Scotty creek research station

Research Team

About us



I am accepting inquiries and applications from students interested in graduate work at both the master’s and doctorate levels. Please contact for more information.

Iain Thomson

Iain's research examines the rates and patterns of permafrost thaw below seismic lines, and the impacts of such thaw on the hydrological interaction between seismic lines and the surrounding landscape. He is using a combination of archived geophysical, thermal and hydrological data along an intensively studied seismic line, as well as modelling approaches to simulate coupled thermal and mass transfer into and along the line.

Michael McPhee

Michael's research contributes to the Dehcho Collaborative on Permafrost (DCoP). He works closely with the Dehcho First Nations to determine the best possible permafrost thaw adaptation and mitigation strategies based on the Dene language (Dene Zhatie) and traditional knowledge. He is also working with other DCoP community-based investigators toward the development of a research framework rooted in Dene values and traditional livelihoods. As part of this initiative, he is also co-developing with DFN partners, a regional podcast which aims to provide a forum for dialogue on climate change knowledge and adaptation, and to connect local communities with larger audiences.

Nanar Hakobyan

Nanar is a researcher employed by the Western Arctic Centre for Geomatics (Government of the Northwest Territories) and is pursuing her PhD at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her PhD research is focussed on developing and testing new remote sensing tools and monitoring programmes for the Northwest Territories using high resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and optical remote sensing data for detection, monitoring, and analysis of permafrost thaw impacts with a focus on the Dehcho region.

Shaghayegh (Shae) Akbarpour

Shae is a PhD student of water resources engineering based at the University of Waterloo. Her research is focused on modelling the climate warming induced evolution of land covers in discontinuous permafrost regions of northwestern Canada. She uses these modelling outcomes to investigate the effects of the land cover changes on the hydrological functioning of the drainage basins in these regions. Shae is also devising a land cover change model from different machine learning methodologies which can be used to predict the future evolution of land covers throughout the circum-polar region.

Igor Egorov

Igor's research develops advanced permafrost restoration and thaw mitigation systems, and evaluates the effectiveness of such systems for a wide range of applications. Such applications include protection of infrastructure and stabilisation of permafrost to increase slope stability. Much of the new knowledge, tools and methods developed in this project is targeted for the protection of transportation infrastructure in the NWT and elsewhere in the circum-polar region. Scotty Creek serves as the main "out door laboratory" for the development and testing of these ground-freezing systems.

Maude Auclair

Maude is examining how the microtopography of collapse scar bogs evolve as they slowly drain following the thaw of "permafrost dams" on their margins. Her preliminary work indicates that such bogs develop hummocky surfaces over periods of years to decades, and that the introduction of hummocks affect water flow and storage processes and pathways.

Mason Dominico

Mason is examining the mass and energy balances of a permafrost body using geophysical, thermal, micro-meteorological and a remote sensing measurements and archived data. He is also examining how changes to these balances arising from climate warming and direct human disturbance will affect water flux and storage processes.

Kristine Haynes

Kristine Haynes, as a Postdoctoral Fellow, has joined the Scotty Research Team synthesizing the long-term water level data with the aim of constructing a water balance for the site. She is examining potential differences in long-term water storage across the variations in landscape of the Scotty Creek watershed. A future goal is to broaden her mercury cycling research to investigate the influence of permafrost thaw and subsequent landscape and hydrological changes.

Mikhail Mack

Mikhail is a PhD student researching the impacts of permafrost thaw on runoff processes and hydrologic connectivity in the Hudson Bay Lowlands (HBL) in Ontario’s Far North. By comparing thaw impacts in discontinuous and continuous permafrost portions of the HBL, Mikhail hopes to improve our understanding of permafrost thaw in world’s third largest contiguous wetland complex.

Gabriel Gosselin

Gabriel is a Research Technician based at the University of Montreal for the Changing Arctic Network (CANet). His expertise is on hydrometerological instrumentation, including eddy co-variance systems.

Olivia Carpino

Olivia is a PhD student researching permafrost distribution in northwestern Canada. Her work focuses on the impacts of climate change on permafrost and predicting the resultant changes to the overlying landscape. She plans to use these insights and those gained at Scotty Creek to develop a comprehensive permafrost mapping effort in the NWT.

Geoff Kershaw

Geoff is pursuing his PhD on the ecological and hydrological impacts of permafrost thaw on peat palsas and peat plateaus in alpine tundra environments near the NWT - Yukon border. Scotty Creek provides a lowland comparison for his studies.

