Department Seminar: Peatland Development and Carbon Dynamics

Friday, March 6, 2020 11:00 am - 11:00 am EST

Dr. Sarah Finkelstein will discuss peatland development and carbon dynamics in Hudson Bay Lowlands over the Holocene and the last glacial cycle.

Dr. Sarah Finkelstein, Earth Sciences, University of TorontoPeatlands play an important role in the global carbon cycle, both through the uptake of carbon to form extensive carbon pools, and through their role as the largest natural source of methane to the atmosphere. The development of carbon pools takes place over millennia, thus paleoecological approaches are used to elucidate the factors that strengthen or weaken the rate of carbon burial. Ontario is home to the largest wetland complex in Canada, the Hudson Bay Lowlands. This region has accumulated a pool of >30Gt of carbon over the Holocene. I will discuss our group’s research on long- term changes in the rates of carbon uptake and release, in relation to glacial isostatic adjustment, paleoclimatic change and changes in the vegetation types making up the peat. I will also discuss how this research contributes to major open questions in paleo-biogeosciences on the role of wetland soils in resolving the carbon budget over the last glacial cycle.


Sarah Finkelstein is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Toronto in Toronto. Dr Finkelstein obtained an undergraduate degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, a Masters degree in Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge and a PhD in Geography at University of Toronto, working on Holocene development of coastal wetlands in the Lower Great Lakes. She completed an NSERC Post-Doctoral Fellowship at University of Ottawa in Arctic paleoclimatology, prior to her appointment to the UofT Faculty in 2006. Sarah’s research interests include Quaternary science, paleoclimate and paleoecology, wetlands and the carbon cycle, palynology and microfossil proxies for paleoenvironmental reconstruction.


March 6, 2020

11:00 a.m.


University of Waterloo

EIT 1015