User:Darya Anderson

From OpenWetWare
Darya Anderson in Abisko, Sweden

Contact Information

  • Darya N Anderson
  • Burnside Hall Room 321

805 rue Sherbrooke Ouest Montreal, QC H3A 0B9

Darya Anderson hiking at Grand Canyon


  • McGill University
  • MS in Geography
  • Expected Graduation: April 2018
Darya Anderson at Hare Harbor, Labrador
  • University of Arizona
  • BS in Soil Water and Environmental Science
  • Minors in Spanish and Public Health
  • Graduation Date: May 2016
Darya Anderson celebrating mid summer

Research interests

  • Environmental justice
  • Vulnerability and adaptation to climate changes
  • Intersections of environmental and community health
  • Microbial ecology
Darya Anderson playing music

Current and Future Projects

  • In SWES-MEL, my major research focus was microbial substrate utilization across a permafrost thaw gradient in sub arctic Sweden. It is clear that organic matter of the peat (soil with high organic matter content due to slow decomposition) and greenhouse gas emissions change with thaw but it is not clear what substrates are being used by microbes that are resulting in elevated emissions of carbon dioxide and methane in fully thawed features. Permafrost thaw serves as a positive feedback to global warming and I was trying to understand microbial metabolic processes in order to estimate the magnitude that thawing permafrost systems will accelerate climate change. To address these uncertainties, I conducted incubation experiments of peat amended with various substrates (see below methods figures), from two thaw features of Stordalen Mire (a peatland) in Sweden. I have written my honors thesis on some of my findings and the thesis is now in the preparation stages for publication.
methods for incubations
  • By the end of my undergraduate career my broad research interests evolved into questions and issues that are at the intersection of environmental and community health. In the final year of my undergrad, I participated in the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology (BARA), at the University of Arizona. During this internship, I explored environmental challenges on the US-Mexico border. Water quality is a concern in the Santa Cruz watershed, which spans the US and Mexico. Nogales, Sonora wastewater flows across the US border. In a region where water resources are scarce and wastewater treatment is costly, this creates a problem, especially in informal settlements that lack access to city infrastructure. In 2007-8, composting toilets were identified and selected by a diverse group of stakeholders as a solution to minimize water use, decrease wastewater, & increase water quality. I am addressing research questions: Have composting toilets been successful? Why and why not, and how might these lessons apply to similar projects elsewhere? In the final semester of the internship, I branched off from my small team and assessed the success and effectiveness of composting toilets built by the Watershed Management Group (WMG) in my local community of Tucson, Arizona. Composting toilet development in Tucson, Arizona faces unique legal and political obstacles. It was critical to assess the toilets to collect data for the local departments of environmental quality to reconsider the legality of these toilets and the potential efficacy of these toilets in a water scarce region. Additionally, the local data I collected could be compared to similar data that is continuing to be collected on the border region. The social science methodology from this internship experienced served as a link to my current research in the Geography department at McGill University.
  • My current research aims also lie at the intersection of the environment and community but they also encompass specific climate change vulnerability and adaptation issues. As a first year Geography graduate student in the lab of Dr. James Ford, I will research the current and future vulnerability of a Canadian Arctic community that is experiencing climate changes. Specifically, I will research the impact pathway of permafrost thaw on bakeapple picking. See below schematic for a possible impact pathway of permafrost thaw on bakeapple picking. I hope to learn how permafrost thaw is impacting the people who live in these fragile environments via social science research methods. This will enable me to integrate my current understanding of the biophysical systems with community members experience and understanding of the climate related changes. Understanding the vulnerability of groups of people to climate change will be important in creating adaptation policies.
Possible impact pathway of permafrost thaw on bakeapple picking

Other Interests

I enjoy being outside, whether it is biking, hiking, doing yoga, swimming, skiing or gardening. I also find joy in singing and playing the piano.