Permafrost thaw and vegetation change

Nina Vogt in the field

Nina Vogt recently completed her master's on how permafrost thaw influences vegetation change in Yukon and Northwest Territories. This research helps us understand how landscape changes as permafrost thaws and how vegetation and wildlife respond to these changes. Understanding what vegetation might look like in the future can help support processes like land-use planning in Yukon.

Nina spent the last two years analyzing the effects of thawing permafrost on vegetation. She surveyed the type of vegetation present on permafrost at varying levels of thaw, from permafrost that had not experienced thaw to fully degraded permafrost. She also examined geophysical surveys to understand the permafrost characteristics at her study sites and made predictions about how these were influencing vegetation change. This multidisciplinary project focused on how both ecological and geophysical data interact.

Nina worked under the supervision of Dr. Fiona Schmiegelow, through our partnered UAlberta North/YukonU program and with co supervision from the YukonU Research Chair in Permafrost and Geoscience, Dr. Fabrice Calmels. Student research assistants through the YukonU Research Centre supported the collection of field data for this project.