Welcome to the Wieder Ecosystem Ecology/Biogeochemistry Lab at Villanova University!

Our research aims to achieve a better understanding of the structure and function of boreal peatlands, especially with respect to carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur and the biotic and abiotic factors that affect the cycling of these elements. Research themes have included effects of permafrost thaw and wildfire on carbon cycling and peat accumulation and, more recently, effects of increasing nitrogen and sulfur deposition related to gaseous emissions from oil sands development on bogs and poor fens. Our research is a collaborative effort, working with the Melanie Vile lab group at West Chester University and Dale Vitt lab group at Southern Illinois University.

Bogs and poor fens have a nearly continuous cover of Sphagnum mosses that are largely responsible for peat accumulation, and acidic, nutrient-poor porewaters. Bogs are hydrologically isolated from groundwater and/or runoff from adjacent uplands. Bogs are ombrotrophic, receiving inputs of new nutrients from solely from rain and snow. Poor fens, in contrast are minerotrophic, being hydrologically connected to groundwater or runoff from surrounding upland areas, which can be a source of dissolved nutrients.

Typical bog in Alberta. The only tree species is black spruce. Note the abundance of short-statured ericaceous shrubs (Labrador tea, Leatherleaf) and the continuous cover of the peat surface by Sphagnum mosses, mostly Sphagnum fuscum.

Poor fen north of Wabasca, Alberta, with bog in background. Poor fens in Alberta are not treed. White-tufted plants are cotton grass, Eriophorum vaginatum.

For more details about our work, visit the Research tab.

Check out our Lab Team Blog, The 55th Parallel.

Here is a link to Villanova’s Center for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Stewardship, CBEST!

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Social Media Graphics - Black Lives Matter

Our lab values diversity, equity and inclusion. We foster a team approach, working together with mutual respect and support in the pursuit of science. We welcome all individuals without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socioeconomic background. We are stronger together.

Visit Villanova University’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Visit the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Diversity, Equity & Inclusion site

Read the Department of Biology Letter Letter to Students, Faculty and Staff on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Read the CBEST Statement on Anti-racism and Promoting Equality and Justice