Using River Geochemistry to Assess the Impact of Climate Change

Undergraduate student Victoria Lee is standing outdoors, wearing a black jacket and a blue and white scarf. She is standing among rocks, with the ocean behind her.

Victoria Lee, supervised by Professor Clément Bataille

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

During the last year of her undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa, Victoria Lee completed an honours research project under the supervision of Professor Clément Bataille in the ‘Spatio-temporal Analytics of Isotope Variations in the Environment’ (SAiVE) lab. Her project focused on isotope geochemistry of river water in Yukon.

Together with her supervisor, Victoria carried out a project using isotopic tracers (lithium isotopes) to identify seasonal variations in the sources of solutes in the Yukon Territory Peel River. Her greatest achievement was the successful development of mixing models using strontium and lithium isotopes as geochemical tracers to better understand the seasonality of weathering sources in the Ogilvie River (also in Yukon). Studying northern river geochemistry is important in order to assess the impact of climate change on wildlife and consequently on Indigenous communities and resource industries. Victoria used multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (multi-collectorICP-MS) to measure isotope ratio signatures in the water samples.

During the last two years of her undergraduate studies, Victoria was also involved in the Undergraduate Geoscience Association, whose goal is to enrich the student life of undergraduates in geology. They organize events such as the Earth Ring Ceremony, where graduates receive a ring representing their achievement and commitment to practice ethically.

Owing to her impressive research achievements during her undergraduate studies, Victoria was awarded a Canada Graduate Scholarship-Master’s from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). Victoria is currently working on her Master's project in renewable energy at the Institut national de recherche scientifique (INRS) in Québec City, under the supervision of Prof. Raymond Jasmin. During her Master’s, she will spend one year studying at Reykjavik University in Iceland before returning to Québec City to complete her research project.

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