PerosLab: Global change • Geoarcheology • Anthropocene
Dr. Matthew Peros

Dr. Matthew Peros

Director of Laboratory

I am a broadly trained physical geographer working at the interface between the climatological, ecological, and archaeological sciences. My research seeks to answer fundamental questions within two broad areas: (1) what have been the driving forces behind climate and landscape change during the Late Quaternary? and (2), how has the natural environment constrained/provided opportunities for cultural and biological change? To address questions in these areas, I use a field- and laboratory-based approach, integrating information derived from geological (e.g., sedimentological, geochemical) and paleoecological (e.g., palynological) investigations with archaeological and paleontological data. At present, my regional specializations include eastern Canada and the Caribbean, although I have also worked in high-latitude (northern) environments.

Postdoctoral experience: Laboratory for Paleoclimatology and Climatology, University of Ottawa
PhD: Physical Geography, University of Toronto
MSc: Physical Geography, York University
BSc: Archaeological Sciences and Geography, University of Toronto

Current members

Sydney Moser

Sydney Moser

MSc candidate, Geography, Environment and Geomatics, University of Ottawa (co-supervised with Dr. André Viau).

My master’s research focuses on reconstructing Holocene climate dynamics in the Caribbean, especially as it relates to understanding interactions between hurricane activity and droughts. I will be doing this as part of a collaborative project with the Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institution, analyzing a sediment core collected from offshore Haiti, using a multi-proxy approach of grain size analysis, XRF core-scanning, and other indicators.

Martin Saint-Michel, P.Eng

Martin Saint-Michel, P.Eng

MSc candidate, Physics and Astronomy Department, Bishop’s University (co-supervised with Dr. Lorne Nelson, Physics and Astronomy Department)

Cycles and patterns in climate are my main interests. My perspective on the study of climate comes from the principles of physics and I like to study how the laws of nature interact to create what we observe in the real world. I am particularly interested in nature’s capacity to generate rapid radical changes in the climate. The self-similar patterns produced by pollen and other proxies and their relation to biodiversity trigger my curiosity.

Felipe Matos Pupo

Felipe Matos Pupo

PhD candidate, Bishop’s University
Auxiliary Professor, University of Ciego de Avila, and Research Scientist, CIEC, Cuba

My research goals regarding climate change are to: (1) seek answers regarding the drivers that trigger climatic changes, focusing on the contribution of both anthropogenic and natural phenomena; (2) assess the connection between biological and sociocultural variations and environmental changes in the corresponding historical context, particularly the paleo-aboriginal one; (3) study the relations between climate change and meteorological hazards.

Claire O’Neill Sanger

Claire O’Neill Sanger

MSc candidate, Geography, Planning and Environment, Concordia University (co-supervised with Dr. Jeannine-Marie St-Jacques).

My core research interests are forest dynamics in Canada as well as environmental management and philosophy. My master’s research, under the co-supervision of Dr. Peros and Dr. St-Jacques, involves studying pollen from lake sediment cores in order to reconstruct forest changes over the past millennium in southern Québec. With the resulting paleo-environmental records we will attempt to determine if recent environmental variability is caused by global warming.

Antoine Lachance

Antoine Lachance

MSc candidate, Geography, Planning and Environment, Concordia University (co-supervised with Dr. Jeannine-Marie St-Jacques)

My research interests involve extreme weather events, the role of deep-time perspectives on our understanding of climate change, and the integration of long-term climate reconstructions into today’s climate adaptation policies. For my master’s research, under the supervision of Dr. Peros and Dr. St-Jacques, I will be studying evidence of past hurricanes in sediment cores from the Magdalen Islands, a small archipelago in the Gulf of St-Lawrence. With the resulting paleo-storm record, I hope to gain a long-term perspective on the role of extreme weather events on the archipelago’s shoreline which currently experiences considerable erosion.

