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The Ohio State University

Byrd Polar Research Center

Environmenal Geochemistry Research

Environmental Geochemistry - Lyons Group


McMurdo Dry Valleys Long-Term Ecological Research Project (MCM-LTER)

One of 25 National Science Foundation funded long-term study sites, the MCM-LTER was established in 1992. However, research in these valleys has been conducted for many years starting in 1904, the early days of Antarctic exploration. Today's research is an interdisciplinary study of the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems including soils scientists, glaciologists, hydrologists, limnologists, and geochemists. For more information please see the MCM-LTER web site.

Agricultural and urban effects on surface water geochemistry

Many natural and anthropogenic factors affect the geochemistry of surface waters. The Lyons and Carey groups study water quality issues such as nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) and carbon flux from farming and feedlots, and urban contributions such as salts and metals from road runoff. Another interest is how small changes in land type impacts the water quality of first and second-order urban streams.

Geochemical Tracers to Investigate Tropical Hydrology

In collaboration with Dr. Fred Ogden at the University of Wyoming, Dr. Lyons and his group are using various chemical and isotopic constituents to trace water movement through tropical rain forests in Panama. The goal of this project is to better understand flow paths and residence times. This works also overlaps with the group's interest in the rates of chemical weathering and carbon transport in these environments.


Describing/Quantifying Sub-Surface Water Flow ("Cryptic Hydrology") in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

Dr. Lyons and his group are collaborating with Dr. Joe Levey at Oregon State University and Dr. Andrew Fountain at Portland State University to determine the hydrologic and geochemical importance of sub-surface hydrology in the Dry Valleys. The work also examines the mechanisms involved in the chemical evolution of saline waters in this polar desert.


Other Antarctic Studies

Dr. Lyons and his research group are working with U.S. and international scientists on a number of other studies in Antarctica. These include: the linking of soil geochemistry to biota habitat suitability and biogeography issues; the biogeochemistry of subglacial fluids; and the potential importance of groundwater discharge in supplying nutrients and micronutrients to the Southern Ocean.