Staff – University of Copenhagen

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GeoGenetics > Staff

Alexandra Rouillard

Alexandra Rouillard


  • Natural History Museum of Denmark

    Øster Voldgade 5-7, 1350 Kbh. K, Forhus 5-7,

    1350 København K

    Phone: +45 35 33 34 86

My research focuses on change in freshwater environments in relation to their catchment at various spatial and temporal scales. For the future, I seek to continue using paleoecological tools supported by an interdisciplinary approach to better understand the role of climatic shifts on the diversity and function of species and ecosystems.

Current research


Unlocking the methane cycling archives from Arctic lakes: a biological fingerprint

Arctic landmasses and lakes release significant amounts of methane (CH4), a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global climate change. Yet, the effect of rapid warming in the Arctic on the fate of CH4 emissions is poorly understood, particularly over decadal to millennial timescales. The recent advance of high-throughput sequencing techniques to analyse ancient environmental DNA, or paleogenomics, from Arctic lake sediment has tremendously heightened analytical sensitivity and thus unlocked a wealth of new information on past ecosystems and their processes. We will combine this innovative approach to a robust paleoecological framework and multivariate analyses to study the drivers underpinning microbial assemblages involved in the cycling of CH4 during major periods of climate variability in Greenland since deglaciation. By using an important multi-site dataset of lake sediment cores spreading along major environmental gradients in Greenland, the study will be upscaled from catchment to region and from the present Anthropocene (~last 150 years) to the early deglaciation of the Holocene (~11,700 years ago). This dataset will also enable controlling for the different catchment-specific processes that may have influenced microbial abundance, diversity and function in the past, and isolate the impact of climate on their ecology. This interdisciplinary approach will be supported by the analysis of additional paleoecological proxies for other important components of the carbon cycle in Arctic watersheds, such as sediment spectral properties (lake Chl-a and DOC). ArCH4ives will advance paleoecology, enable us to gain significant new insights into the global carbon cycle and improve our understanding of the sensitivity of polar ecosystems.

Keywords: Paleogeonomics, eDNA, sediment, Holocene, carbon cycle, microbial ecology

Primary fields of research

Freshwater Ecology
Landscape Ecology
Environmental Change

Selected publications

  1. Evidence for extreme floods in arid subtropical northwest Australia during the Little Ice Age chronozone (CE 1400-1850)

    Rouillard, A., Skrzypek, G., Turney, C., Dogramaci, S., Hua, Q., Zawadzki, A., Reeves, J. M., Greenwood, P. F., O’Donnell, A. J. & Grierson, P. F. 2016 In : Quaternary Science Reviews. 144, p. 107-122 16 p.

    Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

  2. Natural hazards in Australia: floods

    Johnson, F., White, C. J., van Dijk, A., Ekstrom, M., Evans, J. P., Jakob, D., Kiem, A. S., Leonard, M., Rouillard, A. & Westra, S. 2016 In : Climatic Change. 139, 1, p. 21–35 15 p.

    Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

  3. How and why are floods changing in Australia?

    Johnson, F., White, C. J., van Dijk, A., Ekstrom, M., Evans, J. P., Jakob, D., Kiem, A. S., Leonard, M., Rouillard, A. & Westra, S. 2015

    Publication: Research - peer-reviewPaper

  4. Impacts of high inter-annual variability of rainfall on a century of extreme hydrologic regime of northwest Australia

    Rouillard, A., Skrzypek, G., Dogramaci, S., Turney, C. & Grierson, P. F. 2015 In : Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. 19, 4, p. 2057-2078

    Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

  5. Using paleolimnology to track Holocene climate fluctuations and aquatic ontogeny in poorly buffered High Arctic lakes

    Rouillard, A., Michelutti, N., Rosen, P., Douglas, M. S. V. & Smol, J. P. 1 Mar 2012 In : Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 321, p. 1-15

    Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

  6. A model for inferring dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in lakewater from visible-near-infrared spectroscopy (VNIRS) measures in lake sediment

    Rouillard, A., Rosen, P., Pienitz, R., Douglas, M. S. V. & Smol, J. P. Aug 2011 In : Journal of Paleolimnology. 46, 2, p. 187-202

    Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

  7. Groundwater seepage controls salinity in a hydrologically terminal basin of semi-arid northwest Australia

    Skrzypek, G., Dogramaci, S., Rouillard, A. & Grierson, P. F. Nov 2016 In : Journal of Hydrology. 542, p. 627-636

    Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

  8. Interpreting vegetation change in tropical arid ecosystems from sediment molecular fossils and their stable isotope compositions: A baseline study from the Pilbara region of northwest Australia

    Rouillard, A., Greenwood, P. F., Grice, K., Skrzypek, G., Dogramaci, S., Turney, C. & Grierson, P. F. 1 Oct 2016 In : Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 459, p. 495-507 13 p.

    Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

  9. Natural hazards in Australia: droughts

    Kiem, A. S., Johnson, F., Westra, S., van Dijk, A., Evans, J. P., O’Donnell, A., Rouillard, A., Barr, C., Tyler, J., Thyer, M., Jakob, D., Woldemeskel, F., Sivakumar, B. & Mehrotra, R. 2016 In : Climatic Change. 139, 1, p. 37–54 18 p.

    Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

ID: 156728427