Maria Strack

Professor, Associate Chair for Graduate Studies and Canada Research Chair

EV1-320, ext. 40580

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. To visit Maria's research website, see the Wetland Soils and Greenhouse Gas Exchange Lab.

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 collaborate on several peatland restoration projects across Canada involving restoration of sites used for horticultural peat extraction, former 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 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 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 and microbiological conditions that are related to spatial patterns of gas accumulation.

Recent Publications

  • Lovitt, J., Rahman, M., Saraswati, S., McDermid, G.J., Strack, M., Xu, B. in press. UAV remoted sensing can reveal the effects of low impact seismic lines on methane (CH4) release in a forested boreal bog. Journal of Geophysical Research, doi: 10.1002/2017JG004232.
  • Bravo, T.G., Rochefort, L., Strack, M. 2018. The impact of black spruce (Picea mariana) plantation on carbon exchange in a cutover peatland in western Canada. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 48, doi: 10.1139/cjfr-2017-0378.
  • Strack, M., Softa, D., Bird, M., Xu, B. 2018. Impact of winter roads on boreal peatland carbon exchange, Global Change Biology, 24: e201-e212, doi: 10.1111/gcb.13844
  • Brown, C.M., Strack, M., Price, J.S. 2017. The effects of water management on the CO2 uptake of Sphagnum moss in a reclaimed peatland, Mires and Peat, 20, Art. 05, Available [], doi: 10.19189/MaP.2016.OMB.258.
  • Brummell, M.E, Lazcano, C., Strack, M. 2017. The effects of Eriophorum vaginatum on N2O fluxes at a restored, extracted peatland, Ecological Engineering 106, 287-295.
  • Munir, T.M., Khadka, B., Xu, B., Strack, M. 2017. Mineral nitrogen and phosphorus pools affected by water table lowering and warming in a boreal forested peatland, Ecohydrology, 10, e1893, doi: 10.1002/eco.1893.
  • Munir, T.M., Khadka, B., Xu, B., Strack, M. 2017. Partitioning forest-floor respiration into source based emissions in a boreal forested bog: response to experimental drought, Forests, 8: 75, doi: 10.3390/f8030075.
  • Murray, K.R., Borkenhagen, A.K., Cooper, D.J., Strack, M. 2017. Growing season carbon gas exchange from peatlands used a source of vegetation donor material for restoration, Wetlands Ecology and Management, 25, 501-515, doi: 10.1007s11273-017-9531-5.
  • Murray, K.R., Barlow, N., Strack, M. 2017. Methane emission dynamics from a constructed fen and reference sites in the Athabasca Oil Sands, Alberta, Science of the Total Environment, 583, 369-381.
  • Rahman, M.M., McDermid, G. Strack, M., Lovitt, J. 2017. A new method to map groundwater table in peatlands using unmanned aerial vehicles, Remote Sensing, 9, 1057, doi: 10.3390/rs9101057.
  • Strack, M., Mwakanyamale, K., Hassanpour Fard, G., Bird, M., Bérubé, V., Rochefort, L. 2017. Effect of plant functional type on methane dynamics in a restored minerotrophic peatland, Plant and Soil, 410, 231-246, doi: 10.1007/s11104-016-2999-6.
  • Evans, C., Renou-Wilson, F., Strack, M. 2016. The role of waterborne carbon in the greenhouse gas balance of drained and re-wetted peatlands, Aquatic Sciences, 78, 573-590, doi:10.1007/s00027-015-0447-y.
  • Khadka, B., Munir, T.M., Strack, M. 2016. Dissolved organic carbon in a constructed and natural fens in the Athabasca oil sands region, Alberta, Canada. Science of the Total Environment, 557-558, 579-589, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.03.081.
  • Nwaishi, F., Petrone, R.M., Macrae, M.L., Price, J.S., Strack, M., Slawson, R. Andersen, R. 2016. Preliminary assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from a fen peatland constructed on a post-oil sand mining landscape, Ecological Engineering, 95, 119-128, doi: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2016.06.061.
  • Nwaishi, F., Petrone, R.M., Price, J.S., Macrae, M.L., Strack, M., Slawson, R., Andersen, R. 2016. Above and below-ground nutrients cycling: a criteria for assessing the biogeochemical functioning of a constructed fen in the Athabasca oil sands region, Canada, Applied Soil Ecology, 98, 177-194, doi: 10.1016/j.apsoil.2015.10.015.
  • Strack, M., Cagampan, J., Hassanpour Fard, G., Keith, A.M., Nugent, K., Rankin, T., Robinson, C., Strachan, I.B., Waddington, J.M., Xu, B. 2016. Controls on plot-scale growing season CO2 and CH4 fluxes in restored peatlands: Do they differ from unrestored and natural sites? Mires and Peat, 17, Art. 05, Available [], doi: 10.19189/MaP.2015.OMB.216.
  • Taylor, N., Price, J.S., Strack, M. 2016. Hydrologic controls on productivity of regenerating Sphagnum in a cutover peatland, Ecohydrology, 9, 1017-1027, doi: 10.1002/eco.1699.
  • Wilson, D., Blain, D., Couwenberg, J., Evans, C.D., Murdiyarso, D., Page, S.E., Renou-Wilson, F., Rieley, J.O., Sirin, A., Strack, M., Tuittila, E.S. 2016. Greenhouse gas emission factors associated with rewetting of organic soils, Mires and Peat, 17, Art. 04, 1-28, Available [], doi: 10.19189/MaP.2016.OMB.222.
  • Wood, M.E., Macrae, M.L., Strack, M., Price, J.S., Osko, T.J., Petrone, R.M. 2016. Spatial variation in nutrient dynamics among five different peatland types in the Alberta oil sands region, Ecohydrology, 9, 688-699, doi: 10.1002/eco.1667.