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Kevin Devito



Biological Sciences


Dr. Devito is a participant in the Land Reclamation International Graduate School (LRIGS) program sponsored by NSERC CREATE.

Research Background

Landscape eco-hydrology, forest and wetland hydrology and biogeochemistry, ground-surface water interactions, land use and climate impacts, hydrogeology frameworks, influence of climate and geology on the susceptibility of boreal ecosystems to disturbance, watershed management.

The long-term objective of my research is to increase our understanding and model the interaction of climate, geology and landscape position on boreal forest- wetland-aquatic ecosystem and predict their susceptibility to land use changes. This research has provided a fundamental understanding of how water, and chemistry of interest, moves through the surrounding boreal environment, how land use activities may intersect or impact water movements, and how boreal ecosystems recover from land use or reclamation activities.

Current Research Interests

My current research focuses on the Utikuma Region Study Area (URSA), located on the Boreal Plain, Alberta. At URSA, my students and I have collaborated in a number of long term (>10 years) studies investigating trends in regional climate and hydrogeology in conjunction with local scale eco-hydrologic studies of forest-wetland-aquatic systems located on a variety of landforms and landscape positions representative of the Boreal Plain. These systems also serve as natural analogues for designing, and benchmarks for evaluating, reclamation strategies on oil sands mining leases. My Students, collaborators and I are also involved in parallel and complimentary studies looking at the influence of landform configuration on the development of wetland and forest ecosystems in constructed watersheds in the Oil Sands near Fort McMurray. I am participating in 4 related research areas:

1)  Impact of large-scale disturbance (wildfire, forest harvest) on landscape hydrologic connectivity and boreal ecosystem processes.

2)   Distribution and processes maintaining perched / isolated peatland wetlands in sub-humid Boreal Landscapes.

3)    Classifying the role of riparian transitions in different landscapes of the Western Boreal Forest.

4)    Effective design criteria to sustain forest and wetland ecosystems on constructed watersheds, Oil Sands, Fort McMurray.

Publications from Dr. Devito's Research Group

*Names in bold are students or staff


Devito K, C Mendoza, C Qualizza. (2012). Conceptualizing water movement in the Boreal Plains. Implications for watershed reconstruction. Synthesis report prepared for the Canadian Oil Sands Network for Research and Development, Environmental and Reclamation Research Group. 164 pp. URL =

Carey SK, D Tetzlaff, J Seibert, C Soulsby, J Buttle, H Laudon, J McDonnell, K McGuire, D Caissie, J Shanley, M Kennedy, K Devito, JW Pomeroy. 2010. Inter-comparison of hydro-climatic regimes across Northern catchments: synchronicity, resistance and resilience. Hydrological Processes 24:3591-3602.DOI:10.1002/hyp.7880 .

Devito KJ, I Creed, T Gan, C Mendoza, R Petrone, U Silins, B Smerdon. 2005. A framework for broad scale classification of hydrologic response units on the Boreal Plain: Is topography the last thing to consider? Invited Commentaries, HP Today, Hydrol. Process., 19:1705-1714.

Price J, B Branfireun, JM Waddington, KJ Devito. 2005. Advances in Canadian Wetland Hydrology, 1999-2003.Hydrol. Process., 19: 201-214.

Review of Labs Research:

Johnson EA, K Miyanishi. 2008. Creating new landscapes and ecosystems: the Alberta oil sands. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1134:120-145.

Selected Publications:

Hill AR, KJ Devito, P Vidon. In press. Long-term nitrate removal in a stream riparian zone. Biogeochemistry (accepted 25 June 2014), BIOG-D-14-00052, Biogeochemistry. 10.1007/s10533-014-0010-2

Sutherland G, LE Chasmer, RM Petrone, SM Brown, N Kljun, KJ Devito. In press. Evaluating the use of spatially varying vs. bulk average 3D vegetation structural inputs to modelled evapotranspiration within heterogeneous land cover types. accepted 7 Feb 2014, ECO-13-0095 EcoHydrology. 10.1002/eco.1477

Kettridge N, RE Humphrey, JE Smith, MC Lukenbach, KJ Devito, RM Petrone, JM Waddington2 . in press. Burned and unburned peat hydrophobicity: Implications for peatland evaporation following wildfire. J Hydrology,HYDROL15723,

Olefeldt D, KJ Devito, MR Turetsky. 2013. Sources and fate of terrestrial dissolved organic carbon in lakes of a Boreal Plains region recently affected by wildfire. Biogeosciences, 10: 6247-6265. doi10.5194-2013

Brown SM, RM Petrone,  L Chasmer, C Mendoza, MS Lazerjan, SM Landhäuser, U Silins, J Leach, KJ Devito. 2014. The influence of rooting zone soil moisture on evapotranspiration from above and within a Western Boreal Plain aspen forest. Hydrol. Process.   28(15) 4449–4462 . DOI: 10.1002/hyp.9879