Élise Devoie

Élise is pursuing her PhD at the University of Waterloo in hydrological and thermal modelling and plans to apply her skills to improve the understanding of the rate and pattern of permafrost thaw at Scotty Creek. She is a modeller, but also loves to be in the field. That makes her an even better modeller.

Alex MacLean

Alex MacLean is the full-time Research Technician in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science at Laurier. He makes a very important contribution to the Scotty team by helping to prepare students for the field, and assisting with technical aspects of the project. Alex joins us in the field at Scotty whenever he can.

Dr. Laura Chasmer

Laura Chasmer (PDF) is interested in climate change; remote sensing; long-term ecosystem change; energy and mass (CO2, H2O) exchanges; discontinuous permafrost; forestry; scaling; ecosystem models. Her research is focused on the influence of canopy structure and ground surface topography on energy balance and scalar fluxes within northern boreal and discontinuous permafrost ecosystems. To do this, she uses a range of remote sensing technologies (including airborne and terrestrial lidar systems), hydrometeorological equipment, and in situ measurements. Dr. Chasmer is now at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, but she remains an important member of our research team.

SCRS Alumni

Tyler Veness

At Scotty Creek, Tyler studied the influence of tree-canopy, shrub-canopy and ground surface properties on the rate and spatial pattern of seasonal active-layer thaw. His work helped to improve our understanding of and ability to predict areas of preferential permafrost thaw. Tyler is now a Senior Planning and Program Advisor with Alberta Environment.

Dr. Justin Adams

Justin played a leading role in the Consortium for Permafrost Ecosystems in Transition (CPET), which examines permafrost-thaw impacts on water resources and ecosystems in the southern Northwest Territories, northeastern British Columbia, and northern Ontario. Justin is now a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Guelph.

Michael Braverman

Michael's M.Sc. research focussed on the hydrological impacts of seismic lines in the wetland-dominated zone of discontinuous permafrost. Specifically, he examined permafrost degradation and regeneration processes along seismic lines, and the hydrological consequences of these processes. Michael is a Geophysicist with GHD Engineering and remains a very active member of the Scotty research team.

Ryan Connon

Ryan's Ph. D. research is focused on improving the understanding of and ability to model runoff from peat plateau-bog complexes. So far his research has identified major runoff pathways and how their importance changes with soil moisture conditions. He has also shown that recent increases in discharge from streams and rivers in the southern NWT is strongly influenced by permafrost thaw-induced land-cover change that has increased the extent of runoff contributing areas.

John Gordon

John's M.Sc. research at Scotty focused on the influence of permafrost thaw on mercury methylation in wetlands and streams, a subject of growing concern with local communities in the NWT. John now works with SLR Consulting (Bradford on Avon, UK) as a Land Quality & Remediation Associate.

Emily Haughton

Emily's M.Sc. research focused on snowmelt runoff processes on a peat plateau-bog complex at Scotty Creek. Specifically, she examined the impact of permafrost thaw on snowmelt runoff generation. Her work with helped to improve the understanding and ability to simulate snowmelt runoff in wetland-dominated high-Boreal environments. Emily now works as a Researcher at the Hakai Institute in British Columbia, Canada.

Elyse Mathieu

Elyse examined the impact of fire on snow accumulation, melt and ground thermal regimes. She used a combination of detailed energy flux measurements above and below the ground surface, and aerial remote sensing provided by cameras mounted on UAV platforms. She is now a Fire Research Analyst with the Canadian Forest Service (Northern Forestry Centre) of Natural Resources Canada in Edmonton, Alberta.

Allison McManus

Allison's M.Sc. examined the energy balance implication of mite infestations on shrubs species at Scotty Creek. It was found that the transpiration rates from shrubs infested with gall-forming mites are greatly reduced. This reduction has the potential to alter the partitioning of energy at the scale of individual leaves and increase the soil moisture content below the shrubs. Allison is now the Strategic Research Initiatives Officer at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada.

Dr. Fereidoun Rezanezhad

Fereidoun's PDF focussed on developing new analytical methods of measuring the physical and hydraulic properties of peat soils using X-ray computed tomography. This research led to improved algorithms for predicting mass and energy flows through organic soils. He is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Waterloo and remains an important member of our research team.

