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Faculty

Berry Lyons and Brutus Buckeye

W. Berry Lyons

Director, School of Earth Sciences
Research Scientist, Byrd Polar Research Center

E-mail: lyons.142@osu.edu

Ph.D. Univeristy of Connnecticut, 1979
M.S. Univeristy of Connnecticut, 1972
B.A. Brown University, 1969

For information regarding my research interests please see my personal web page.


Research Staff

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Kathy Welch in Antarctica

Kathy Welch - Senior Research Associate

email: welch.189@osu.edu

M. S. Earth Sciences, Geochemical Systems, University of New Hampshire, 1993
B. S. Geology, University of New Hampshire, 1985

As a Research Associate at OSU my primary focus is on the McMurdo Dry Valleys Long Term Ecological Research (MCM-LTER) project.  My current research interests include investigating the response of the aquatic ecosystem in the dry valleys to variations in climate over decadal time scales.  I’m also interested in investigating the hydrological and geochemical linkages between the glaciers, streams and lakes in the dry valleys and the consequent biogeochemical evolution of the closed-basin lakes over annual to millennial time scales.  My expertise is in performing water chemistry analyses, in particular, major ion chemistry by ion chromatography.

 

Chris Gardner - Senior Research Associate, PhD Student

email: gardner.177@osu.edu

M.S. Geological Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2004
B.A. Geology, Miami University, 2001

I am currently a Senior Research Associate as well as part-time PhD student in the School of Earth Sciences. I am the Business Office Manager for the International Association of GeoChemistry (IAGC) where I oversee many aspect of the organization's daily operation. My PhD work involves tracing hydrologic flow paths through tropical watersheds in Panama using geochemical tracers to better understand hydrology in these ecosystems. I am also interested in quantifying micronutrients important for nitrogen fixation (i.e. Mo, V, Fe) across ecosystem boundaries. My Dry Valleys work involves using meltwater streams to better understand Mo stable isotope fraction systematics in fluvial systems.

I was previously the Information Manager for the MCM-LTER where I was responsible for the maintenance and design of a large relational database containing meteorological, hydrological, chemical, biological, and spatial data collected since the inception of MCM in 1993. In this position, I was the web designer and webmaster of our LTER website at www.mcmlter.org. I ensured that our LTER site was compliant with data, metadata, and web standards set by the LTER Network Office (we are one of 25 research sites in the network). I also had the opportunity collaborate on outreach activities, such as The Lost Seal children’s book. To date, I have had 5 field deployments to Antarctica. My Master’s degree work here at Ohio State focused on geochemistry and hydrology, where I examined trace metals and major ions in urban runoff from a highway in Columbus during precipitation events.

 

Sue Welch in Oz

Sue Welch - Senior Research Associate

email: welch.318@osu.edu

Ph.D. Oceanography, University of Delaware, 1997
M. S. Marine Sciences, University of Delaware, 1991
B. S. Geology, B.A. Chemistry University of New Hampshire, 1987

As a Research Associate at OSU I work as an analytical geochemist with expertise in analyzing water and sediment samples from the MCM LTER project. My research interests are in the field of Low Temperature Geochemistry and Biogeochemistry. My current work focuses on CO2 sequestration, and the reactivity of trace mineral phases on the geochemistry of natural waters.


Kelsey Dailey

Kelsey Dailey - Reseach Assistant

B.S. School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2013

As a Research Assistant I work on projects associated with the MCM-LTER project, such as analyzing Antarctic stream samples for Fe and P-PO4 using spectrophotometry.  As a technician, I also manage the operation and data analysis of our water isotopic analyzer.  My research background is mainly in aqueous geochemistry, where I have previously examined the impact of de-icing salts on water quality of Ohio rivers and the influence of increasing salinization over time.  My research interests include the hydrogeochemistry of urbanized areas, isotope geochemistry, surface-rock-groundwater interactions, and climate change impacts on water resource quality and quantity.   

