Staff Profile
James Holmquist Photo


Wetlands are historically undervalued resources that have been ditched, drained, diked and extracted at the long-term cost of their many valuable services such as habitat, coastal protection, water quality improvement, and my focus, carbon storage. I am an ecologist specializing in wetlands and climate change issues at the ecosystem scale. I earned a BA in Biology from Loyola Marymount University, where I was also an undergraduate researcher in the Ballona Wetlands. During my Biology PhD work at University of California, Los Angeles, I began to research feedbacks between wetland landscapes, atmosphere, and climate on millennial time scales. I wrote my dissertation on the Holocene-length history of peat initiation, carbon storage, and hydrology of remote boreal peat bogs in Northern Ontario, Canada. As a postdoc at UCLA, and now at SERC, I lead efforts to measure carbon storage rates in coastal wetlands using dated sediment cores, as well as contribute to models of coastal resilience in the face of projected sea-level rise. I am currently funded by NASA Carbon Monitoring Systems improve our accounting of coastal wetland carbon storage in the US.


  • Rosencranz, Jordan A., Brown, Lauren N., Holmquist, James R., Sanchez, Yareli, MacDonald, Glen M. and Ambrose, Richard F. (2017). The Role of Sediment Dynamics for Inorganic Accretion Patterns in Southern California's Mediterranean-Climate Salt Marshes. Estuaries and Coasts, 40 (5) , 1371-1384.
  • Loisel, Julie, van Bellen, Simon, Pelletier, Luc, Talbot, Julie, Hugelius, Gustaf, Karran, Daniel, Yu, Zicheng, Nichols, Jonathan and Holmquist, James. (2017). Insights and issues with estimating northern peatland carbon stocks and fluxes since the Last Glacial Maximum. Earth-Science Reviews, 165 , 59-80.
  • MacDonald, Glen M., Moser, Katrina A., Bloom, Amy M., Potito, Aaron P., Porinchu, David F., Holmquist, James R., Hughes, Julia and Kremenetski, Konstantine V. (2016). Prolonged California aridity linked to climate warming and Pacific sea surface temperature. Scientific Reports, 6 , 33325.
  • Holmquist, James R., Booth, Robert K. and MacDonald, Glen M. (2016). Boreal peatland water table depth and carbon accumulation during the Holocene thermal maximum, Roman Warm Period, and Medieval Climate Anomaly. Palaeogeography palaeoclimatology palaeoecology, 444 , 15-27.
  • Holmquist, James R., Finkelstein, Sarah A., Garneau, Michelle, Massa, Charly, Yu, Zicheng and MacDonald, Glen M. (2016). A Comparison of Radiocarbon Ages Derived from Bulk Peat and Selected Plant Macrofossils in Basal Peat Cores from Circum-Arctic Peatlands. Quaternary Geochronology, 31 , 53-61.