Macrae ML, K Devito, M Strack,  JM Waddington. 2013. Effect of water table drawdown on peatland nutrient dynamics: implications for climate change. Biogeochemistry, 112 (1): 661-676, DOI 10.1007/s10533-012-9730-3

Smerdon B,  C Mendoza, KJ Devito, 2012. The impact of gravel extraction on groundwater dependent wetlands and lakes in the Boreal Plains, Canada. Environmental Earth Sciences, 67:1249-1259. DOI 10.1007/s12665-012-1568-4

Carrera-Hernandez  JJ, CA Mendoza, KJ Devito, RM Petrone, BD Smerdon. 2012. Reclamation for aspen revegetation: understanding soil moisture dynamics through unsaturated flow modelling.  Can J Soil Sci 92:(1) 103-116, 10.4141/cjss2010-035

Chasmer L, N Kljun, C Hopkinson, S Brown, T Milne, K Giroux, A Barr, K Devito, I Creed, R Petrone. In Pres2011 Characterizing vegetation structural and topographic characteristics sampled by eddy covariance within two mature aspen stands using LiDAR. J. Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, Special Issue on Flux Scaling116, G02026, doi:10.1029/2010JG001567.

Carrera-Hernandez, JJ.,  CA Mendoza, KJ Devito, RM Petrone, BD. Smerdon. 2011. Effects of aspen harvesting on groundwater recharge and water table dynamics in a sub-humid climate,. Water Resour Res.,47: W05542, doi:10.1029/2010WR009684 .

Petrone RM, DS Solondz, M Macrae, D Gignac, KJ Devito. 2011. Microtopographical and canopy cover controls on moss carbon dioxide exchange in a western Boreal Plain peatland. Ecohydrology,4(1), 115-­129.

Redding TE, KJ Devito. 2011. Aspect and soil texture control of snowmelt runoff on forested Boreal Plain hillslopes Hydrology Research  , 42.4:250-267.

Mwale D, TY Gan, KJ Devito,U Silins,C Mendoza, R Petrone . 2011. Regionalization of Runoff Variability of Alberta, Canada by Wavelet, Independent Component and Empirical Orthogonal Function Analyses. J. Hydrologic Engineering ,16(2) 93-107. DOI: 10.1061  

Redding TE, KJ Devito. 2010 Mechanism and pathways of lateral flow on aspen-forested, luvisolic soils, Western Boreal Plain, Alberta, Canada Hydrol Process. , 24:2995-3010. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.7710. 1085

Brown SM, Petrone RM, Mendoza CA, Devito KJ. 2010. Surface vegetation controls on evapotranspiration from a sub-humid Western Boreal Plain wetland.  Hydrological Processes. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.7569, 24 (2010): 1072-1085

Krezek, CC, JM Buttle, FD Beall, RD Moore, IF Creed, PK Sibley, U Silins, KJ Devito, CA Mendoza. "HydroEcological Landscapes and Processes Project: A National-scale Forest Hydrology Initiative" Streamline Watershed Management Bulletin 12 (September 2008): 33-38. (Unrated Journal).

Mwale D, TY Gan, K Devito, C Mendoza, U Silins, R Petrone. 2009. Precipitation Variability and Its Relationship to Hydrologic Variability in Alberta. Hydrological Processes, 23:3040-3056,DOI:10.1002/hyp.7415.

Solondz DS, Petrone RM, Devito KJ. 2008. Forest Floor Carbon Dioxide Fluxes within an Upland Forested Peatland - Pond Complex in the Western Boreal Plain. Eco-hydrology, 1(4):361-376 DOI:10.1002/eco.30.

Petrone, R.M., Devito, K.J., Silins, U., Mendoza, C., Kaufman, S.C., Brown, S. & Price, J.S., 2008, Transient peat properties in natural and impacted peatlands in the sub-humid western boreal plains, Canada. Mires and Peat Vol. 3 Article-05. ISSN 1819-754x.

Sass, GZ, IF Creed, SE Bayley, KJ Devito. 2008b. Inter-annual variability in trophic status of shallow lakes on the Boreal Plain: is there a climate signal? Water. Resour. Res. 44: W08443, doi:10.1029/2007WR006310.

Sass, GZ, IF Creed, KJ Devito. 2008a. Spatial heterogeneity in trophic status of shallow lakes on the Boreal Plain: influence of hydrologic setting. Water. Resour. Res. 44: W08444,doi:10.1029/2007WR006311.

