Meet the team

Principal Investigators

steve-photo_origSteve Schmidt is a professor at CU Boulder, and the Principal Investigator (PI) of the project. He studies mostly soil and snow microbes, usually at extreme high elevations, such as the Andes and Himalayas. Learn more about his research group, the Alpine Microbial Observatory.

 

 

andrew-merserveglacierAndrew G. Fountain, a co-PI on the project, is a professor of geology and geography at Portland State University. His focus is on the physical aspects of cryoconite hole formation and evolution. He has studied glaciers in both polar regions, in the continental US, and has been conducting research in the McMurdo Dry Valleys for more than one decade.

 

 

participants_cawley_kaelin_yes_permissionKaelin Cawley is a staff scientist at the National Ecological Observation Network, and another co-PI. Her specialty is limnology, and she uses fluorescence to measure the quality of dissolved organic carbon in water. Kaelin has previously worked on coastal ponds in Antarctica.

 

 

 

 

 

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This project was initially headed by Diana Nemergut, a fantastic scientist and human being, who passed away at the end of 2015. She is deeply missed, and been present in our thoughts as we conducted field work Antarctica and shared our results back home.

 

 

 

 

Field team: 2018-19

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Dorota_Parzeinska_462Dorota Porazinska is an Assistant Professor of Nematode Ecology and and Soil Microbiomes at the University of Florida. She is a soil microbial ecologist interested in patterns of biodiversity, plant-soil biotic interactions, and linkages between biodiversity and ecosystem function. By training, nematodes are her first love, but microbes and fungi keep catching up. In other words, she loves to play with dirt, wherever her research takes her.

 

 

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Adam Solon is a PhD student at CU Boulder interested in how microbial communities are established and persist in Earth’s cold and dry extremes. He investigates how aeolian dispersal ranges of microbes- across local, regional, and global scales- influence the structure and function of communities. In the Dry Valleys he is exploring how differences in microbial source location contribute to variations of cryoconite community structure within, and between, glaciers.

 

 

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Pacifica Sommers is a postdoctoral research at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research interests are how predation, competition, and other species interactions determine biodiversity under different environmental conditions, and especially using biological invasions. Learn more about her work at Biodiversity: The Blog.

 

 

 

 

julianJulian Cross is a Masters student in the Geography Department at Portland State University. After spending a field season on the Juneau Icefield in Alaska, he has been interested in the interaction between climate and hydrology in glaciated landscapes. His thesis work focuses on modeling the water balance of Taylor Valley, past and present. Julian will provide instrumentation support this field season and continue physical measurements of the cryoconite holes.

 

 

 

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Lara Vimercati is a PhD Candidate at CU Boulder. She has a strong interest in astrobiology and her current research focus is on microbial diversity and adaptation to extreme environments considered to be potential analogs for habitable zones on extraterrestrial bodies, in particular high altitude and low latitude. She has conducted fieldwork in a variety of different extreme environments, including the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Andes, Death Valley, and Antarctica.

 

 

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Kaelin Cawley, one of the co-PIs, is a staff scientist at the National Ecological Observatory Network in Boulder, CO. Her interests are in the factors affecting the quality of dissolved organic carbon in aquatic ecosystems. She has previously been to Antarctica to study coastal ponds.

 

 

 

Field team: 2017-18

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steve-photo_origSteve Schmidt, the Principal Investigator (PI) of the project. This will be his first visit to Antarctica, after much research in extreme environments such as the Andes and Himalayas. Learn more about his research group, the Alpine Microbial Observatory.

 

 

 

dorota-for-website

Dorota Porazinska is an Assistant Professor of Nematode Ecology and and Soil Microbiomes at the University of Florida. She is a soil microbial ecologist interested in patterns of biodiversity, plant-soil biotic interactions, and linkages between biodiversity and ecosystem function. By training, nematodes are her first love, but microbes and fungi keep catching up. In other words, she loves to play with dirt, wherever her research takes her.