Tanya O’Reilly

Tanya O’Reilly

BSc candidate, Biodiversity & Ecology and Environmental Science, and NSERC USRA holder, Bishop’s University

Hi, I’m Tanya O’Reilly, a third year double major student at Bishop’s University. Science has always held a special place in my heart, and I am fascinated by different species of flora and fauna and how they interact with their environment. Over the years, I’ve learned that this is my main passion. Hence, I enrolled in two programs: Biodiversity & Ecology and Environmental Science since they both encompass my overall goal to hopefully be able to save endangered animals. I am not only an environmentalist but an animal activist as well. So, I do spend most of my time with my plants and my pug, but outside of school I enjoy video games, yoga, and pizza!

Research Associates

Joao Gabriel Martínez López

Joao Gabriel Martínez López

My main research interest concerns the taphonomic interpretation of deposits of fossil vertebrates and ancient humans. I use Taphonomy as a basic principle to study the natural and anthropic factors (mechanisms of taphonomic alteration) that influence the origin and formation of deposits, and the state of conservation of bone remains, and obtain data that can correlate certain paleoenvironmental factors that could be responsible for it.

Anna Agosta G'meiner, MSc

Anna Agosta G'meiner, MSc

My research interests focus on the impacts of Quaternary climate change, particularly on vegetation, sea level rise, and human activity. Using palynology, and other paleoecological indicators, I reconstruct past environments and examine environmental changes through long timescales. Currently, I support the lab in various projects, including developing a macro charcoal record of a site in northern Cuba.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr. Leeli Amon-Veskimeister, winter 2017

Leeli’s research focuses on vegetation dynamics, in particular, the functional and phylogenetic diversity of sedimentary pollen and plant macrofossil data. This is done by evaluating the methods and associations with past climate and human impact. She received a PhD from Tallinn University of Technology and Tartu University, and an MSc from Tartu University. At Bishop’s, Leeli worked on understanding the late Glacial vegetation and climate history of southern Quebec through plant macrofossil analysis.

Dr. Shawn Collins, 2015

Shawn’s research focuses on karst topography and the sedimentary sequences recorded in anchialine caves and cenotes. Harsh limnological conditions promote conformable sedimentary records which can be utilized as a proxy for a number of geoscience and archaeological applications. His research focused on interpreting the ancient sedimentary record by studying the external forcing mechanisms which control sedimentation in these unique environments. He received a PhD and MSc degree from McMaster University. While a member of the PerosLab, Shawn worked on the geochemical analysis of a sediment core from Cenote Jennifer, Cuba, using XRF core-scanning data.

Completed Ph.D. and M.Sc. Students

Mercedes Liedtke, M.Sc. (2020)
University of Ottawa (co-supervised by Dr. André Viau)

My master’s research was focused on the investigation of climate impacts in the Caribbean during the late Pleistocene. Specifically, my M.Sc. thesis involved the analysis of a speleothem from western Cuba using stable isotopes of oxygen and carbon to reconstruct past hydroclimatic variability. The main findings of my thesis were that from the period from 100 – 68 ka, Caribbean climate was highly influenced by the D-O cycles and Heinrich events that occurred in the North Atlantic Ocean, suggesting strong high northern latitude-subtropical climate teleconnections.

Stéphanie Chune, M.Env., (2019)
Université de Sherbrooke

My master’s paper involved a comparative analysis of mangroves in South Asia (specifically the Sundarbans in Bangladesh and India and the Mekong Delta in Vietnam) for the purpose of formulating recommendations concerning their sustainable management and development.

Frank Oliva, PhD (2017)
University of Ottawa (co-supervised by Dr. André Viau)

My PhD research was on paleotempestology, the study of past tropical cyclones using geological proxy techniques, which is a growing discipline that utilizes data from a broad range of sources. I pushed the boundaries of paleotempestology in Nova Scotia by going beyond “established proxies”, such as grain-size analysis, loss-on-ignition, and micropaleontological indicators. During my PhD, I applied more advanced geochemical analyses, such as X-ray fluorescence (XRF) core scanning and stable isotopic geochemistry to generate new paleotempestological records from Atlantic Canada.