 

 


Graduate Students

Julie Brown

Alexandria (Allie) Fair- Master's student

B.S. in Anthropology and Chemistry - The Ohio State University, 2012


My research is part of the MCM-LTER and is focused on the geochemistry of Lake Miers, a perennially ice-covered lake located in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica.  All of the other lakes within the Dry Valleys are closed-basin lakes, but Lake Miers has an outflowing stream.  The outflowing stream, during its 4-12 week flow season, flushes out many solutes including ions, trace metals, and nutrients, keeping Lake Miers at least ten times fresher than the closed-basin lakes.  By measuring solute concentrations in both the inflowing streams and outflowing stream, I can look at the mass balance of Lake Miers to determine what sort of chemical, biological, and geological processes are taking place within the lake that may be different from the processes in the closed-basin lakes.  These measurements allow us to gain a long-term picture of how the hydrologic system is changing over time, particularly with respect to a changing climate.

 

Laura German- PhD Student

B.A. Chemistry - College of Wooster 2013


My project with the Lyons Group is still under construction. Methodology and specific aims will be defined throughout the next year when I analyze my first ice samples from Antarctica’s McMurdo Dry Valleys.  Austral Summer 2014/2015 I will join the MIDGE (Minimally Invasive Direct Glacial Exploration) crew in collecting the first subglacial samples on Blood Falls, located on the Taylor Glacier.  Blood Falls is the product of an ancient subglacial brine underneath the Taylor Glacier, where the falls run blood red against the snow and ice.  Little is known about the origin of the ancient brine and the mechanism of biogeochemistry from the brine to the falls.

 


Undergraduate Students

Jordan Scheuermann - Undergraduate Student

B.S. School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University - current

My research involves analyzing how chemical weathering affects the geochemistry in various streams in Taylor Valley, one of Antarctica’s major dry valleys. I plan to graduate in Autumn 2014.

 

 

Scott Aleshire - Undergraduate Student

B.S. School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University - current

I am a student research assistant working with the Lyons Group and Byrd Polar Research Center. Most of my work consists of analyzing cation/anion ratios of water flowing into Antarctic lakes to develop a working hypothesis of how weathering in Taylor Valley has changed over time. Some of my previous work has centered around chemical analysis of Antarctic soils that developed in arid regions.

 


Former Graduate Students

Deb Leslie

Deb Leslie - PhD student

PhD. School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2013
M.S. Environmental Science, Arkansas State University, 2008
B.S. Forensic Chemistry, University of Mississippi, 2005

My research within the Lyons group focuses on using stable isotopes as tracers of water and solute sources to study specific hydrological and geochemical problems in McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, and central Ohio, USA.
One project investigates boron isotopic geochemistry and dissolved boron concentrations within the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica to better understand the origin of boron.  My data demonstrates that there are two major sources of B through chemical weathering and a marine-influence.  I also used water stable isotopes to trace water source variation within two McMurdo Dry Valley glacier meltwater streams over the entire length of an austral summer.  These data demonstrated how the hyporheic zone contributes to the stream chemistry throughout a season, and provided a better picture of the hyporheic zone evolution over a season.  I also conducted a local project to describe water flow and travel time within a human-dominated watershed-reservoir system, by utilizing water stable isotopes to track the precipiation sources to the reservoirs and finally to the distribution system, the tap.  These data will provide a basic understanding of the regional water supply system.
 
My research interests include polar geochemistry, stable isotopes, and climate change. My M.S. research characterized a water balance and stable isotope budget of Lake Fryxell Basin in McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, and my undergraduate research was developing laboratory methods to see the effects of a carcinogen on a specific species of fish's metabolism.  

 

JD Stucker

J.D. Stucker - Master's student

M.S. School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2012
B.S. Geology, University of Kentucky, 2009

My M.S. research is focused on examining the chemical contributions from urban land uses on low order stream chemistry. My research is taking place here in Columbus, Ohio and I hope to be able to consolidate stream chemistry data from my own tributary sampling with previous urban studies to elucidate the total chemical effect a large urban center can have on river chemistry. The environmental impacts of urban centers (additional trace metals, nutrients, temperature anomalies, major ions) are becoming ever more important with the global growth of population and shift from rural to urban living centers.

My previous research has centered on using trace metals such as Mo in black shales to determine paleo-redox conditions of sedimentary basins in West Texas. I have also examined coal and fly ash from a series of Kentucky power plants in order to determine the legacy of changing coal supplies over the past 40 years in the state.