 

 

felix

Felix Zamora earned a Masters at Portland State University.  His research focuses on understanding glacier meltwater generation, now and in the past.  On this project, Felix measured the physical characteristics of the cryoconite holes to develop a model of their evolution.

 

 

IMG_20170117_114339741_HDRPacifica Sommers is a postdoctoral researcher at CU Boulder. Her research interests are how predation, competition, and other species interactions determine biodiversity under different environmental conditions. Learn more about her work at Biodiversity: The Blog.

 

 

lara_orig

Lara Vimercati is a PhD Candidate at CU Boulder. She has a strong interest in astrobiology and her current research focus is on microbial diversity and adaptation to extreme environments considered to be potential analogs for habitable zones on extraterrestrial bodies, in particular high altitude and low latitude. She has conducted fieldwork in a variety of different extreme environments, including the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Andes, Death Valley, and Antarctica.

 

 

P1000377_editAdam Solon is a PhD student at CU Boulder interested in how microbial communities are established and persist in Earth’s cold and dry extremes. He investigates how aeolian dispersal ranges of microbes- across local, regional, and global scales- influence the structure and function of communities. In the Dry Valleys he is exploring how differences in microbial source location contribute to variations of cryoconite community structure within, and between, glaciers.

 

 

 

Field team: 2016-17

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dorota-for-website

Dorota Porazinska is a research associate at the CU Boulder, CO. She is a soil microbial ecologist interested in patterns of biodiversity, plant-soil biotic interactions, and linkages between biodiversity and ecosystem function. By training, nematodes are her first love, but microbes and fungi keep catching up. In other words, she loves to play with dirt, wherever her research takes her. This year, it’s dirt in cryoconite holes of the Dry Valleys’ glaciers.

 

felix

Felix Zamora is a Masters student at Portland State University.  His research focuses on understanding glacier meltwater generation, now and in the past.  On this project, Felix will measure the physical characteristics of the cryoconite holes to develop a model of their evolution.

 

 

jack2John Darcy is a PhD candidate at CU Boulder. His research has focused on microbial community assembly and biogeography in arctic and alpine environments (Darcy et al. 2011, Schmidt & Darcy 2014), especially in the context of nutrient limitation (Darcy and Schmidt 2016). More recently, his work has focused on mathematical models of community assembly, which he hopes to apply to the cryoconite holes found on antarctic glaciers.

michael-kodas-cc85Michael Kodas is the Deputy Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism in the University of Colorado’s College of Media, Communication and Information. His work has focused on environmental issues including overfishing, deforestation, climate change, development, and wildfire. His writing and photojournalism have appeared in the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The Denver Post, National Public Radio, The PBS Newshour, Newsweek, the CBS Evening News, OnEarth, National Geographic New Watch, Mother Jones, and many other publications. He was part of the team at The Hartford Courant awarded The Pulitzer Prize and has been honored with awards from the Pictures of Year International competition, the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Press Photographers Association. His book, High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed, was named Best Non-Fiction in USA Book News’ National Best Books Awards of 2008, and was a question on the game show Jeopardy. Kodas’s recent work documented how development has expanded into Colorado’s most flammable forests. He has facilitated outreach by fire scientists to policymakers and the press. His book Megafire, which documents the global increase in deadly and devastating wildfires, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the summer of 2017.

IMG_20170117_114339741_HDRPacifica Sommers is a postdoctoral researcher at CU Boulder. Her research interests are how predation, competition, and other species interactions determine biodiversity under different environmental conditions. She recently finished her doctoral research at University of Arizona, where she conducted fieldwork in the Sonoran Desert summer heat of up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit, so she had some adjusting to do during her first season in Antarctica. Learn more about her work at Biodiversity: The Blog.

andrew-merserveglacierAndrew G. Fountain, a co-PI on the project, is a professor of geology and geography at Portland State University. His focus is on the physical aspects of cryoconite hole formation and evolution. He has studied glaciers in both polar regions, in the continental US, and has been conducting research in the McMurdo Dry Valleys for more than one decade.

 

 

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