Hudson Bay is the southernmost marine Arctic region that ices over every winter and, as such, is most sensitive to rapid climatic changes, including expected global warming over the next century. As part of Dr.Miguel Goni's lab, Lauren Kolczynski is analyzing sedimentary records from Hudson Bay to quantify vegetation-derived biomarkers, such as lignin phenols and cutin acids, and pyro-markers derived from partial combustion of plant biomass. These compounds can provide information about the types of vegetation and fire regimes found in the watersheds draining into Hudson Bay. By comparing compositions from modern sediments to those from well-dated cores, Kolczynski is trying to evaluate how climatic conditions in this region of the Arctic have changed over the past few thousand years. Specifically, she is interested in using these compounds to test the expansion of boreal forests and the increases in fire frequency/magnitude during the warm periods of Earth's recent history (e.g., the Holocene Thermal Maximum and the Medieval Warm period). These records will be compared to compositions from cold periods such as the Little Ice Age and used to evaluate the sensitivity of this region of the Arctic to future climate warming.