LU Researchers Receive Federal Award for Climate Change Project

CFI to support analysis of changing permafrost and carbon cycling

Laurentian University is proud to announce that three of our community members received federal support for a timely project. The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has awarded a share of this year's John R. Evans Leaders Fund to Nathan Basiliko, Pascale Roy-Léveillée, and Nadia Mykytczuk.

The new funding will allow the researchers to carry out critical work on how climate change affects permafrost in Canada, and understanding what this means for the massive amount of carbon stored in these perennially frozen soils. Cutting edge research requires cutting edge tools. The funds will give the team access to an electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) system, as well as a field-portable H-nuclear magnetic resonance (H-NMR) spectrometry system.

One of the team's major goals is to categorize frozen soils and substrates as they warm. This will allow for the prediction of carbon and pollutant responses to climate change. It will also yield valuable information about how these physical changes to frozen ground may affect physical infrastructure, including difficult-to-manage industrial (mine, forestry) wastes in colder climates.

As part of our #imagine2023 strategic plan, Laurentian University is dedicated to seeking out compelling solutions for society’s complex challenges through interdisciplinary knowledge. This work will support advances in geocryology, biogeochemistry, environmental microbiology, and geotechnical investigations, all of which build directly on Laurentian’s research strengths.

"We are excited and grateful for the funding from CFI. It provides a major investment into infrastructure and research on frozen ground. As the temperature of frozen soils and substrates warms up, the amount of unfrozen water increases. Even at below-zero temperatures, a fraction of unfrozen water supports biological activity responsible for movement of carbon and pollutants. The amount of below-zero-Celsius liquid water also has important implications for ground stability and physical infrastructure in permafrost environments." Nathan Basiliko, Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 2 Environmental Microbiology) at the Vale Living With Lakes Centre of Laurentian University