PEAT Current Action Team

Who we are


Clarice Perryman

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 

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

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

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

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

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

Position: PhD candidate in plant biology (Université Laval, Québec, Canada)
Research Interests: 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

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

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

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.


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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