Professor from Canada Shares His Ten-Year Research in the Arctic Tundra

Matthew Lee, Maroon-News Staff

On Wednesday, April 1, the Annual Gould Lecture took place in 27 Persson Hall. The featured lecture, given by Professor Peter Laufleur from the Geography Department of Trent University in Ontario,  was called “Ten Years on the Tundra- Investigation into the Arctic Cycle.” Laufleur is an atmospheric scientist who specializes in the fields of climatology and hydrometeorology and conducts on-site studies of the carbon and water cycling in the Arctic tundra in Canada.

Approximately 50 students and faculty attended Laufluer’s lecture. The lecture was an overview of his ten years of research on the Arctic tundra, more specifically on the Arctic tundra’s relationship to carbon levels. Laufler explained his continuous attempt to collect sufficient data in order to better understand all of the numbers provided on carbon emission. He structured his lecture in conjunction to three scientific issues: is the Arctic tundra the net sink source of the atmospheric carbon? Does climate-warming result in reduced permafrost? How is the vegetation response?

Laufler’s research shows how the carbon cycles of the tundra contribute to the measurement of the entire carbon cycle. Laufler argues that, in order to better understand our environment, the tundra ponds should be researched more extensively. 

Laufler took advantage of visuals in his presentation by presenting diagrams to explain his process and findings, allowing for even those with limited geography background to get a grasp of his research. 

“I thought Dr. Lafleur was a very accessible speaker. I was intrigued as to what his research on the carbon cycles of tundra ponds might mean for other tundra research – past data about tundra CO2 exchange might need to recalculated or rejected,” sophomore Kathryn Chungbin said.

Laufluer also shared memorable personal experiences during his ten-year journey. He showed photos of the research scene, including the field, lab and the crew’s shelter. 

“The statistics and all were interesting, but I appreciated how we were able look into the life of [an] Arctic tundra scientist,” first-year Jefferson Bai said.

Laufluer concluded his lecture by sharing his hypothesis and the direction of the study in the future. He said that predictions depend on the knowledge of environmental interactions in the tundra carbon cycle and that researchers have to think past their current research to what it might hold for the future, in order to improve and develop.