PEAT ECR Action Team

Who we are

Clarice Perryman (PhD)

Position: PhD Candidate (University of New Hampshire, NH, USA)
Research Interests: Methane cycling in peatlands, particularly response of methane oxidation (consumption) to climate/environmental change
What got me interested in peatlands?: I got involved with peatland research through an REU program and have been fascinated by the diversity of peatlands, the dynamic systems and interactions within peatlands, and the importance of peatlands to past and future global climate ever since.
What I want out of the ECR network: I’m hoping we build an inclusive community of peatland ECR where we can share ideas, grow our networks and skillsets, and advance peatland science through fostering exciting new collaborations!

Sophie Wilkinson (PhD) 🇬🇧

Position: Postdoctoral Fellow (McMaster University, ON, Canada)
Research interests: Peatland wildfire interactions and peatland ecohydrological feedbacks
What got me interested in peatlands?: I was immediately amazed by peatlands when I first started learning about how much land they cover and carbon they store, and how they have developed over millennia, even whilst experiencing disturbances like wildfire – such resilience
What I want out of the ECR network: I am hoping to help foster an inclusive community where ECR can gain support from their peers. I would like to be able to discuss methods and research design to create more comparable studies, and also ask questions only peat-y folks would understand!

Liam Heffernan (PhD)

Position: Postdoctoral Fellow (Uppsala University, Sweden)
Research interests: Terrestrial-aquatic biogeochemistry, particularly interested in permafrost ecosystems
What got me interested in peatlands?: After taking a peatlands and global change course during my masters I was hooked. Then and now, I just can’t get over how much of the global soil carbon stock is found in the small area that peatlands occupy.
What I want out of the ECR network: An inclusive network and community of peatland ECR that fosters new ideas and creates long-term collaborative opportunities.

Kristyn Mayner 🇨🇦

Position: Wetland Stewardship Specialist at Ducks Unlimited Canada (National Boreal Program)
Research interests: Boreal peatlands, wildfire, permafrost thaw and other impacts relating to changing climate
What got me interested in peatlands?: I was previously working in the consulting industry and tasked with reclamation of wellsite and access road disturbances in Alberta peatlands. I had no idea how to approach this so I decided to tackle a MSc degree in Ecohydrology. The rest is history.
What I want out of the ECR network: Connection to the peatland research community, staying up on current research, fieldwork and on the ground solutions to peatland degradation.

Martina Schlaipfer (MSc) 🇦🇹

Position: PhD Candidate (Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied
Sciences and Technical University of Munich, Germany)
Research interests: Anything soil, but particularly biogeochemical cycling of nutrientsin organic soils and the effects of land-use on greenhouse gas fluxes in peatlands
What got me interested in peatlands?: My passion for peatlands came about by chance, when I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do after finishing my Geography degree. The first job ad that I thought sounded really interesting was for a PhD in Patagonian peatlands. I didn’t end up getting that position but my love for peatlands had been awakened and I’ve stuck with the topic ever since.
What I want out of the ECR network: When I started out in my PhD, often times I felt really alone with my research and it took me a long time (and a 6-month research stay in Canada) to build connections outside of our lab. Collaboration – be it within one’s own research group or internationally – is something that I find essential to advance research in any given field. Therefore, I hope that we can help foster positive change within the peatland community, especially when it comes to including more ECR from places outside Europe and North America.

Iuliia Burdun (PhD)

Position: Research Fellow in Geoinformatics (University of Tartu, Estonia)
Research interests: remote sensing-based estimations of the water table depth in the Northern peatlands (in the context of greenhouse gas emissions)
What got me interested in peatlands?: Peatlands are full of spectacular views, harmonious colours and sounds that make them a beautiful place to visit. However, their positive sides have been underestimated in mass culture, and many people are not aware of their crucial importance for climate regulation.
What I want out of the ECR network: Friends, colleagues, change-making community.

Nicole Sanderson (PhD) 🇨🇦

Position: Postdoctoral Researcher (GEOTOP Research Centre, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada)
Research Interests: Paleoecology & Radiochronology Labs (14C, 210Pb dating),recent carbon accumulation (last century), peatlands as natural climate solutions and GHG mitigation
What got me interested in peatlands?: I got interested in peatlands when finding out that they are such a huge carbon store but that there is so much uncertainty concerning their role in the C cycle (“black box”). That they are also archives of environmental change had me hooked (Climate Lara Croft!). The amazing diversity of Sphagnum moss, berries and carnivorous plants are a fun fieldwork bonus. I am currently interested in peatlands as natural climate solutions and the tremendous C sink potential of Canadian peatlands.
What I want out of the ECR network: It’s impossible to pass up the opportunity to network with new peaty friends and hear about other projects, techniques for science communication, etc. This is how we expand research projects and make better peaty science.

