Forest Ecology Research Group


Baltzer Photo

Dr. Jennifer Baltzer

Associate Professor & Canada Research Chair in Forests and Global Change

Contact Information

Email: jbaltzer (at)
Phone: 519-884-0710 ext.4188

Academic Background

PhD (2005) Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto
BScH (2000) Department of Biology, Acadia University


2007-11, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Mount Allison University
2005-07, Postdoctoral Fellow Center for Tropical Forest Science, Harvard University

Research Interests

Studies in my lab seek to understand the mechanistic bases of plant species distributions along environmental gradients. By understanding the morphological and physiological mechanisms by which plants respond to environmental change, we can better predict responses of these same species to future conditions. We focus on forest ecosystems including tropical, temperate and boreal forests as well as low arctic tundra.


DSC_5199Dr. Raquel Alfaro Sanchez

Post Doctoral Fellow

Research Topic

Raquel is interested in how forest ecosystems, from Mediterranean, tropical and boreal regions, respond to the unprecedented increase in frequency and intensity of wildfires and climate extremes. Much of her research is focus on the use of tree-ring records to understand the response of growth, climate sensitivity and functional traits of trees to climate change hazards to ultimately provide direct management implications for both, risk mitigation and post-hazard recovery.

Email: r.alfarosanchez(at); Twitter: @RAlfaroSanchez


Dr. Katherine Dearborn

Post Doctoral Fellow

Research Topic

Katherine is interested in plant-environment relationships and vegetation dynamics across environmental gradients in northern and alpine regions. As a postdoctoral fellow in the Forest Ecology Research Group, she will be exploring the influence of thawing permafrost on boreal forest composition and structure. Katherine is part of the growing Northern Water Futures team at Laurier.

email: kdearborn(at); Twitter: @KathDearborn


Dr. Ana Sniderhan

Research Associate

Research Topic

Ana is Laurier’s Global Water Futures ecosystem resilience research associate. Ana is using FERG as her home base but supporting ecological studies across Laurier’s network of research sites.

Email: asniderhan (at); Twitter: @DoctorSpruce

lazy Cory

Cory Wallace

PhD Candidate

Research Topic

Cory’s research interests focus on understanding the mechanisms that control plant species distributions. More specifically, how plants respond to system components such as soil type, water and nutrient availability, neighbouring organisms, and microclimate and how these responses influence where and how plants grow. Cory’s thesis research is focusing on drivers of shrub distribution in tundra ecosystems.

Twitter: @CoryWallace7

Katherine Standen

PhD candidate

Research Topic

Katherine’s research interests involve responses of plants to large scale disturbance. Specifically, Katherine is researching changes in plant community composition, structure and function in response to permafrost thaw in the boreal forest.

Twitter: @StandenKM

Jason Paul

FERG Research Technician

Research Topic

Jason is interested in understanding the importance of the ecological and geological drivers of near-surface ground ice in fine-grained permafrost soils.

Twitter: @jason_r_paul


Alexis Jorgensen

MSc Candidate

Research Topic

Alexis is studying plant recovery in the boreal forest after fire and how this influences local wildlife. She is also very interested in the reconciliation and the integration of traditional knowledge into research and will be working with a local NWT community to ensure that her results are of interest to local people.



Emily Ogden

MSc Candidate

Research Topic

Emily is interested in how the intensification of the wildfire regime in the northern boreal forest is impacting the frequency of ecological state changes over time.

Twitter: @elogden

Former Lab Members


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