Anna Agosta G’meiner, MSc (2016)
McGill University (co-supervised by Dr. Gail Chmura)

My master’s research focused on investigating climate change impacts in the Caribbean region during the Holocene. A sediment core from a flooded sinkhole on Cayo Coco, Cuba was extracted and provided records of vegetation change, climate change, storm impacts, prehistoric human impacts on the environment, and sea level changes. Pollen analysis was the primary proxy developed to identify past changes in regional vegetation and to examine to what extent the Little Ice Age, the Medieval Warm Period, and human impacts recorded in other Caribbean locations are detectable in the pollen record.

Benjamin Marquis, MSc (2015)
Université de Sherbrooke (co-supervised by Dr. Mark Vellend)

The fundamental question that was the focus of my master’s research was: are species more sensitive to climate change at their distributional range limits than in the “center” of their ranges? To assess this question, I used dendroecological techniques (tree rings) to determine climate-growth relationships of sugar maple and birch trees along an altitudinal gradient at Mont Mégantic, southern Québec. As well, I tested whether tree growth increased in recent decades as a result of changes in climate. This research project will allow a quantitative test of the hypothesis that species at their distribution range limits are more sensitive to climate.

Honours Projects

Sydney Moser, 2017-2018
BSc Environmental Studies and Geography, Bishop’s University

Sydney Gilmour, 2017-2018
BSc, Bishop’s University
Investigating Influences of the Latitude Diversity Gradient on Taxa-Area Relationship for Modern Pollen Data (co-supervised with Dr. Jade Savage, Biology).

Mercedes Liedtke, 2016-2017
BSc, Bishop’s University
Oxygen and carbon isotopic analysis of foraminifera from Cenote Jennifer, Cayo Coco, Cuba.

Ashley Parker, 2015-2016
BA, Bishop’s University
Sediment laminations from a flooded sinkhole on Cayo Coco, Cuba: implications for paleoclimatology.

Jennifer Ward, 2014-2015
BA, Bishop’s University
Historic Human Impact at the Johnville Peat Bog Inferred from Pollen Data

Jamie Carroll, 2013-2014
BA, Bishop’s University
Late Holocene climate history of the Johnville Peat Bog using testate amoeba data

Benjamin Marquis, 2013-2014
BSc, Université de Sherbrooke
Tree-ring analysis of sugar maple on Mont Megantic, southern Quebec

Andrew Manouck, 2012-2013
BA, Bishop’s University
Tree-ring analysis of Picea mariana (black spruce) from the Johnville Peat Bog, Eastern Townships, Quebec


Research Assistants

Aidan McGillis, winter 2019
B.Sc. Environmental Sciences, NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award

Zachary Masson, summer 2018
BA, Concordia University

Fanny Lashcari, summer 2018
Intern from SupAgro, Montpellier, France

Geetanjali Deole, summer 2017
Mitacs Globalink Research Internship
Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines), India

Luís Guilherme Moreira da Silva, summer 2017
Mitacs Globalink Research Internship
Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil

Angela Lanza, 2014-2016 (Lab Technician)
BSc Environmental Sciences

Chelsey Paquette, 2015-2016
BSc candidate, Life Sciences Biology- Ecology and Biodiversity
Bishop’s University

Kaitlyn Sjonnesen, summer 2014
BSc Biology, NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award
Bishop’s University

Charles Parent-Moreau, summer 2014
BA Environmental Studies and Geography
Bishop’s University

Leila Ponsford, summers 2012 & 2013
BSc Chemistry and BEd, NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award
Bishop’s University

Hayley Roberts, 2012-2013
BSc Biology
Bishop’s University

Julien Vachon, summer 2013
BSc Environmental Science
Bishop’s University

Jamie Carroll, summer 2013
BA Environmental Studies and Geography
Bishop’s University

Kathleen Chan, summer 2012
BSc Biology & B.A. Environmental Studies
Bishop’s University

Amelie Genovese, fall 2012
BA Environmental Studies
Bishop’s University

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