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Nathan Basiliko

Nathan Basiliko

CRC Tier 2 Environmental Microbiology

Living with Lake Centre, Laurentian University

935 Ramsey Lake Road

Sudbury, Ontario

P3E 2C6

NBasiliko@laurentian.ca

t. 705-675-1151 ext. 4150


Research overview:
Environmental microbiology; soil science; ecosystem ecology; wetlands; forest; soil science; global and environmental change; natural resource management; ecosystem restoration
Microorganisms play vital roles in ecosystems. Our group’s work explores soil and sediment microbial communities and microorganisms. In particular, we focus on microbial responses to human-induced environmental changes that have consequences for greenhouse gas fluxes, nutrient, pollutant, and carbon dynamics, as well as broader ecosystem sustainability. Most of our current research projects are in applied settings (e.g. in managed forests; mining-impacted landscapes) with important private sector and governmental research partners. However, we also explore more universal controls on microbial diversity in soils, links between diversity and activity, and are interested in how different soil microbial communities transform plant tissues into soil organic matter and then subsequently decompose this organic matter to mineral products, including greenhouse gases. Field research sites span the north temperate (Great Lakes St Lawrence Forest) and boreal forests of eastern and central Canada and peatlands (globally important carbon-accumulating wetlands with organic soils) across Canada and the USA. New work is underway in industrial-impacted landscapes in Sudbury, including mine tailings management areas and smelter-impacted forests, wetlands, and lakes.

Students are the crux of our research program! Please contact me by email if you are interested in finding out more about doctoral, masters, or undergraduate research opportunities.

Current students and post-doctoral fellows (at Laurentian University)
•Dr. Martin Brummell (PDF at the Vale Living with Lakes Centre)
•Dr. Asma Asemaninejad (PDF at the Vale Living with Lakes Centre; co-supervised with Nadia Mykytczuk)
•Kelly Chan-Yam (PhD student, Boreal Ecology, Laurentian University)
•James Seward (PhD student, Boreal Ecology, Laurentian University)
•Sabrina Desjardins (PhD student, Natural Resources Engineering, Laurentian University; co-supervised with J Ashley Scott)
•Michelle Dart (MSc student, Biology, Laurentian University)
•Leland Johnston (MSc student, Biology, Laurentian University)
•Tom Snyder (part-time MSc student, Biology, Laurentian University)
•Jesse Hoage (MSc student, Biology, Laurentian University; co-supervised with Lisa Venier at the Canadian Forest Service)
•Saskia Hart (MSc student, Biology, Laurentian University; co-supervised with Lisa Venier at the Canadian Forest Service)
•Jonathan Lavigne (MSc student, Biology, Laurentian University; co-supervised with Peter Beckett)
•Adam Kirkwood (MSc student, Biology, Laurentian University; co-supervised with Pascale Roy-Léveillée)
•Robyn Rumney (MSc student, Biology, Laurentian University; co-supervised with John Gunn)
•Merritt Kennedy (MASc student, Engineering, Laurentian University; co-supervised with J Ashley Scott)
•Adrian Kuchtaruk (NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Award-funded researcher; Undergraduate honours thesis student at Queens University with Paul Grogan)
•Chantae Robinson (Undergraduate honours thesis student, BSc student, Biology, Laurentian University; co-supervised with Pascale Roy-Léveillée)
•Heather Patterson (Undergraduate honours thesis student, BSc student, Biology, Laurentian University; co-supervised with Peter Beckett)
•Amy Laframboise (Undergraduate honours thesis student, BSc student, School of the Environment, Laurentian University)