Bladon KD, U Silins,  M Wagner,  M Stone, MB Emelko, CA Mendoza, KJ Devito, S Boon. 2008. Wildfire impacts on nitrogen concentration and production from headwater streams in southern Alberta's Rocky Mountains.Can. J. For. Res. 38: 2559-2371.

Creed, IF, GZ Sass, MB Wolniewicz, KJ Devito. 2008. Incorporating hydrologic dynamics into buffer strip design on the sub-humid Boreal Plain of Alberta. Forest Ecol. Manag. 256(11):1984-1994. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2008.07.021

Smerdon BD, CA Mendoza, KJ Devito. 2008. Influence of subhumid climate and water table depth on groundwater recharge in shallow outwash aquifers, Water Resour. Res. 44: W08427, doi:10.1029/2007WR005950.

Redding TE, KJ Devito.2008. Lateral flow thresholds for aspen forested hillslopes on the Western Boreal Plain, Alberta, Canada. Hydrological Processes 22:4287-4300, DOI:10.1002/hyp.7038.

Sass GZ, IF Creed, SE Bayley, KJ Devito. 2007. Understanding variation in trophic status of lakes on the Boreal Plain: A 20 year retrospective using Landsat TM Imagery. Remote Sensing  Environm.,109:127-141.

Smerdon BD, CA Mendoza, KJ Devito. 2007. Simulations of fully coupled lake-groundwater exchange in a subhumid climate with an integrated hydrologic model. Water Resour. Res., 43: W01416, doi:10.1029/2006WR005137.

Petrone R, U Silins, KJ Devito. 2007. Spatial Evapotranspiration from a Riparian Pond Complex in the Western Boreal Forest, Alberta. Hydrological Process., 21: 1391-1401

Westbrook CJ, KJ Devito, CJ Allan. 2006. Soil N Cycling in a Heterogeneous Boreal Landscape. For. Ecol. Manage., 234:227-237.

Macrae  ML, IF Creed, E Mcdonald, KJ Devito. 2006. Relation of soil nitrogen distribution and Surface and Ground Water Nitrogen concentrations in a Partially Harvested Boreal Plain Aspen Catchment . Can. J. For. Res., 36:2090-2103.

Redding TE , KJ Devito.2006. Particle densities of wetlands soils in northern Alberta. Can. J. Soil Sci. ,86:57-60.

Squires MM, D Mazzucchi, KJ Devito. 2006. Carbon burial and infill rates in small western boreal lakes: Physical factors affecting carbon storage. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 63(4): 711-720 doi:10.1139/F05-252.

Smerdon, BD, KJ Devito, CA Mendoza. 2005. Interaction of groundwater and shallow lakes on outwash sediments in the sub-humid Boreal Plains region.  J. Hydrology, 314:246-262.

Redding TE, KD Hannam, SA Quideau, KJ Devito. 2005. Particle density of aspen, spruce and pine forests floors on the boreal plain or northern Alberta, Canada. Soc. Soil Sci. Amer. J.,  69: 1503-1506. [SCI= 2,  IF=1.834, Agr. Soil Sci. Rank 3 of 29 (top 10%)]

Macrae ML, Redding T, Creed IF, Bell W, Devito KJ. 2005. Soil, surface water and groundwater phosphorus relationships in a partially harvested Boreal Plain aspen catchment.  For. Ecol. Manage. , 206: 315-329.

Devito KJ, IF Creed, C Fraser. 2005. Controls on runoff from a partially harvested aspen forested headwater catchment, Boreal Plain, Canada. Hydrol. Process., 19: 3-25.

Ferone J-M, KJ Devito. 2004. Shallow groundwater-surface water interactions in pond-peatland complexes along a Boreal Plain topographic gradient. J. Hydrology, 292: 75-95.

Westbrook CJ, KJ Devito. 2004. Gross nitrogen transformations in uncut and cut boreal conifer and peatland forest soils. Biogeochemistry, 68: 33-50.

Carmosini N , KJ Devito,  EE Prepas. 2003.. Net Nitrogen Mineralization and Nitrification in mature and logged Trembling Aspen Forest Soils on the Boreal Plain. Can. J. For. Res.,  33 (11): 2262-2268.

Carmosini N, KJ Devito, EE Prepas. 2002. Gross nitrogen transformations in harvested and mature aspen-conifer mixed forest soils from the Boreal Plain. Soil Biol. Biochem., 34(12): 1949-1951.

Schiff SL, KJ Devito,  RJ Elgood, PM McCrindle, J Spoelstra, PJ Dillon. 2002. Two adjacent catchments: dramatically different nitrate export. Water Resour. Res., 38: 1278-1292 .

Waddington JM, KJ Devito. 2001.  Portable irrigation system for the study of hillslope and wetland runoff generation processes. Hydrol. Process.,  15: 281-287.

