Biogeochemical research is focused on understanding how changing hydrology and permafrost conditions control the quantity and composition or organic matter, nutrients and ions transferred from the watershed to rivers, ponds, and lakes downstream.  We have investigated how varying scales and types of permafrost disturbance (including active layer thickness, thermokarst, active layer detachment slides, and retrogressive thaw slumps) affect the amounts and types of nitrogen and organic matter from soils to rivers, in effort to improve our understanding how changing permafrost conditions might feed back on climate. One key potential feedback is that thawing permafrost may release increasing amount of reactive (biologically available) nitrogen, and fresh easily decomposed (or labile) organic matter, which could enhance decomposition of soil carbon and enhance aquatic biological productivity and respiration, thus enhancing rates of CO2 flux to the atmosphere.

A pond where we are monitoring water quality and biogeochemical processes.  The turbidity in this pond comes from subsurface flow in the soil.
Algae growing on channel bed at a site of subsurface water seepage. The growth is indicative of high nutrient levels in subsurface waters.