Past students (at Laurentian University and the University of Toronto)
•Michael Carson (PhD 2018, Laurentian University)
•Jesse Hoage (MSc 2017, Laurentian University; co-supervised with Lisa Venier at the Canadian Forest Service)
•Kurt Yakimovich (MSc 2017, Laurentian University; co-supervisor with Nadia Mykytczuk)
•Shanay Williams-Johnson (MSc 2016, Laurentian University; co-supervisor with Nadia Mykytczuk)
•Bryce Robinson (Undergraduate honours thesis, 2016, Laurentian University)
•Jason Shabaga (PhD, 2016, University of Toronto)
•Genevieve Noyce (PhD 2016, University of Toronto; co-supervisor with R Fulthorpe)
•Carolyn Winsborough (PhD 2015, University of Toronto)
•Galen Guo (MSc 2015, Laurentian University)
•Adam Gorgolewski (MSc-F 2015, University of Toronto, co-supervised with John Caspersen)
•Gurpreet Aulakh (Undergraduate honours thesis, 2015, Laurentian University)
•Jennifer Pichette (Undergraduate honours thesis, 2015, Laurentian University)
•Emily Smenderovac (MSc-F 2014, University of Toronto; co-supervised with John Caspersen)
•Michael Preston (PhD 2013, University of Toronto)
•Michael McTavish (Undergraduate honours thesis, 2012, University of Toronto)
•Stephanie Pugliese (Undergraduate honours thesis, 2012, University of Toronto)
•Darcie McNeill (Undergraduate honours thesis, 2012, University of Toronto)
•Tara Sackett (PDF 2010-13, University of Toronto)
•Varun Gupta (MSc 2011 and Undergraduate honours thesis, 2009, University of Toronto)
•Aaron Godin (Undergraduate honours thesis, 2010, University of Toronto)
•Kristine Haynes (Undergraduate honours thesis, 2010, University of Toronto)
•Phil Rudz (Undergraduate honours thesis, 2010, University of Toronto)
•Cori Armés (MSc 2009, University of Toronto)
•Britney Myers (Undergraduate honours thesis, 2009, University of Toronto)
•Natalia Voloshchuk (Undergraduate honours thesis, 2009, University of Toronto)
•Carolyn Winsborough (NSERC USRA summer student 2008, University of Toronto)

Education and professional experience:
•Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair (current) Laurentian University
•Associate Editor, FEMS Microbiology Letters (2015-)
•Associate Editor, Canadian Journal of Soil Science (2013-)
•I was on the Council (Eastern Councillor) of the Canadian Society of Soil Science (2015-2016)
•Assistant and Associate Professor (2006-13) University of Toronto (Mississauga campus), Department of Geography
•Visiting Scientist (2006, via a UK Royal Society travel fellowship) University of Warwick, Coventry, U.K. Department of Biological Sciences (Prof. Colin Murrell, supervisor/host)
•Post-Doctoral Fellow (2004-06) University of British Columbia, Forest Sciences (Dr. SJ Grayston, supervisor)
•Ph.D. (2005) McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Department of Geography (Dr. TR Moore, supervisor)
•German Academic Exchange Society student fellow (2003) Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg, Germany (Dr. Peter Dunfield, supervisor)
•B.S. (1999) Cornell University, Ithaca, USA. Concentration in Natural Resources (Dr. JB Yavitt, supervisor)

Publications (on Google Scholar) http://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=ed1fimwAAAAJ

Current funded research projects
The functional role of microbial diversity in terrestrial ecosystems. This broad project is funded by a NSERC Discovery Grant and the Canada Research Chairs programme and is supporting research in Canadian peatland, forest, and lake ecosystems. Some of my key collaborators on this work are Kurt Smemo (Skidmore College), Joe Yavitt (Cornell University), Suzanna Bräuer (Appalachian State University), Shaun Watmough (Trent University) Erik Lilleskov and Jamie Lamit (US Forest Service), Andrew Tanentzap (Cambridge University), Erik Emilson, Lisa Venier, Kara Webster, and Paul Hazlett (Canadian Forest Service), Tim Moore (McGill University), Trevor Jones, Jim McLaughlin, Maara Packalen, and Dave Morris (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry), Brian Branfireun (Western University), Nadia Mykytczuk, Graeme Spiers, Peter Beckett, Pascale Roy-Léveillée, and Daniel Campbell (Laurentian University)

