Claire Ruffing Cathcart                                                                                      

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Stream and Riparian Research Lab

Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences

University of British Columbia

3041-2424 Main Mall

Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6T 1Z4


Stream ecosystems are fundamentally influenced by disturbances and are now considered to be the most impacted ecosystems in the world due to pressures from human activities, increased nutrient loads, altered biodiversity, and climate change. Because streams are highly dynamic environments displaying varying degrees of heterogeneity over space and time, it is challenging to isolate the effects of disturbances from naturally occurring variability. Linking geomorphic mechanisms with properties of ecosystem function across appropriate spatial and temporal scales is an important step towards identifying system thresholds and features that promote resilience and resistance to disturbance events impacting streams.

My research is aimed at integrating functional relationships between geomorphic and ecosystem processes to explain responses following disturbance events and human activities. My previous research used field-based techniques along with a variety of modeling approaches to understand the ways in which light, temperature, channel storage, and watershed properties influence stream ecosystem metabolism, watershed biogeochemistry, and nutrient processing. Here at UBC, I will be building on these experiences to develop a spatially-explicit model comparing the downstream impacts of forest management strategies on metrics of ecosystem function and stability.