Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair

Room EV1-232, ext. 30164
W2018 office hours: By Appointment Only

Maria’s research investigates the interactions between ecology, hydrology, biogeochemistry and soil properties in wetland ecosystems. In particular, her research focuses on feedbacks between wetlands and climate by investigating controls on peatland greenhouse gas exchange in natural, disturbed and restored ecosystems.

Key Areas of Graduate Supervision
Soil greenhouse gas fluxes, wetland restoration, ecohydrology, organic soil physics, mitigation of land-use change greenhouse gas fluxes

Recent Courses Taught
GEOG294: Approaches to Research in Physical Geography

Research Interests
My current research focuses on peatland greenhouse gas fluxes in both natural and disturbed ecosystems. I am investigating the potential impact of climate change on peatlands through plot to ecosystem scale manipulation of temperature and water table and evaluating the subsequent changes in soil properties, plant community and greenhouse gas fluxes. I am also participating in several peatland restoration projects across Canada involving restoration of sites used for horticultural peat extraction, locations of well-pads and roads related to oil extraction, and peatland construction in oil sands mining regions. My interest in these projects is evaluating the conditions that help to return a carbon accumulation function post-restoration.

I am also particularly interested in peatland methane dynamics including both fluxes and subsurface storage. As part of this research we are using a variety of geophysical techniques to monitor gas accumulation and release while also investigating the physical soil properties and hydrochemical conditions that are related to spatial patterns of gas accumulation.

Recent Publications

  • Munir, T.M., and Strack, M. 2014. Methane flux influenced by experimental water table drawdown and soil warming in a dry boreal continental bog, Ecosystems, doi: 10.1007/s10021-014-9795-z.
  • Branham, J. and Strack, M. 2014. Saturated hydraulic conductivity in Sphagnum dominated peatlands: Do microforms matter? Hydrological Processes, 28, 4352-4362.
  • Sharp, C., Graham, J., Stott, M., Moore, T., Strack, M., Grasby, S., Dunfield, P. 2014. Distribution and diversity of Verrucomicrobia methanotrophs in geothermal and acidic environments, Environmental Microbiology, 16, 1867-1878.
  • Blain, D., Murdiyarso, D., Couwenberg, J., Nagata, O., Renou-Wilson, F., Sirin, A., Strack, M., Tuittila, E.-S., Wilson, D., Evans, C.D., Fukuda, M., and Parish, F. 2014. Chapter 3: Rewetted organic soils, 2013 Supplement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories: Wetlands, IPCC, pp. 3.1-3.43.
  • Munir, T.M., Xu, B., Perkins, M., and Strack, M. 2014. Responses of carbon dioxide flux and plant biomass to drought in a treed peatland in northern Alberta: a climate change perspective, Biogeosciences, 11, 807-820.
  • Strack, M., Keith, A.M., and Xu, B. 2014. Growing season carbon dioxide and methane exchange at a restored peatland on the Western Boreal Plain, Ecological Engineering, 64, 231-239.
  • Comas, X., Kettridge, N., Binley, A., Slater, L., Parsekian, A., Baird, A.J., Strack M., and Waddington J.M. 2013. The effect of peat structure on the spatial distribution of biogenic gases within bogs. Hydrological Processes, doi: 10.1002/hyp.10056.
  • Strack, M. and Zuback, Y.C.A. 2013. Annual carbon balance of a peatland 10 yr following restoration, Biogeosciences, 10, 2885-2896, doi: 10.5194/bg-10-2885-2013.
  • Macrae, M.L., Devito, K.J., Strack, M. and Waddington, J.M. 2013. Effect of water table drawdown on nutrient dynamics in temperate peatlands. Biogeochemistry,112, 661-676, doi: 10.1007/s10533-012-9730-3.
  • Kettridge, N., Binley, A., Comas, X., Cassidy, N.J., Baird, A.J., Harris, A., van der Kruk, J., Strack, M., Milner, A.M., and Waddington, J.M. 2012. Do peatland microforms move through time? Examining the developmental history of a patterned peatland using ground-penetrating radar,  Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 117, G3, doi: 10.1029/2011JG0001876.
  • Strack, M., Waddington, J.M. 2012. Effects of peat extraction and restoration on greenhouse gas exchange from Canadian peatlands, In Restoration and Reclamation of Boreal Ecosystems, D.H. Vitt, J. Bhatti (eds.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 386-403.
University of Waterloo

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