Erika Hille

Director, Western Arctic Research Centre
Western Arctic Research Centre (Inuvik)
867-777-3298 x 207

Education: Masters of Science

Research Statement:

I obtained a BSc with a Specialized Honours in Environmental Science from York University. In the last year of my BSc, I had the opportunity to travel to Churchill, MB. This sparked my interest in the North. After completing my BSc, I went on to pursue an MSc through the Water Climate Impacts Research Centre at the University of Victoria. My field research brought me to Inuvik in 2009 and 2010. In January 2011, I came to the Aurora Research Institute (ARI) on an NSERC Northern Research Internship. I joined the staff at ARI in April 2011. My research looks at the landscape-level factors that affect the hydrology and geochemistry of freshwater systems in permafrost regions.  More specifically, I am currently studying the affects of wild fire on the aquatic health of tundra upland lakes near Inuvik, with a focus on the Noell Lake watershed. I am also looking at the affects retrogressive thaw slumping on the water quality of landscape runoff and how this impacts the aquatic health of Kugmallit Bay. Additionally, I am leading a stream water quality monitoring program along the Dempster and Inuvik-to-Tuktoyaktuk Highway corridor. This project will contribute to my PhD Thesis research. The overall goal of my PhD Thesis is to examine how and why the sensitivity of aquatic systems to permafrost thaw varies between contrasting permafrost landscapes. The primary focus of this study is the Beaufort Delta Region of the western Canadian Arctic, a region experiencing dramatic landscape change associated with permafrost thaw. Results from the Beaufort Delta Region will be compared/contrasted with watersheds that are less sensitive to permafrost thaw. These include the Apex River Watershed, near Iqaluit, and the Meacham River Watershed, near Resolute.

For her PhD research, Erica received a 2020 - 20201 POLAR Northern Resident Scholarship administered by Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS)  and is a recipient of a 2021 - 2022 Weston Family Award in Northern Research

 Current Projects:

Applied Permafrost Infrastructure Research Hub (Team Member)

Beaufort Sea Coastal Restoration Project – Exploring the Potential for Using Indigenous Plant Species to Revegetate Coastline Affected by Permafrost Thaw Slumping (Project Lead)

Investing the quality of water runoff from different terrain types found along the Dempster-ITH corridor (Project Lead)

Impacts of Natural and Anthropogenic Disturbances on the Aquatic Health of Tundra Lakes in the Upland Region East of the Mackenzie River (Project Lead)

Permafrost Network of Canada (PhD Student and Collaborator)

Highlighted Scientific Contributions:

Hille, E. 2022. Using river geochemistry to monitor the hydrology of Arctic watersheds, Nature.

Hille, E. 2020. Beaufort Sea Coastal Restoration Project. Oral Presentation at the 2020 Coastal Restoration Fund Workshop in Vancouver, BC. Invited.

Hille EH. 2020. Community Engagement in Permafrost Research at the Western Arctic Research Centre. Display at EGU2020: Sharing Geoscience Online.

Hille EH. 2014. The Effects of Shoreline Retrogressive Thaw Slumping on the Hydrology and Geochemistry of Small Tundra Lake Catchments. MSc Thesis, Department of Geography, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC.

Hille E, Peters D, Wrona F, and Kokelj S. 2010.  Climatic factors driving the hydrological and geochemical responses of tundra upland lakes to landscape perturbation.  Plenary presentation in Student Day at the 2010 ArcticNet Annual Scientific Meeting.  Ottawa, ON.  Invited.

Hille EH. 2009. The Role of Benthic Algae in CO2 Exchange from Ponds in the Hudson’s Bay Lowlands. BSc Honours Thesis, Department of Geography, York University, Toronto, ON.

Hille E, Lin C, and Pokharel B. 2009. A comparison of the aquatic primary productivity of ponds located on serpentine and non-serpentine soils. Hidden Geographies. 1(1):21-32.