Meike Lemmer (PhD) 🇩🇪

Position: Scientific Researcher (Peatland Science Center, University of Applied Sciences (HSWT), Freising, Germany)
Research Interests: Carbon credits from peatland rewetting/restoration, Peatland vegetation and ecology, Sphagnum, ecological restoration of peatlands, northern peatlands, biogeochemistry, peat accumulation, peatland vegetation
What got me interested in peatlands?: The beauty of Sphagnum and the magical miniature fairy-worlds they create.
What I want out of the ECR network: To connect to other peatland-enthusiasts and to maintain a great peer network. Help to improve the awareness of the urgency and need to conserve, protect, and restore peatlands and their ecosystems functions.

Hanna Martens (MSc) 🇨🇦

Position: Masters student (University of Bremen, Germany)
Research Interests: Peatland ecology, especially using vegetation as indicators to measure restoration/rewetting success
What got me interested in peatlands?: I took a few classes on wetland ecology and there I learned about peatlands. I was instantly in love. They are so extreme, with carnivorous plants and all sorts of other cool adaptations for life in the cold, wet, peat. And they hold so much potential for nature-based solutions to climate change. I think they also reminded me a bit of home (Canada) while I have been abroad (Germany), and I appreciate how international this ecosystem is.
What I want out of the ECR network: I want to get to know other peatland researchers, it has been cool getting to know people from across the world who all share my love for peat. And as a younger researcher, it’s so great to see what different peat related paths look like.

Megan Schmidt (MSc)

Position: PhD student (University of Waterloo, ON, Canada)
Research Interests: Carbon cycling in peatlands, peatland disturbance and restoration
What got me interested in peatlands?: I started my post-secondary journey in land reclamation and environmental management, which got me interested in water, then wetlands. During my first summer as an undergrad research assistant working on permafrost peatlands in northern Alberta and the North West Territories I fell in love with the landscape and plants and knew I wanted to learn more about these amazing, intricate systems! The interest in carbon cycling grew over time as I learned more about peatlands’ role in carbon storage and climate change.
What I want out of the ECR network: Community, opportunities, and others who share my excitement over all things peat! Being the first in my family and friends to go to grad school I had a hard time with the what/who/when/how of applying and getting started, and most of what I found out was through talking to grad students. I’d love for the PEAT community to be a resource for others like me, and help lower the barriers to grad school.

Lauren Thompson (MSc) 🇨🇦

Position: PhD Candidate (University of Alberta, Canada)
Research Interests: Mercury biogeochemistry of thawing peatlands
What got me interested in peatlands?:  I was fascinated by an undergraduate soils course heavily featuring peatlands that turned into a summer research position at Mer Bleue bog in Ontario, Canada. Before this, I grew up in the Boreal Plains of western Canada and always enjoyed seeing pitcher plants and other peaty species while hiking in the forest.
What I want out of the ECR network: To bring early career researchers together within an inclusive and supportive community.

Elena Aitova (MSc) 🇷🇺

Position: PhD Student (National University of Ireland, Galway NUIG)
Research Interests: Greenhouse gas emissions from peatlands, ecological restoration, science communication
What got you interested in peatlands?: I really wanted to do something to mitigate climate change and I always thought that planting trees is the best solution. Well, it was before I learnt that peatlands are climate heroes! Moreover, they are super beautiful.
What I want out of the ECR network: PhD is a lonely journey but it is not like this anymore when you are within a community of like-minded people.

Camille Choquet (MSc) 🇫🇷

Position: PhD Candidate (University of St Andrews, Scotland, UK)
Research Interests: Tropical peatlands, Sustainable use of tropical peatlands; Carbon-based conservation; Community-based forest management
What got you interested in peatlands?: I first got involved with tropical peatlands through an internship with the Peruvian Amazon Research Centre (IIAP) in Peru. I learned there that we only recently know that Peru hosts one of the largest intact peatland complexes in the world. Since then, I have been fascinated by how important these ecosystems are at different scales, from local livelihoods to climate change mitigation, they bring together a lot of complex and exciting issues. We still have so much to learn about them and how to protect them!
What I want out of the ECR network: A community to stay up on current research and opportunities. To work with others to help make a difference and protect these incredible ecosystems around the world.

Richa Marwaha (PhD) 🇮🇳

Position: Post-doctoral researcher (Trinity College Dublin)
Research Interests: Habitat mapping using GIS and remote sensing techniques, change detection, upscaling of GHG emissions using satellite data, peatland rehabilitation, machine learning and deep learning for land cover and land use mapping, biomass estimation
What got you interested in peatlands? Ireland is full of beautiful peatlands but I got to know more about it when I started working as a post-doc. Peatlands are so magical with incredible biodiversity. It is our responsibility to protect and rehabilitate peatlands for climate mitigation.
What I want out of the ECR network: It is a great community of like-minded people working together for a common cause. I want to connect with other peatland scientists for networking and learn more about peatlands.

Want to get active and be involved in the Peatland ECR Action Team?

Contact us and tell us a little bit about yourself. Introduce yourself by letting us know your motivation to be part of the Peatland ECR Action Team.

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