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.


  • Thorne, Karen, MacDonald, Glen, Guntenspergen, Glenn, Ambrose, Richard, Buffington, Kevin, Dugger, Bruce, Freeman, Chase, Janousek, Christopher, Brown, Lauren, Rosencranz, Jordan, Holmquist, James, Smol, John, Hargan, Kathryn and Takekawa, John. (2018). U.S. Pacific coastal wetland resilience and vulnerability to sea-level rise. Science Advances, 4 (2)
  • Byrd, Kristin B., Ballanti, Laurel, Thomas, Nathan, Nguyen, Dung, Holmquist, James R., Simard, Marc and Windham-Myers, Lisamarie. (2018). A remote sensing-based model of tidal marsh aboveground carbon stocks for the conterminous United States. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 139 , 255-271.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.