Nigel Roulet

Prof. Nigel Roulet

My major areas of interest are ecohydrology, catchment biogeochemistry and ecosystem functions.

Chair of the Department of Geography
James McGill Professor of Biogeosciences
Director, Global Environmental and Climate Change Research Centre

Office: Burnside Hall 620
Tel.: (514)398-4945
Fax: (514)398-7437

nigel.roulet [at] (E-mail)

Academic background

I have a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in biology and physical geography from Trent University (1979, 1981) and a PhD in Geography, specializing in permafrost hydrology from McMaster University (1985).  I spent the first nine years of my academic career in the Department of Geography at York University in Toronto, and moved to the Department of Geography at McGill University in 1994.  While at McGill University I have served as Director of the Centre for Climate and Global Change Research (1996-2002) and the McGill School of Environment (2003-2008).


Research Interests

My primary interest are on the interactions among climate, hydrology, and ecosystem structure and function that determine the biogeochemistry of the gaseous exchanges between ecosystems and the atmosphere and the lateral water exchanges between ecosystems within catchments.  My ecosystems of interest are primarily forests, peatlands and shallow lakes, and the ecoclimatic regions I am most interested in are boreal, subarctic and Arctic.  I approach my research by combining empirical studies from the scale of individual plants to landscapes such as the Hudson Bay Lowlands, with a theoretical approach using simulation.


Current Projects

  • Assessing the structure and function of peatlands of the Hudson Bay Lowlands to determine their sensitivity to climate change
  • Biogeochemistry and hydrology of peatlands experiencing land-use and climate change from the boreal to Arctic ecoclimatic regions
  • Simulating the contemporary carbon dynamics and the long-term carbon accumulation and development of northern peatland ecosystems
  • Production, transport, transformation and export of carbon and nitrogen from old growth forest catchment in areas of high nitrogen deposition.

Selected Publications

Wu, J., Roulet, N.T.,Nilsson, M., Lafleur, P. and Humphreys, E.. Simulating the carbon cycling of northern peatlands using a land surface scheme coupled to a wetland carbon model (CLASS3W-MWM). Atmosphere - Ocean 50:487-506, 2012.

Segura, C., James, A.L., Lazzati, D. and Roulet, N.T. Scaling relationships for event water contributions and transit times in small-forested catchments in Eastern Quebec, Water Resour. Res., 48, 7 doi:10.1029/2012WR011890,  2012.

Lai, D.Y.F., Roulet, N.T., Humphreys, E.R., Moore, T.R., and Dalva, M. The effect of atmospheric turbulence and chamber deployment period on autochamber CO2 and CH4 flux measurements in an ombrotrophic peatland. Biogeoscience 9: 3305–3322, 2012.

Olefeldt, D., Roulet, N.T.. Bergeron, O., Crill, P., Bäckstrand, K and Christensen, T. Sustained carbon accumulation of a high latitude permafrost peatland due to restricted carbon losses: results from a complete two-year contemporary carbon balance study. Geophysical Research Letters 39: L03501, doi:10.1029/2011GL050355, 2012.

Olefeldt, D. and N.T. Roulet. Effects of permafrost and permafrost thaw on dissolved organic carbon in a subarctic peatland complex. JGR-Biogeosciences 117: G01005, doi:10.1029/2011JG001819, 2012.

Wu, J., N.T. Roulet, Moore, T.R., Lafleur, P. and Humphreys, E. Dealing with microtopography of an ombrotrophic bog for simulating ecosystem-level CO2 exchanges. Ecological Modelling 222: 1038-1047, 2011.

Frolking, S., Roulet, N.T., Tuittila, E., Bubier, J.L/,  Quillet,A.,  Talbot, J., and Richard, P.J.H.. A new model of Holocene peatland net primary production, decomposition, water balance, and peat accumulation, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss. 1: 115-167. 10.5194/esdd-1-115-2010, 2010.

Talbot, J., Richard, P.J.H., Roulet, N.T. and Booth, R. Assessing long-term hydrological and vegetation changes following drainage in a bog using paleoecological reconstructions and a hydrosequence.  Vegetation Science 21: 143-156, 2010.

Saint-Hilaire, F., Wu, J., Roulet, N.T., Frolking, S., Lafleur, P.M. and Humphreys, E.R.  McGill Wetland Model: Evaluation of a peatland carbon simulator developed for global assessments. Biogeosciences 7: 3517-3530, 2010.

James, A. and Roulet, N.T..  Examining the contribution of storm runoff across catchments of different sizes. J. Hydrol. 377: 351-366, 2009.

McEnroe, N., Roulet, N.T. and Moore, T.R.. Do pool surface area and depth control CO2 and CH4 fluxes from an ombrotrophic raised bog, James Bay, Canada? JGR-Biogeosciences 114: G01001, doi:10.1029/2007JG000639, 2009.

Frolking, S. and Roulet, N.T..  Holocene radiative forcing impact of northern peatland carbon accumulation and methane emissions. Global Change Biology 13: doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2006.01339, 2007.

Roulet, N.T., Lafleur, P., Richard, P.J.H., Moore, T., Humphreys, E. and Bubier, J. Comparison of a six years carbon balance and the carbon accumulation for the last 3,000 years for a northern peatland. Global Change Biology 13: 397-411, 2007.