Three of Laurentian University’s researchers have won a federal award, which will provide them with funding to focus on aspects of climate change.
Nathan Basiliko, Pascale Roy-Léveillée and Nadia Mykytczuk have received a share of this year’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation.

Professor Basiliko says the funding provides a major investment in infrastructure and research on frozen ground.

He adds the money will help them get access to two vital pieces of equipment, which will allow the team to categorize frozen soils and substrates as they warm.

He says this will allow for the prediction of carbon and pollutant responses to climate change.

Basiliko says the equipment includes an electrical resistivity tomography system, as well as a field-portable H-nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry system.

He explained a bit of the science behind their premise: the temperature of frozen soils and substrates warms up, the amount of unfrozen water increases. So, even at below-zero temperatures, a fraction of unfrozen water supports biological activity responsible for the movement of carbon and pollutants.

Basiliko adds the amount of below-zero-Celsius liquid water also has important implications for ground stability and physical infrastructure in permafrost environments. He believes it will also yield valuable information about how these physical changes to the frozen ground may affect physical infrastructure, including difficult-to-manage industrial (mine, forestry) wastes in colder climates.

Basiliko is also the Canada Research Chair (Tier 2 Environmental Microbiology) at the Vale Living With Lakes Centre of Laurentian University.