 

Kelly Deuerling

Kelly Deuerling - Master's student

M.S. School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2010
B.S. Geological Sciences, University of Florida, 2008

My research with the Lyons group and MCM-LTER is focused on the dissolution of the aeolian mineral dust and marine aerosols deposited in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, their impact on the geochemical/hydrologic continuum, and possible transport to East Antarctica. The dissolution of the dust has an impact on the chemistry of the lakes and nutrient availability in the Dry Valleys ecosystem. Isotopic study of the dust will provide a baseline signature of the Dry Valleys that can be compared to preserved ice core dust records (i.e. EPICA Dome C and Vostok in Eastern Antarctica) to determine any contribution to Eastern Antarctica in the past. My work will contribute to the understanding of the interplay between aeolian and aquatic processes in the Dry Valleys and further the understanding of this unique ecosystem.

My previous research has concerned weathering in Alaska and Dominica, as well as the geochemistry of the Grand Savanne eruptive sequence in Dominica.

 

Becki Witherow

Becki Witherow - Doctoral student

PhD School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2009
M.S. Geological Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2005
B.A. Geology, Miami University, 2001

My thesis, titled “Mercury Concentrations in Snow and the Modern Mercury Flux to Taylor Valley, Antarctica”, examines mercury concentrations in Antarctic snow in hopes of expanding current knowledge of background mercury levels.  By constructing a mercury baseline consisting of natural fluxes, anthropogenic inputs to the global mercury cycle can be better assessed.  Additionally, mercury concentrations in recent snow, can give important insight to the processes governing mercury deposition in polar regions, particularly Mercury Depletion Events that occurs as the sun rises in Antarctica in the austral spring. My work on the Commonwealth Glacier in Taylor Valley will help define the natural mercury sources and variations in a remote area such as Antarctica. By quantifying background mercury levels, human impacts on the mercury cycle can be better identified.

I am currently doing my Ph.D. research on the geochemical dynamics of alkali metals and alkaline earths in Taylor Valley, Antarctica.

 

Kelly Foley - Master's Student

M.S. Geological Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2005
B.P. Interdisciplinary Studies, Miami University, 2001

Kelly received her MS degree in August, 2005 working with Lyons. Her work here at OSU investigated the distribution and processes in the development of calcite in soils and in encrustations on undersides of rocks in the Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Similar to other desert environments, water soluble salts accumulate in Antarctic soils. She related calcite distribution and accumulation to soil age.  In addition, isotope work (87Sr/86Sr, d13C) on the samples developed better information about the source of calcium and carbonate in these deposits. Her work contributed not only to the knowledge of chemical cycles and ecological make-up in the Dry Valley environment, but also to the understanding of salt accumulation in desert environments.

 

 

Marinko Karanovic - Graduate Student

M.S Geological Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2005
B.S. Hydrogeology, University of Belgrade, 1999

After he finished his studies, he worked for a private consulting firm examining water quality problems and the protection ground and surface water resources, and participated in several International projects where he was responsible for sampling and interpretation of water quality data and identification of potential pollution problems. He also coordinated and supervised drilling and ground-water and soil sampling programs.

Marinko moved to the USA in 2001, and completed his M.S. degree. His master thesis is titled “Mathematical modeling of a hydrocarbon spill on the ice cover of Lake Fryxell, Antarctica”. In 2005, he used MatLab and well known numerical methods to develop a numerical model of the transport of contaminants on the ice cover of perennially covered lake Fryxell, Antarctica.

He is currently employed by an environmental consulting firm in the Washington, D.C. area.

 


Former Undergraduate Students

Kelsey Bisson

Kelsey Bisson - Undergraduate Student

B.S. School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2013

I am an undergrad and have been with the Lyons group since March of 2011 researching the temporal variability of inorganic carbon in streams at the LTER - MCM site. My research interests include environmental geochemistry, marine chemistry, and geological oceanography. I plan to graduate in May 2013

 

 

Kathleen Woods

Kathleen Woods - Undergraduate Student

B.S. School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University, 2012

I am a undergraduate in the School of Environment and Natural Resources. I will graduate in June 2012 with a major in environmental science. With the Lyons' Group, I am analyzing soil samples from the Transantarctic Mountains for biogenic silica and phosphate. Upon graduation I plan to spend the 2012-2013 field season working under Dr. Hugh Ducklow at Palmer Station, Antarctica.

