Ecohydrological Interactions of a Constructed Upland and Lake System in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region

Forested uplands are a crucial component of the Athabasca Oil Sands Region landscape, as they serve as conveyors of multiple hydrogeological functions that sustain the ecosystem services of adjacent ecosystems and landcover units. Wetlands and open-water ponds interact with the uplands by re-distributing moisture during wet and dry conditions, thus ensuring resilience to moisture stress during normal periodic drought. Differences in topographic positioning and soil substrate generally form a gradient favoring the accumulation of moisture and solutes towards the lower portions of the forested upland, influencing biogeochemical cycling and vegetation establishment in the adjacent low-lying wetlands and surface water bodies. In reclaimed landscapes, such as the Lake Miwasin watershed understanding how establishing vegetation in the uplands is using water is essential to being able to predict the stability of the constructed lake. An MSc student is being recruited to quantify the water requirement to fill deep unsaturated zone storage and meet upland vegetation evapotranspiration (ET) demands in this sub-humid environment. This work will utilize state of the art hydrometeorological measurements as well as novel approaches to measuring tree and shrub water use. This MSc position at the University of Waterloo is fully funded.


For more information please contact Professor, Richard Petrone at