Research Group

Some present opportunities to join our group

I am not actively seeking new graduate students at this time (for 2022).

Research Students
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 2020, we opened 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 and engineering.
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…


Research Associates

Joel Pumple, MSc.  Permafrost Archives Laboratory Manager

Jordan Harvey, MSc- CT and Multi-sensor core logging technician

Omid Asghari, PhD- Geostatistics and ground ice modelling



Joseph Young – PhD – (2018 -) Permafrost landsystems in the Mackenzie Mountain Foothills, NWT and setting of prominent thaw slumps and permafrost changes. [PermafrostNet]

Scott Cocker – PhD (2020-  )  Beringian paleoecology using traditional and ancient enivronmental DNA methods. 

Alexandre Chiasson – PhD (2020- ) Geologic setting and permafrost characterization in the central Mackenzie valley corridor.  [PermafrostNet]

Alejandro Alvarez- PhD (2022- ) Permafrost landsystems and ground ice distribution along the southern Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk corridor


Brielle Andersen-  MSc. Thesis studen (2020- ) (co-supervised with Ben Rostron UofA). Characterizing buried valley systems of the Edmonton area for groundwater resources using electrical resistivity tomography (ERT)

Michelle Landry- MSc. Thesis student (2022-  ) Permafrost integrity in drilling sumps in the Sahtu Region, NWT

Undergraduate researchers

Robbie Hann– BSc Thesis student (2023-2024)  Controls on ground ice abundance over the last 50,000 years from syngenetic permafrost in the Klondike area

Juanita Sandoval Ortiz– Undergraduate researcher in PACS Lab

Jarod McLeay– BSc. Thesis student (2023-2024)  Urease diversity in permafrost and potential for microbially induced calcite precipitation (co-supervised with Brian Lanoil)


PDF and Research Associates

Mahya Roustaei, Research Associate- Development of non-destructive methods to characterize permafrost using Computed Tomography and Multi-Sensor Core Logging.  Present position: Assistant Professor and Director of the Geotechnics Laboratory, Civil Engineering, University of Ghent

Alistair Monteath, PhD- Late Pleistocene shrub expansion in Beringia and characterization of frozen materials (PACS Lab). [FATE and PermafrostNet]. Present position: Research Fellow, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK

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

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

Fabrice Calmels  (2007-2012) Permafrost resilience and response to historic disturbances.  Present position: Permafrost Geoscience Research Chair, Yukon University, Whitehorse, YT

Svetlana Kuzmina (2007-2012) Fossil insects from Beringian sedimentary environments.  Present position:  Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow

Stephen Kuehn (PDF 2007-2009) Electron microprobe development for tephrochronology applications. Present position: Associate Professor, Concord University, WV.


Ben Stoker  (PhD 2019-2024)  (co-supervised with Martin Margold, Charles University, Prague- based at Charles University).  Laurentide Ice Sheet dynamics in the central Mackenzie valley. Present position: Postdoctoral Fellow Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University

Tyler Murchie (PhD 2021; co-supervised with Hendrik Poinar, McMaster University- based at McMaster).  Ancient Environmental DNA.  [FATE Collaboration]  Present position: Research Scientist Hakai Institute, Victoria, BC

Alireza Saidi-Mehrabad  PhD 2021 (co-supervised with Brian Lanoil- based in Biological Sciences).  Microbial community changes across the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary from relict permafrost. Present position:  Postdoctoral Fellow at the Desert Research Institute, Las Vegas, NV

Sophie Norris – (PhD 2020) Reconstructing the patterns and dynamics of the late Wisconsian Laurentide Ice Sheet deglaciation in NW Saskatchewan and NE Alberta.     Present position:  Present position: Assistant Professor, University of Victoria.

Robin Woywitka (PhD 2018) Geoarchaeology of the Oilsands Region, NE Alberta.    Present position: Assistant Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, Grant Macewan University.

Lauren Davies  (PhD 2018)  Toward a cryptotephra framework for northwestern North America.  Present position: Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, UK

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.  Present position: Associate Professor, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta Edmonton.

Alberto Reyes (PhD 2010)  Stratigraphy, chronology and paleoenvironmental significance of perenially frozen interglacial sediments in eastern Beringia.   Present position: Associate Professor, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta 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.  Present position: Yukon Paleontologist, Government of Yukon, Whitehorse, Yukon.

MSc. (Primary Supervisor)

Casey Buchanan – MSc Thesis Student  (2022) Isotopic characterization of active layer processes in a permafrost peatland catena. Present position: Researcher, Yukon University Permafrost Geoscience Research Group

Allison Rubin – MSc. Thesis student  (2022)  Stratigraphy and sedimentology of Edmonton area buried valleys.  Present position: Hydrogeologist, Alberta Energy Regulator

Jordan Harvey – MSc Thesis Student (2021-2023) (co-supervised with Britta Jensen)  Cryptotephra and dating of Yukon lakes. Present position: CT and MSCL Technician, Permafrost Archives Laboratory

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.  Present position: Researcher – University of Alberta/Alberta Environment and Parks

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

Matt Mahony (MSc 2015)  A 50,000 year record of meteoric water isotopes from Yukon permafrost.  Present position: Staff Environmental Scientist, Burns & McConnell, Charlotte, NC

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. Present position: 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.  Present position: Consultant in the U.K.

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

MSc. (Co-supervisor)

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

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.  Researcher Medical Genetics, The Sick Kids Hospital, Toronto

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

Evan Francis– BSc. Thesis student  (2022- 2024)  Paleoenvironmental reconstruction of Beringian environments, Yukon. Research Intern: Alfred Wagner Institute, Potsdam, Germany

Marlianne Sadoway — BSc. Thesis. (2020-2021) Multiple isotope (14C, 3H, 18O, 2H)  characterization of Wagner Natural Area groundwater

Katrina Neill (BSc Thesis 2019-2020) Terminal Pleistocene environmental change as recorded in relict permafrost from central Yukon.  

Allison Rubin (BSc. Thesis 2019-2020)  Drainage history and HEC-RAS modeling of glacial lake Edmonton drainage  Present Position: MSc. Student, University of Alberta

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

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: Graduate student Hydrogeology, University of Waterloo

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 – Alberta Environment and Parks