Dr. Colin McCarter

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Assistant Professor / Faculty of Arts and Science - Geography and Geology
Assistant Professor / Faculty of Arts and Science - Biology and Chemistry
Environmental / Faculty of Arts and Science - Biology and Chemistry
Full-time Faculty
Graduate Program Faculty
BES (Honours), University of Waterloo
MSc, University of Waterloo
PhD, University of Waterloo
Areas of Specialization

Ecohydrology, Contaminants, Mercury, Climate and Environmental Change, Wetland Restoration, Solute Transport

Research Interests

My research focuses how the interactions and feedbacks between ecohydrological, biogeochemical, and soil physical processes control the movement of water, nutrients, carbon, and contaminants in northern landscapes under a changing climate. I am particularly interested in how the structure of organic soils, like peat, govern water and contaminant flow. I am also pursing novel restoration techniques to accelerate peatland restoration and developing methods to restore heavily contaminated peatlands.

Current & Future Research

My research focuses on two parallel and complementary themes:

  1. Understanding how wetlands and landscape interfaces govern water quality using reactive transport
  2. Development of novel wetland restoration techniques to accelerate the return of ecohydrological functionality and carbon sequestration

I am actively recruiting graduate students for projects related to both research themes. If you are interested, please email me at colinmcc@nipissingu.ca.

Published/In Press Journal Articles, Books, and Book Chapters

Gauthier, T-L., Elliott, J.B., McCarter, C., Price, J. Field-scale compression of Sphagnum moss to improve water retention in a restored bog. Journal of Hydrology. 162B, 128160. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2022.128160

Price, J., McCarter, C., Quinton, B. (in press) Groundwater in Peat and Peatlands. In The Groundwater Project (www.gw-project.org), Guelph, Ontario, Canada. *Digital Book

Lehan, K, McCarter, C., Moore, P., Waddington, J. Effect of stockpiling time on donor-peat hydrophysical properties: implications for peatland restoration. Ecological Engineering. 182, 106701. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2022.106701

Wilkinson, S., McCarter, C., Muh, T., Noble, A., Nwaishi, F., Shuttleworth, E., and Davidson, S., (in press) Impacts of Anthropogenic Disturbances on Peatland Carbon Cycling. In Peatlands and Climate Change. International Peatland Society, Jyväskylä, Finland. *Book Chapter

McCarter, C., Eggert, S., Sebestyen, S., Kolka, R., Mitchell, C. Effects of clearcutting and residual biomass harvesting on mercury mobilization and downgradient mercury accumulation from a shallow hillslope. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 127, e2022JG006826. https://doi.org/10.1029/2022JG006826

Wu, Y., Xu, X., McCarter, C., Zhang, N., de Lannoy, C. (2022) Low-severity wildfire increases the short-term leaching of TOC, nutrients and phenols from boreal peatland soils: Implications to source water protection. Science of the Total Environment. 80(20), 153579. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.153579

Golubev, V., McCarter, C., Whittington, P. (2021) Variability of soil hydrophysical properties within Sphagnum moss profiles. Journal of Hydrology, 603. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2021.126956

McCarter, C*., Wilkinson, S*., Moore, P., Waddington, M. (2021) Ecohydrological trade-offs from multiple peatland disturbances: The interactive effects of drainage, harvesting, restoration and wildfire in a southern Ontario bog. Journal of Hydrology, 126793. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2021.126793 *Authors contributed equally to the manuscript and are considered co-first authors.

McCarter, C., Sebestyen, S., Kolka, R., Eggert, S., Mitchell, C. (2021) Subsurface transport mechanisms of isotopically enriched inorganic mercury under different forestry management practices on low gradient hillslopes, Biogeochemistry, 154, 119-138. DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10533-021-00801-y

Ackley, C., Tank, S., Haynes, K., Rezanezhad, F., McCarter, C., Quinton, W. (2021) Coupled hydrological and geochemical impacts of wildfire in peatland-dominated regions of discontinuous permafrost, Science of the Total Environment, 782, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146841

McCarter, C., Sebestyen, S., Kolka, R., Eggert, S., Mitchell, C. (2020) Changes in hillslope hydrology in a perched, shallow soil system due to clearcutting and residual biomass removal, Hydrological Processes, 1-16. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/HYP.13948

McCarter, C, Rezanezhad, F., Quinton, W., Gharedaghloo, B., Lennartz, B., Price, J., Connon, R., Van Cappellen, P. (2020) Pore-scale controls on hydrological and geochemical processes in peat: Implications on interacting processes, Earth-Science Reviews, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2020.103227

Rezanezhad, F., McCarter, C., Lennartz, B. (2020) Wetland Biogeochemistry: Response to Environmental Change. Frontiers in Environmental Science – Biogeochemical Dynamics, DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fenvs.2020.00055

Lane, D*., McCarter, C*., Richardson, M., McConnell, C., Field, T., Yao, H., Arhonditsis, G., Mitchell, C.P.J. (2020) Wetlands and low gradient topography are associated with longer hydrologic transit times in Precambrian Shield headwater catchments, Hydrological Processes, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.13609 *Authors contributed equally to the manuscript and are considered co-first authors.