Lindsay Stone

Lindsay studied the hydrology of channel fens at Scotty Creek. She intensively instrumented a 700 m fen connecting Goose Lake and First Lake in the Scotty Creek basin to better understand the flux and storage of water within and from the fen. She also used the Cold Regions Hydrological Model (CRHM) to improve the understanding of the hydrological functioning of channel fens and how it can change in response to disturbance. Lindsay is now lives in California, USA where she works as a Data Analyst for Apple and Apex Systems.

Stacey VanOpstal

Stacey's research examined the role of black spruce root networks in the redistribution of energy into and from the active layer, and the relative importance of the root network and the soil matrix in providing energy into the ground to thaw the active layer and degrade the underlying permafrost. She now works with the City of Hamilton, in Hamilton, Ontario.

Bhaleka Persaud

Bhaleka is studying how climate in the Fort Simpson (NWT) region has changed over the last half century. Her work on how the changing climatic conditions have influenced stream flows is an important complement to other work within the team that is focussed on how permafrost thaw has affected steam flows.

Caren Ackley

Caren is studying how forest fires alter the physical and hydraulic properties of peat and how these changes affect both the quantity and quality of runoff.

Joelle Langford

Joelle is pursuing her M.Sc. at Western University. She is generating a permafrost plateau model using FEFLOW to simulate thaw and its interactions with groundwater.

Julie Mai

Julie received her Ph.D. in 2011 at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Leipzig, Germany. After a first PostDoc at that institute, she moved to University of Waterloo in September 2016 and joined our research programme. Her expertise is in modelling and computational analyses like parameter estimation, sensitivity analysis and uncertainty analysis. She is further strongly interested in the development of robust and widely applicable computer codes.

Nicole Wright

Nicole is the first student of the SCRS, which makes her a "Scotty Pioneer". Her PhD research shed new light on coupled runoff and thaw processes which led to important advances in understanding and modelling the hydrology of the study region. Nicole is now a Senior Hydrologist with Ecofish Research, Campbell River, Bristish Columbia.

Angela Elgie

Angela's is a Master's of Science Geography student focusing on the effects of a 1986 seismic line on the peatland wetland area at Scotty Creek. Currently 3 bogs have been selected for their variability for her study of these effects. Through measurements of water levels, moisture, biodiversity, temperature, snow melt, water movement, and others the differences in values will outline the effects of the line.

Brenden Disher

Brenden is an MSc student researching permafrost presence beneath treed bogs at Scotty Creek. He will be combining ground penetrating radar (GPR) and electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) to determine permafrost extent and will be examining the hydrological characteristics of these features. Brenden hopes to improve the understanding of permafrost formation and degradation in zones of discontinuous permafrost.

John Coughlin

John Coughlin joined the Scotty Creek research team in December, 2017 and brings a wide range of technical and research skills. When not at Scotty Creek he is at our new office in Yellowknife where he lives. Welcome John!

Tyler Williams

Tyler completed him M.Sc. in the fall of 2012. His research on seismic lines at Scotty Creek provided important new insights on the hydrological impact of these widely-occurring features in the North. Tyler's work culminated in two journal articles, one of which was highlighted by Environmental Research Letters in their journal commentaries. Tyler continues his hydrological in his employment with the Yukon Territorial Government in Whitehorse.

Jessica Smart

Jessica is a fourth year student at Wilfrid Laurier University, working towards completing her undergraduate thesis at Scotty Creek. Her research focuses on the relationship between black spruce canopy cover and permafrost thaw rates and patterns. This research aims to further understand how northern landscapes are transitioning in response to a warming climate. Jessica hopes to combine disciplines of ecology and hydrology to predict future trajectories of northern forests.

Elzbieta Mastej

Ela is developing and testing new ground freezing systems along a seismic line where permafrost has thawed preferentially. Her designs include various types of passive and active thermosyphon systems, as well as innovative designs that enhance ground cooling. The coldest ground at Scotty Creek is the ground below Ela's ground freezing systems!

Michelle Liu

Permafrost has long been considered to be a stable subgrade in the design and construction of roads in high latitude/altitude regions. However, as permafrost thaws, it loses its bearing capacity, and as a result, the overlying road surface to cracks, ruts, or even collapses. Michelle's study aims to quantify the thermo-physical properties of selected road surface types widely used in the NWT and evaluate their capacity to insulate and protect the underlying permafrost. Her project will also include recommendations for reducing damage to road surfaces due to permafrost thaw for a wide range of conditions.