Research Interests

Stable Isotope Precipitation Sampling (SIPS) Project

Determining the local meteoric water line using seasonal precipitation samples across the island of Newfoundland.

We (Kendra Revoy, Penny Morrill, and Michael Babechuk) will be testing precipitation samples across the island for the relative proportions of δ2H and δ18O to build a local meteoric water line. The linear relationship between these stable isotopes varies by geographic location and can be used in several geoscientific applications such as determining the origin of groundwater, tracing local relative humidity, studying local climate, or as a tracer of climate change.

Visit SIPS Project Page


Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe (i.e., past and present extraterrestrial life and life on Earth). One extra-terrestrial process of astrobiological interest is serpentinization. Serpentinization is suspected on moons, such as Enceladus, and may be occurring today in the subsurface of Mars. The DELTAS research group focuses on terrestrial analogue sites of serpentinization to understand how life survives in these extreme subsurface systems, and determine what biomarkers are preserved in these systems. We also use these systems to source methane generation at these sites. This research is currently funded by NSERC’s Discovery Grant Program and the Canadian Space Agency.

Related link(s):
Study of Electrical potential, Remote sensing, and Preservation of biosignatures at sites of serpentinization (SERP) 

CCSNL – Carbon Capture and Storage NL

Global temperatures are rising, in part, due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The DELTAS research group studies the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere by converting it into long-term storage -carbonate rock. This process already happens naturally in some igneous rocks, at sites of serpentinization, and in some mine tailings, etc. Canada has many locations that have the potential to sequester CO2 through CO2 mineralization. We are focusing our investigations in the Canadian province of Newfoundland. Newfoundland has the geologic, geographic, and climatic conditions necessary for prolonged CO2 mineralization including ultramafic rocks, geologic stability, access to water, and a wet and windy climate.

Related link:
Flux of methane release and carbon dioxide sequestration at Winterhouse Canyon, Gros Morne, Newfoundland, Canada: a site of continental serpentinization

Reservoir Souring Remediation and Prevention

Reservoir souring is when H2S is released from a hydrocarbon reservoir. It is often associated with secondary recovery efforts. The DELTAS research group studies methods to inhibition of microbial sulfate reduction, and methods for characterizing the microbial community.

Related link(s):
Reducing challenges related to reservoir souring in province’s offshore

Profiling of Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria in an Offshore Oil Reservoir Using Phospholipid Fatty Acid (PLFA) Biomarkers

Investigation of seasonal pattern of microbial community structure and identification of sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) in seawater samples

Acid Mine Drainage Remediation

Mining is one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest and oldest industries. Currently, nickel, copper, zinc, cobalt, and gold are mined from NL’s volcanic massive sulfides. The mining of these metals creates large amounts of solid waste tailings that need to be disposed of. When water comes into contact with these tailing there is a potential for acid mine drainage (AMD) generation, which produces very acidic water with levels of dissolved metals such as copper that are toxic to aquatic life.  The DELTAS research group investigates sustainable methods (i.e. phytoremediation, as well as, natural and enhanced attenuation) for the remediation of AMD in NL.

Related link:
Investigation of seasonal pattern of microbial community structure and identification of sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) in seawater samples