 

 

Taewook Kim

Taewook Kim - Undergraduate Student

B.S. School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University, 2012

I am an international student from S. Korea and an undergraduate, majoring Environmental Science, specialized in Water. Currently, I'm working on Coshocton soil samples to look different C:N:P ratio from several areas: forest area and  agricultural areas, where practices tillage or no-tillage. Upon graduation, I will be continuing my study in water at the Ohio State graduate school.

 

 

Alex Rytel

Alex Rytel - Undergraduate Student

B.S. School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2012

MY primary focus is the effect of climate on biological activity in Taylor valley, Antarctica. My work is currently centered on the effects of stream inflow to Lake Fryxell and the effect stream inflow has on biological production in the lake. It is suspected that the input of thermal energy and dissolved material in the stream both help to increase biological production by reducing ice thickness and providing nutrients to the microorganisms in the lake.

 

 

John Volk

John Volk - Undergraduate Student

B.S. School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University

I am currently working on the spatial and temporal variations of water quality in the Hellbranch Run, a tributary of the Darby Creek, located west of Columbus OH.

 

 

Claire Westervelt

Claire Westervelt - Undergraduate Student

B.S. School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University

I am currently working on the geochemical and isotopic composition of groundwater and surface water on the OSU campus, Columbus OH.

 

 

Gregg McElwee

Gregg McElwee - Undergraduate Student

B.S. School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2008

I began working at the Byrd Polar Research Center in late November 2005. I am researching weathering rates in the Chagres watershed in Panama; because chemical weathering of silicate minerals consumes CO2, this is a major control of long term climate variation. I am analyzing water and sediment samples collected in Panama from early 2005 until the present. The water samples are analyzed using ion chromatographic (IC) and inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopic (ICP-OES) methods. The sediment samples are analyzed using x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometric methods.

 

Lindsey Hannah

Lindsey Hannah - Undergraduate Student

B.S. School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University

I am currently working through the last year of my undergraduate degree in Earth Sciences. I am involved conducting research into the chemical weathering rates of tropical soils from the Rio Chagres watershed in Panama. I have been creating weathering profiles by analyzing the bulk chemistry of the soils by use of X-Ray Fluorescence, and inorganic carbon and nitrogen analysis.

 

 

Carla Whisner

Carla Whisner - Undergraduate Student

B.S. School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University

My research interests are in geochemistry and hydrogeology. In the summer of 2008, I completed a project hosted by the Shell Undergraduate Research Experience. I did a geostatistical analysis of the streams in Taylor Valley, Antarctica. My primary goal was to determine the main factors that controlled the stream chemistry and reveal spatial trends to demonstrate the impact of landscape position and age on stream chemistry. For my upcoming research, I'll be working with Dr. Sarah Fortner. One of our study sites is in Coshocton, Ohio where we will be looking at agriculture landuse and its affect on the carbon cycle. I will be measuring dissolved inorganic carbon to analyze chemical weathering quantities and ultimately, to understand carbon sequestration and loss rates.

 

 

catherine

Catherine Maxwell - Undergraduate Student

B.A. School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University

Catherine Maxwell, from Archbold, Ohio, is an undergraduate student research assistant for Dr. Lyons. Her work with this team includes field work, laboratory work, and performing water chemistry analysis using the Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emissions Spectrometer. Her individual work focuses on stream chemistry of the Big Darby and Little Darby Creeks. She is working towards a bachelor of the arts in geology from the School of Earth Sciences.

 

April Jacobs - Undergraduate Student

B.A. Geological Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2006

April's main responsibility here at BPRC was to the MCM-SLTER, the educational outreach component to the MCM-LTER. She worked as a liason between the scientists here and the enthusiastic science teachers of Columbus with Dr. Landis. Among other things, she helped develop an educational DVD of Dr. Landis' Antarctic trip. It is this experience, along with a degree in geology and analytical lab work, that she hopes to utilize as she begins her career.

She received a BA in Geological Sciences at The Ohio State University in June, 2006. She is currently employed by an environmental consulting firm in the Columbus area.

