in Yukon and Alaska.  Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Edmonton.

Alberto Reyes (PhD 2010)  Stratigraphy, chronology and paleoenvironmental significance of perenially frozen interglacial sediments in eastern Beringia.Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Edmonton.

Grant Zazula (PhD/PDF 2006)- Paleoecology of Pleistocene Beringian Arctic Ground Squirrel nests.  Grant was based at SFU Biology for his PhD but worked closely with me through his dissertation and a brief PDF at University of Alberta. Now Yukon Paleontologist, Government of Yukon, Whitehorse, Yukon.

MSc. (Primary Supervisor)

Joseph Young (MSc 2018) Sedimentology and Stratigraphy of the lower Athabasca valley, NE Alberta:  Present position: PhD candidate at the University of Alberta, Edmonton.

Sasiri Bandara (MSc 2017- co-supervised with Vince St. Louis, Biological Sciences) Mercury from Yukon permafrost.Researcher – University of Alberta/Alberta Environment and Parks

Joel Pumple (MSc 2016) Characterization of permafrost valley fills along the Alaska Highway, SW Yukon. PACS Lab Installation Manager/Technical Director, Edmonton.

Matt Mahoney (MSc 2015)  A 50,000 year record of meteoric water isotopes from Yukon permafrost.  Staff geologist at Terta Tech in Ann Arbor Michigan, U.S.A.

Hayley Dunning (MSc 2011)  Tephrochronology of SW Yukon and SE Alaska sites.  Present position: Hayley realized through her thesis that her real passion was writing about science more than science! and went to journalism school at UBC and is now a media officer at Imperial College, London.

Kristen Kennedy (MSc 2009) Sedimentology and stratigraphy of the Last Glacial Maximum Eagle River meltwater channel, Northern Yukon. Yukon Geological Survey project geologist, Whitehorse, Yukon.

Britta Jensen (MSc 2007)  Tephrochronology of east-central Alaska loess deposits.  Britta subsequently completed a PhD with me and a PDF at Queens University, Belfast, and eventually came back to us as an Assistant Professor running her own research group.

Simon Robinson (MSc 2007) Paleoecology of Pleistocene sandsheets and loess in interior Alaska.  Consultant in the U.K.

Mike Davies (MSc 2007)  Debris flow hazards near Valemont, BC.  BGC Consultants, Edmonton

MSc. (Co-supervisor)

Patrick Neuberger  (co-supervised with Brian Lanoil).  Microbial community changes along an anthropogenic permafrost thaw gradient.

Ann Hammad  (co-supervised with Brian Lanoil).  Microbial community changes from relict permafrost

Tara Sadoway  (co-supervised with Hendrik Poinar) Ancient Environmental DNA from relict permafrost, Yukon

Veronique Germaine (co-supervised with Michel Lamothe) UQaM.  Dating eolian sandsheets along the Upper Yukon River between Dawson City and Eagle, Alaska

Recent undergraduate theses

Julia Valentine-Soares (2018) Isotope hydrology of Parkland County lakes, precipitation and groundwater. Present Position: MSc Student, Hydrogeology, University of British Columbia

Aria Zhang (2017) Isotope hydrology of Whitemud Creek and its relation to the North Saskatchewan River. Present Position: Hydrogeologist, Matrix Solutions, Calgary

Kasia Staniszewska (2017) Characterization of pore water stable isotopes across the MIS 5a-4 transition, Yukon. Present Position: Graduate Student, University of Alberta

Madison Chamzuk (2016) Isotope time series of the North Saskatchewan River Present Position: Contaminant Hydrogeologist, Milennium EMS Solutions

Gerard Otiniano (2016) Stable isotopes of Dempster Highway tree rings Present Position: PhD Student, University of Toronto

Sasiri Bandara (2015) Characteristics of recent drained thermokarst lakes, Old Crow basin, YT. Present Position: Researcher – University of Alberta / Alberta Environment and Parks