Dr. Beth Caissie – Principal Investigator
I am a marine sedimentologist who uses diatoms to understand the history of sea ice in the Bering Sea. I am focused on developing a diatom-based sea ice proxy that uses not only statistical relationships between sediment diatom assemblages, morphology, and modern sea ice extent, but also takes into account known ecological preferences of certain diatoms. This work can be used to put current Arctic climate change into the context of the geologic record and help society to better prepare for future sea ice decline in the Arctic.
If you’d like to learn more about my background or the courses I teach, you can visit my faculty page.
Fun Fact: I have been obsessed with the Arctic since writing a report about snowshoe hares in the third grade. My travels have given me face to face contact with grizzly bears and an opportunity to watch a polar bear hunting on the ice.
Natalie Thompson – PhD Candidate
I am a PhD candidate at Iowa State University. As a geography undergraduate, I first became interested in Marine Sedimentology during an exchange program to the University Centre in Svalbard. I then went on to complete a MPhil in Polar Science at the University of Cambridge, UK, where I focused on the changing dynamics of the western sector of the Greenland Ice Sheet from LGM to present. My current project involves using a multi-proxy approach (diatom assemblages, grain size analyses, stable isotopes) to evaluate sea ice variability and changes in primary productivity during the transition from Marine Isotope Stage 12 to 11 in the Bering Sea. I am also using benthic foraminiferal δ18O to improve age models for several IODP core sites in the Bering Sea.
Fun Fact: I love to travel, and set myself the goal of visiting every US state after I moved here from the UK. I’m currently at 25 and counting…
Anna Nesterovich – PhD Candidate (Graduated in 2019)
Anna graduated in 2019 with a PhD in Geology & Environmental Science (co-major). As part of her dissertation research, Anna developed a diatom-based proxy for sea ice concentration in the Bering and Chukchi Seas. She also spent a great deal of time sorting out the taxonomy of Bering Sea diatoms, and in the process, identified a new genus and species (Sinerima marigela).
Thomas Harbour – MS Student (Graduated in 2019)
Thomas graduated from Iowa State in 2019 with a Master’s degree in Geology. His project involved fine-scale analysis of laminated sediments from Marine Isotope Stage 11 (425 ka) in the Bering Sea. He also completed research on the relative importance of iceberg- and sea ice rafting of coarse terrigenous grains in Arctic and subarctic regions.
Garrett Crews – Undergraduate Student (Graduated in 2018)
Garrett completed an independent research project in the lab during the Spring 2018 semester, under the joint supervision of Beth Caissie and Betsy Swanner. This project involved using a Kovaks Mark V Ice Corer to collect ice cores from six lakes and marshes across the state, which were thawed, and analysed for diatoms and soft algal groups. The main goals of this work were to assess the prevalence of sub-ice productivity in Iowa lakes, and to quantify the relative abundances of different algal groups.
Bailey Nash – Undergraduate Student (Graduated in 2017)
Bailey graduated from Iowa State in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Geology. She worked as a research assistant in the Marine Sediments Lab from 2013-2017. During this time, Bailey helped with a number of tasks, including grain size analysis, sediment processing, microfossil identification and sample storage. She also completed a senior thesis project, using the oxygen isotope record preserved in mosses to reconstruct the hydrologic cycle from a bog in south-central Alaska.
Romina Holder – Undergraduate Student (Graduated in 2015)
Romina graduated from Iowa State in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Geology. She worked as a research assistant in the Marine Sediments Lab during her senior year and completed a project to determine how different stirring techniques affected the random settling of diatoms when making slides for quantitative diatom analysis.
Dana Korneisel – Undergraduate Student (Graduated in 2015)
Dana graduated from Iowa State in 2015 with a double major in Geology and Biology. She worked as a research assistant in the Marine Sediments Lab from 2012-2015, counting diatoms from LGM to present. Dana spent the summer of 2013 working on Rhaetian fishes at The University of Bristol (UK) and published her first peer-reviewed paper on ‘Latest Triassic marine sharks and bony fishes from a bone bed preserved in a burrow system, from Devon, UK’.
Derrick Vaughn – MS Student (Graduated in 2015)
Derrick graduated from Iowa State in 2015 with a Master’s degree in Geology. His project involved using using grain size, diatom ID, and the isotopic composition of sediments as proxies for primary productivity during Marine Isotope Stage 5 in the Bering Sea.
Megan Wolff – Undergraduate Student (Graduated in 2015)
Megan graduated from Iowa State in 2015 with a double major in Geology and Journalism. She worked as a research assistant in the Marine Sediments Lab during her junior and senior years, and completed several independent studies, including using grain size to determine glacial/interglacial cycles in the Chukchi Sea and XRD analyses to determine the clay mineralogy of Bering Sea Sediments.
Sarah Broer – Undergraduate Student (Graduated in 2014)
Sarah graduated from Iowa State in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Geology. She worked on an independent research project taking SEM and light microscope images of the diatom Thalassiosira antactica. These were used in Weckström et al., 2014.