Landscape Carbon Accumulation through Reductions in Emissions (L-CARE): developing reclamation protocols for carbon sequestration and habitat use.
This project (2018-2021) is funded by NSERC CRD and Ontario Centres of Excellence’s TargetGHG program aims to quantify how large sulfur and metal emissions reductions from the mining sector in Sudbury, combined with novel ecosystem and mine waste management area reclamation practices, will lead to carbon sequestration and influence the underlying processes of primary production, mineralization, and carbon and energy transfer through upland, wetland, and lake ecosystems. Basiliko (PI) with John Gunn (co-PI), Nadia Mykytczuk, Graeme Spiers, Peter Beckett (Laurentian), John Smol, Andrew Paterson (Queens University), J Michael Waddington (McMaster University), Shaun Watmough (Trent University), Paul del Giorgio, Yves Prairie (UQAM), JP Bellenger (University of Sherbrooke), Joe Yavitt (Cornell University), Andrew Tanentzap (Cambridge University), Erik Emilson (CFS), Trevor Jones (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry), and Brie Edwards (Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change). Our partners are Vale Canada, Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations (a Glencore company), and the City of Greater Sudbury.

Enhancing Dewatering, Drying, Combustion and Utilization of Pulp and Paper Mill Biosludge.
This project is funded by NSERC CRD and is part of a large university-industry consortium led out of Faculty of Engineering at the University of Toronto since the mid-1980s. Grant Allen is the PI on this project, and the key group leaders of the larger program are Honghi Tran, Niko DiMartini, Grant, and Markus Bussmanm from Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Toronto. The consortium at large addresses challenges in the pulp and paper sector in Canada and beyond, including on energy and chemical recovery, water and waste mitigation, exploring novel uses for mill residuals (my group’s primary role in the consortium), among many others. This internationally recognized consortium has had continuous NSERC support and from more than 50 industrial partner companies since its inception 30 years ago. My group is exploring how mineral (biomass boiler ash, recovery boiler dregs, grits, and lime mud) and organic (primary WWTP sludge and biosolids from mills) can be used, modified, and mixed for soil amendment and land reclamation purposes.

Prospecting for non-ore resources in Ontario’s mining sector.
This project funded by the Ontario Centres of Excellence VIP-II program (PI J Ashley Scott, with Basiliko and Corey Laamanen), and other NSERC and MITACS funding to Ashley Scott and me, builds on Dr. Scott’s ongoing work and expertise capturing waste heat and energy in the Sudbury mining sector for industrial microalgae production and novel bio-products. The program (and students and other collaborators) is profiled in detail at: http://www.ongen.ca/

Using molecular and environmental genomic approaches on microbial and invertebrate communities to assess forest ecosystem integrity in forest management.
This project led by Lisa Venier (with Dave Kreutzweiser, Kara Webster, Paul Hazlett et al. at the Canadian Forest Service Great Lakes Forestry Centre and with Dave Morris, Nadia Mykytczuk and me as collaborators) is developing new tools to assess soil and coarse woody debris mesofaunal and microbial communities in managed boreal forests.

Microbial consortia in mining waste rock: understanding microbial dynamics to optimize metal recovery, minimize metal migration and facilitate revegetation in cold environments.
This project is led by Susan Glasaur (University of Guelph; with Shaun Watmough at Trent University, Nadia Mykytczuk, Thomas Merritt, and me at Laurentian University) and is funded by Environment Canada. My group’s roles collaboratively with Nadia and Shaun is to explore the microbial roles in plant colonization of legacy mine wastes and explore the role of organic amendments in stimulating a soil-like heterotrophic microbial community.

Northern peatland ecosystem responses to climate change.
This NSERC SPG-funded project is led by Brian Branfireun and Zoe Lindo (Western University; with Nigel Roulet at McGill University, Rich Petrone at the University of Waterloo and me. Using a NSERC-RTI (equipment) grant funded soil warming and carbon dioxide enrichment system across two peatlands near White River Ontario (in close collaboration with Jim McLaughlin and Maara Packalen at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry), we are exploring multi-trophic and biogeochemical responses to simulated climate change.

Teaching
I teach BIOL20206EL Introduction to Microbiology, BIOL3026EL Applied and Environmental Microbiology, and BIOL4076EL Ecosystem Ecology at Laurentian.