Research

Methylmercury in peatland streams and ponds

Mercury transformations in peatlands

Explore the sites where I collected water from streams and ponds

My current research explores methylmercury in peatland catchments. Conditions in these ecosystems support the microbial transformation of inorganic mercury [Hg(II)] to the toxic form of methylmercury [MeHg]. Northern peatlands with perennially frozen permafrost conditions prevent microbial transformation of deep mercury stores.

Thawing of permafrost from climate change mediates the release of mercury in peatlands, bound to dissolved organic matter [DOM]. I want to understand how much MeHg will be produced and exported to adjacent lakes and streams by investigating a climate gradient from permafrost free to continuous permafrost conditions.

My research sites range from northern Alberta to the Northwest Territories. The 2019 field season involved sampling of 50 streams and 25 ponds in the Taiga Plains ecoregion. I am currently working through analysis of samples with exciting results to come!

Nutrient cycling in an experimentally fertilized peatland

My undergraduate thesis investigated dissolved nutrients in response to 20 years of nutrient additions at Mer Bleue Bog near Ottawa, ON. Mer Bleue is an ombrotrophic bog where all nutrients are acquired from atmospheric deposition, as peat accumulation prevents nutrient access from groundwater and overland flow. Addition of 5x, 10x, and 20x typical nutrient supply drastically altered both vegetation and dissolved matter of the pore water. This work was published in Geoderma (Moore et al., 2019).