Nathan Storey | ALES Graduate Seminar

Date(s) - 07/07/2023
9:30 am - 10:30 am
4-42B Earth Sciences Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton AB

Event details: A graduate exam seminar is a presentation of the student’s final research project for their degree.
This is an ALES MSc Final Exam Seminar by Nathan Storey. This seminar is open to the general public to attend.

MSc with Drs. Sylvie Quideau and Miles Dyck.

Thesis Topic: Wildfire impacts to soil in Alberta’s southern Rocky Mountains: pyrogenic carbon abundance and character on a post-wildfire landscape.


Pyrogenic carbon (PyC) is a broad class of fire byproducts produced during wildfire. This study assessed watersheds affected by the Kenow Wildfire in 2017 in Waterton Park. Soil was sampled in 2018 from 0-5 cm and 2021, from 0-5and 5-15 cm in depth and analyzed for TC, TN, particle size distribution, and PyC quantity via chemical oxidation and chemical composition via pyrolysis-GCMS. Sites were assessed for slope and aspect characteristics. Relationships between PyC and time, depth, burn status, soil texture class, and total carbon were evaluated. Soils from burned watersheds showed enrichment of PyC directly following wildfire and four years afterwards. Levels decreased on short timescales in shallow soils, leading to substantial increases in benzene/aromatics and PAHs in soil from 5-15 cm. The PyC content of soil total carbon decreased on a gradient of time since fire, potentially diluted by OM deposition.

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