 

Liz Miller - Undergraduate Student

B.S. Geological Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2006

Liz spent 3 years worknig and conducting research at the Byrd Polar Research Center. Her primary responsibility was performing chemical analysis of water and sediment samples. She worked with samples generated by the MCM-LTER project analyzing stream samples for alkalinity by strong acid titration, measuring dissolved reactive Si in aqueous samples collected from the glaciers, streams and lakes in the dry valley using a colorimetric method, and analyzing phosphorus in solution, as well as in sediments and on filters using a colorimetric methods. When she is not working or in class, she enjoys running and cheering on OSU at football games. In June 2006, she began a Ph.D. in geological sciences at Johns Hopkins University.


Former Employees and Post-Docs

Sarah Fortner

Sarah Fortner - Carbon, Water, Climate, Postdoctoral Research

Ph.D. Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2008
M.S. Geological Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2001
B.S. Geology and Geophysics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1999

My primary research goal is to understand changing river fluxes of water, solute, and sediment, as rapid changes in these may be detrimental to ecosystems and human health. This fall, I will begin investigating the storage and transport of carbon associated with different agricultural land use types. Understanding the fate of carbon associated with landuse is critically important to predicting the impact of agricultural practices on climate change.

My dissertation and masters research explores the deposition and dynamics of dissolved and environmentally available elements in glacial snow and melt in Taylor Valley, Antarctica and the Oregon Cascades. The Antarctic research is part of a continuing effort to assess the geochemical continuum of the dry valleys conducted by the McMurdo LTER.

Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in a guest speaker at your K-12 school or College/University. I am currently working with undergraduates in the field, lab, and with other research efforts. In July 2006 I assisted Dr. Erin Pettit with Girls on Ice, a leadership/glacier research program for 15-19 girls. Previously, I have participated in the Juneau Icefield Research Program (2000, 1995 as a student and as a mentor).

Joel Barker

Joel Barker - Research Scientist and Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Earth Sciences

139A Scott Hall
Phone: 614-292-3041
E-mail: barker.246@osu.edu

Ph.D. University of Alberta, 2007
M.Sc. University of Western Ontario, 2000
B.Sc. University of Alberta, 1995

My research focuses on understanding carbon biogeochemistry in polar and alpine environments. My current research program seeks to determine if ancient organic matter located beneath glaciers and in permafrost is used by microbial communities, and if so, what are the consequences of this use to local and regional carbon and nutrient cycles. I approach this goal by examining the abundance of this organic mater and determining it’s suitability as a microbial substrate. The Polar Biogeochemistry Lab here at BPRC is currently being developed to enable the analysis of samples that are collected during field research. I also monitor the net ecosystem exchange of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) from tundra to determine if organic matter that is released during active layer development (permafrost melt) is releasing greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Please visit my web site to read more about my research.

Tim Fitzgibbon in Antarctica

Tim Fitzgibbon - Research Associate

email: fitzgibbon.12@osu.edu

B.A. Geological Sciences, Indiana University, 2004

My primary focus with the Lyons research group is mercury geochemistry, managing the mercury lab and assisting graduate students in related studies. We are conducting a limited study of mercury in northern Ohio rivers and the influence of land-use, and we have an upcoming Sea Grant project studying mercury in the water column and plankton within the western basin and the “dead zone” in the central basin of Lake Erie. I also work on the Cape Hallett Soil Biodiversity project from helping coordinate project field needs to collecting shallow firn cores on the Towles Glacier near Cape Hallett for stable isotope and major ion analysis. With the MCM-LTER, I assist in everything from collecting samples in the Taylor Valley to filing annual reports.

Adam Lewis

Adam Lewis - Post Doctoral Fellow

Ph.D. , Boston University, 2004
M.S. Quaternary Science, University of Maine, 2000
B.S. Geology, Idaho State University, 1991

I will finish and defend my PhD dissertation in the fall from Boston University and begin my Byrd Fellowship as a post-doctoral fellow with the Lyon's group in the winter of 2004. My primary research goal is to obtain high-resolution paleoclimate records that address fundamental questions of late Cenozoic global-climate evolution. My research in Antarctica combines field mapping in the Dry Valleys with laboratory analyses of glacial sediments, isotopic and trace-element geochemical analysis of tephras, and cosmogenic-nuclide dating of relict land surfaces.  I'm interested in questions of how and when the polar climate of Antarctica first developed. I've focused on quantifying the geomorphic processes that have shaped the Dry Valleys and on developing chronologies for the Dry Valleys glacial record.

Adam took a position at the University of North Dakota in March, 2007.