Carbon transport in boreal forest watersheds

  • Project Student PI: Kristin Olson (Ph.D. student, Department of Biology and Wildlife)

This research focuses on the movement of carbon from terrestrial ecosystems to headwater streams in boreal watersheds in Alaska and investigates how permafrost thaw can alter carbon transport.

In high-latitude watersheds, permafrost acts as a hydrologic barrier and keeps water in shallower terrestrial flow paths on its way to streams. However, as permafrost extent decreases due to Alaska’s changing climate, the usual water flow path and depth may change. This could have consequences for CO2 emissions and export of carbon to downstream ecosystems.