Devito KJ, IF Creed, RL Rothwell, EE Prepas. 2000. Landscape controls on phosphorous loading to boreal lakes: implications for the potential impacts of forest harvesting. Can.J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 57(10): 1977-1984.

Devito KJ, D Fitzgerald, A Hill, R Aravena. 2000. Nitrate dynamics in relation to lithology and hydrologic flow path in a river riparian zone. J. Environ. Qual., 29: 1075-1084.

Hill AR, KJ Devito, S Campagnolo, K Sanugadas. 2000. Subsurface denitrification in a forest riparian zone: interactions between hydrology and supplies of organic carbon and nitrate.  Biogeochemistry, 51: 193-223.

Evans, J.E., E.E. Prepas, K.J.Devito, and B.G.Kotak. 2000. Phosphorous dynamics in shallow subsurface waters in an uncut and cut subcatchment of a lake on the Boreal Plain. Can.J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 57 (Suppl. 2) : 60-72.

Devito KJ ,CJ Westbrook, S Schiff. 1999. Nitrogen mineralization and nitrification in upland and peatland forest soils in two Canadian Shield catchments. Can. J. For. Res., 29(11): 1793-1804.

Devito KJ, AR Hill.1999. Sulphate mobilization and pore water chemistry in relation to groundwater hydrology and summer drought in two conifer swamps on the Canadian Shield. Water, Air Soil Pollut., 113: 97-114.

Devito KJ, AR Hill, PJ Dillon. 1999. Episodic sulphate export from wetlands in acidified headwater catchments: prediction at the landscape scale. Biogeochemistry, 44: 187-203.

Devito, KJ, AR Hill. 1997. Sulphate dynamics in relation to groundwater - surface water interactions in forested wetlands of the Canadian Shield.  Hydrol. Process.,11:485-500.

Devito KJ, JM Waddington, BA Branfireun. 1997. Flow reversals in peatlands influenced by local groundwater systems.  Hydrol. Process., 11:103-110.

Hill AR, KJ Devito 1997. Hydrologic-chemical interactions in headwater forest wetlands. In Trettin,CC, MF Jurgensen, DF Grigal, MR Gale and J Jeglum (ed.),  Northern Forested Wetlands: Ecology and Management,  CRC/Lewis Publisher; Boca Raton, FL. pp 217-233.

Devito KJ, AR Hill, N Roulet. 1996. Groundwater-Surface water interactions in headwater forested wetlands of the Canadian Shield.  J. Hydrology , 181(1):127-147.

Curry RA, KJ Devito 1996. The hydrogeology of reproductive habitats of brook char (Salvelinus fontinalis): implications to shoreline and upland forestry and development practices. Can. J. For. Res., 26:767-772

Devito KJ. 1995. Sulphate mass balances of Precambrian Shield wetlands: the influence of catchment hydrogeology. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 52: 1750-1760.

Devito KJ, PJ Dillon. 1993. The influence of hydrologic condition and peat oxia on phosphorous and nitrogen dynamics of a conifer peatland. Water Resour Res., 29(8): 2675-2685.

Devito KJ, PJ Dillon. 1993. The importance of runoff and winter anoxia to the P and N dynamics of a beaver pond.  Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 50: 2222-2234.

Devito KJ, PJ Dillon, BD LaZerte. 1989. Phosphorous and nitrogen retention in five Precambrian shield wetlands.Biogeochemistry, 8:185-204.

Manuals, Technical and Data Reports:

Carrera-Hernandez JJ, CA Mendoza, KJ Devito, RM Petrone, BD Smerdon.  "Effects of aspen harvesting on groundwater recharge and water table dynamics in the Western Boreal Forest".  63 pages. Alberta-Pacific Forest Products, Report, April 2011.

Devito KJ, Mendoza CA, Silins U, Petrone R, Gan T, Creed I. 2006. Appendix B: A framework for classifying and assessing potential water resources: Comparison with Ft. McMurray. 16 pp. In Appendices to the Guideline for Westland Establishment on Reclaimed Oil Sands Leases Revised (2007) Edition. Cumulative Environmental Management Association. Edmonton, AB.

Devito KJ, Mendoza CA. 2006. Appendix C: Maintenance and dynamics of natural wetlands in western boreal forests: Synthesis of current understanding from the Utikuma Research Study Area, 35 pp. In Appendices to the Guideline for Westland Establishment on Reclaimed Oil Sands Leases Revised (2007) Edition. Cumulative Environmental Management Association. Edmonton, AB.

Devito KJ, CJD Fraser, IF Creed. 2005 Climate and runoff characteristics of a Boreal Plain headwater catchment, Lac La Biche, AB, Canada: implication for forest management. Sustainable Forest Management-NCE report.