facebookISU Paleolimnology Laboratory     

Stone Paleolimnology Laboratory People 2012-2013 Coring at St. Mary of the Woods

Our laboratory specializes in using fossil and modern diatom assemblages to reconstruct past lake and river environments. Undergraduate student research projects in the lab currently include studying the effects of acid mine drainage on lake and river ecosystems and reconstructing the effects of industrial and domestic pollution on lakes and rivers throughout Indiana. Graduate projects range from the Rocky Mountains to East Africa and cover periods from as recent as the last century to as long as 6 million years ago.

Long-term research objectives for the laboratory include development of the diatom paleoecology from Hominid Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project, which seeks to obtain sediment cores from several of the most important fossil hominin and early Paleolithic artifact sites in the world, located in Kenya and Ethiopia. Additional research objectives in Africa include analysis of paleolake Mababe (Botswana), and developing research for drilling Lake Tanganyika. Continuing lake research in North America ranges from the Rocky Mountains to Alaska. 

Student Success


Congratulations to Kendra Reininga, who recently accepted a job offer from an environmental consulting firm located in Indiana, Creek Run. She will begin work shortly after graduating later this semester. Kendra has been involved with environmental research at the ISU Paleolimnology Lab for the past 2 years and she has worked on lake projects at Shakamak State Park and northwestern Indiana, and is currently also working as a student research assistant on the NSF funded HSPDP study at Baringo Basin.

Recent Publications

     This publication stemmed from some of our research on alpine lakes and the influence of nitrogen on diatom populations. Krista was a PhD student at the University of Maine and our time there overlapped. This project brings a long-term perspective to the influence of meltwater on changes in fossil diatom assemblages.

GSA 2014

Our lab sent 4 students (Matt Brindle, Jase Hixson, Sabrina Brown, and Kendra Reininga) to the GSA annual meeting in Vancouver at the end of October. Each of the students presented posters on their own research projects and Sabrina Brown also presented a talk about some of her work on Emerald Ash Borers on ISU's campus from her days as an undergraduate. Topics for the posters spanned from research on paleo-Lake Turkana, to eutrophication and nutrient cycling in Indiana state parks, to some new research from a lake in the Beartooth Mountains. If you weren't able to make the trip up to Vancouver, all of the posters are now available for viewing as a PDF.

Recent Publications

     The diatom data from Foy Lake, Montana, was instrumental in this publication, entitled "Prolonged instability prior to a regime shift", which was published this month in the Public Library of Science journal. The bulk of the work looking at the shifts in diatom regimes and modeling diatom response to climate change was done by Sheri Fritz's PhD student, Trisha Spanbauer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

SURE 2014


As the summer of 2014 comes to a close, we can look back on another successful SURE program session. This summer's research as the ISU Paleolimnology lab included work from four students (Casey Boose, Alan McCune, Erica Memmer, and Shana Shepard). Their projects for the summer ranged from diatom analysis of a core from the Beartooth Mountains, to phosphorus extractions from lakes in eastern Indiana, to modern diatom sampling and water chemistry for lakes in the greater Wabash River Valley, to preparing sediment samples from a small pond on the St. Mary of the Woods campus. Our lab worked closely with Jen Latimer's lab (and SURE 2014 students David McLellan and Tina Williams) on several projects, including collecting a core from Goose Pond, collecting a number of samples and cores from region, and sharing a number of research projects for geochemical analyses.