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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 Presentations

The ISU Paleolimnology Lab group has recently presented student research at several national meetings, including Erika Smith's contribution to Posters on the Hill (presented to Congress) and the NC GSA Section Meeting, Bethany Kile's presentations at NCUR, Indiana Academy of Science, and NC GSA Section Meeting, and Joe Mohan and Sabrina Brown's presentations at the NC GSA Section Meeting. Poster titles can be found on the publications page.

Recent Publications

     Our paper in The Holocene is now available as an Online First article. This paper discusses the results of research from 3 lakes in the Rocky Mountains that Jasmine Saros and I have been working on for several years. Here we apply some of ecological understanding of the cyclotelloid diatoms to the long-term records to reconstruct thermal stratification.

     Our paper in Geology was published in late summer 2015. Here we present the first paleoecological evidence from East Africa of environmental conditionssurrounding the eruption in a high-resolution (~89 yr) analysis of two cores collected by the Lake Malawi Drilling Project. These cores contain an undisturbed record of sedimentation before, during, and after deposition of the youngest Toba Tuff. Concentrations of climate-sensitive ecological indicators such as phantom midges, diatoms, and other algae through a >270 yr interval bracketing the Toba cryptotephra show no unusual or sustained deviations from background variability within Lake Malawi associated with the hypothesized post-Toba cooling. We find no evidence for significantly enhanced mixing or ecosystem disturbance that would be anticipated following a volcanic winter.