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Research interests

My research uses physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of lake sediments to reconstruct environmental change. Thus far, this research has centered on two themes: 1) reconstructing paleoenvironmental conditions in the Laurentian Great Lakes region (GLR) during the late Quaternary and Holocene, and 2) characterizing modern lacustrine systems in the Uinta Mountains, Utah (USA). Understanding how rapid climate change will alter temperature and precipitation in the GLR is difficult for two reasons: 1) climate in this region is influenced by at least five different air masses; and 2) the Great Lakes modify climate in the GLR. My research provides 900- to 14 000-year paleoclimate records from lakes that may inform future climate models by quantifying past variability in the climate system. My research in the Uinta mountains focuses on remote, nutrient-poor, high-elevation (>3000 m) lakes. Since these lakes are isolated from local disturbances like land clearance, they are uniquely suitable for studying the effects of rapid climate change on small lacustrine systems. So far, my research in the Uinta Mountains has focused on improving the geochemical tools that researchers use to reconstruct environmental change in this unique area. First, I worked with two researchers to understand whether yearly fish stocking is increasing primary production in these small lakes, potentially confounding signals of rapid climate change. Next, I led a study that employed compound-specific isotopic analysis to help trace carbon pathways from the terrestrial environment to Uinta Mountain lakes. In the future, I hope to expand my research capabilities by focusing on older time periods and/or regions outside of North America. 


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