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Maria Strack

  • Adjunct Associate Professor

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


Maria Strack joined the department in January 2007. She completed her B.Sc. in ecology and Ph.D. in physical geography, both at McMaster University. Her Ph.D. dissertation focused on the potential effects of climate change on peatland carbon biogeochemistry. She also completed a short NSERC PDF in the Department of Geography at University of Waterloo.

Current Research:

1. Potential effects of climatic change on peatland carbon biogeochemistry:  This research investigates the effects of water table draw down and warming, expected to occur under climate change, on carbon cycling in northern peatlands. Currently, the effect of this disturbance on carbon dioxide exchange, methane efflux, subsurface methane dynamics, dissolved organic carbon concentrations and soil carbon storage is being quantified at a bog in northern Alberta.

2. Peatland carbon biogeochemistry following restoration and reclamation: Peatland ecosystems face a variety of disturbance including drainage, harvesting for horticultural peat and land-use change associated with resource extraction.  We are investigating the effect of these disturbances and subsequent restoration/reclamation efforts on carbon cycling in peatland sites in Quebec and Alberta.

3. Spatio-temporal variability in peat hydrophysical properties:  This research focuses on quantifying differences peat properties, such as bulk density, pore size distribution, saturated and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity, between peatland microforms and types. Changes in hydrophysical properties associated with peat decomposition are also being investigated.

4. Sphagnum moss ecohydrology In many boreal peatlands Sphagnum moss is the major peat forming species. Its productivity is related to moss moisture content and this research investigates the link between productivity, moisture content and subsurface hydrology.

Recent Publications

Branham, J. and Strack, M. in press. Saturated hydraulic conductivity in Sphagnum dominated peatlands: Do microforms matter? Hydrological Processes.

Sharp, C., Graham, J., Stott, M., Moore, T., Strack, M., Grasby, S., Dunfield, P. in press. Distribution and diversity of Verrucomicrobia methanotrophs in geothermal and acidic environments, Environmental Microbiology.

Blain, D., Murdiyarso, D., Couwenberg, J., Nagata, O., Renou-Wilson, F., Sirin, A., Strack, M., Tuittila, E.-S., Wilson, D., Evans, C.D., Fukuda, M., and Parish, F. 2014. Chapter 3: Rewetted organic soils, 2013 Supplement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories: Wetlands, IPCC, pp. 3.1-3.43.

Munir, T.M., Xu, B., Perkins, M., and Strack, M. 2014. Responses of carbon dioxide flux and plant biomass to drought in a treed peatland in northern Alberta: a climate change perspective, Biogeosciences, 11, 807-820.

Strack, M., Keith, A.M., and Xu, B. 2014. Growing season carbon dioxide and methane exchange at a restored peatland on the Western Boreal Plain, Ecological Engineering, 64, 231-239.

Comas, X., Kettridge, N., Binley, A., Slater, L., Parsekian, A., Baird, A.J., Strack M., and Waddington J.M. 2013. The effect of peat structure on the spatial distribution of biogenic gases within bogs. Hydrological Processes, doi: 10.1002/hyp.10056.

Strack, M. and Zuback, Y.C.A. 2013. Annual carbon balance of a peatland 10 yr following restoration, Biogeosciences, 10, 2885-2896, doi: 10.5194/bg-10-2885-2013.

Macrae, M.L., Devito, K.J., Strack, M. and Waddington, J.M. 2013. Effect of water table drawdown on nutrient dynamics in temperate peatlands. Biogeochemistry,112, 661-676, doi: 10.1007/s10533-012-9730-3.

Kettridge, N., Binley, A., Comas, X., Cassidy, N.J., Baird, A.J., Harris, A., van der Kruk, J., Strack, M., Milner, A.M., and Waddington, J.M. 2012. Do peatland microforms move through time? Examining the developmental history of a patterned peatland using ground-penetrating radar,  Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 117, G3, doi: 10.1029/2011JG0001876.

Strack, M., Waddington, J.M. 2012. Effects of peat extraction and restoration on greenhouse gas exchange from Canadian peatlands, In Restoration and Reclamation of Boreal Ecosystems, D.H. Vitt, J. Bhatti (eds.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 386-403.

Rochefort, L., Strack, M., Poulin, M., Price, J.S., Graf, M., Desrochers, A., Lavoie, C. 2012. Northern peatlands, In Wetland Habitats of North America: Ecology and Conservation Concerns, Batzer, D.R. and Baldwin, A.H. (eds.), University of Cambridge Press, Los Angeles, 119-134.

Strack, M., Toth, K., Bourbonniere, R., Waddington, J.M. 2011. Dissolved organic carbon production and runoff quality following peatland extraction and restoration. Ecological Engineering, 37, 1998-2008.

Mahmood, Md.S., Strack, M. 2011. Methane dynamics of recolonized cutover minerotrophic peatland: Implications for restoration. Ecological Engineering, 37, 1859-1868.


Photograph of Maria Strack



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