McCarter, C., Rezanezhad, F., Gharedaghloo, B., Price, J., Van Cappellen, P. (2019) Transport of chloride and deuterated water in peat: The role of anion exclusion, diffusion, and anion adsorption in a dual porosity organic media. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 225: 103497, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jconhyd.2019.103497

McCarter, C., Weber, T., Price, J. (2018) Competitive transport processes of chloride, sodium, potassium, and ammonium in fen peat. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jconhyd.2018.08.004

Gauthier, T-L., McCarter, C., Price, J. (2018) The effect of compression on Sphagnum hydrophysical properties: Implications for increasing hydrological connectivity in restored cutover peatlands, Ecohydrology, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/eco.2020

Balliston, N., McCarter, C., Price, J. (2018) Microtopographical and hydrophysical controls on a continuous subsurface solute transport experiment in a sub-arctic bog peatland. Hydrological Processes, 32(19): 2963-2975. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.13236

Lin, J., Ma, R., Hu, Y., Sun, Z., Wang, Y., McCarter, C. (2018) Groundwater sustainability and groundwater and surface water interaction in an arid inland basin, northwestern China. Hydrogeology Journal, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-018-1743-0

McCarter, C., Branfireun, B., Price, J. (2017) Nutrient and mercury transport in a sub-arctic ladder fen peatland subjected to simulated wastewater discharges. Science of the Total Environment. 609:1349-1360, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.07.225

McCarter, C., Ketcheson, S., Whittington, P., Scarlett, S., Price, J. (2017) A modified technique for measuring the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity in Sphagnum moss. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 81:747-757, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2136/sssaj2017.01.0006

McCarter, C., Price, J. (2017) The transport dynamics of chloride and sodium in a ladder fen during a continuous wastewater polishing experiment. Journal of Hydrology, 549: 558-570, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2017.04.033

McCarter, C., Price, J. (2017) Experimental hydrological loading to illustrate water flow processes of a ladder fen peatland. Hydrological Processes, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hyp.11127

Strack, M., Zuback, Y., McCarter, C., Price, JS. (2015) Changes in dissolved organic carbon quality in soils and discharge 10 years after peatland restoration. Journal of Hydrology. 527: 345-354 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.04.061

McCarter, C., Price, J. (2015) The hydrology of the Bois-des-Bel peatland restoration: hydrophysical properties limiting connectivity between regenerated Sphagnum and remnant vacuum harvested peat deposit. Ecohydrology. 8: 179-187 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/eco.1498

McCarter, C., Price, J. (2013) The hydrology of the Bois-des-Bel bog peatland restoration: 10 years post restoration. Ecological Engineering. 55: 73-81 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2013.02.003

McCarter, C., Price, J. (2014) Ecohydrology of Sphagnum moss hummocks: mechanisms of capitula water supply and simulated effects of evaporation. Ecohydrology. 7:33-44, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/eco.1313


Published Data Products

McCarter, C., Sebestyen, S., Eggert, S., Huang, H(P)., Kolka, R, Mitchell, C. 2022. Soil and invertebrate chemistry data for a forest clearcutting and residual biomass removal study at the Marcell Experimental Forest. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2022-0024

McCarter, C., Sebestyen, S., Eggert, S., Haynes, K., Huang, H(P)., Larson, J., Oleheiser, K., Kolka, R, Mitchell, C. 2021. Water chemistry data for a forest clearcutting and residual biomass removal study at the Marcell Experimental Forest. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2021-0007

McCarter, C., Sebestyen, S., Eggert, S., Kolka, R, Mitchell, C. 2020. Hydrological data and site feature information for a forest clearcutting and residual biomass removal study at the Marcell Experimental Forest. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2019-0049


Other Published Work

Whittington, P., McCarter, C., Gauthier, T-L., Balliston, N., Price, J. 2020. Squishing moss for peat’s sake!. Peatlands International, International Peatland Society, Jyväskylä, Finland. 4:32-35