Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center


 Bryan Mark (Professor, Geography)

PictureI am fascinated by earth-water-atmosphere interactions, and from an early age discovered a love for mountains. The culmination of my multi-disciplinary educational path was an Earth Sciences doctoral dissertation focused on deglaciation in the tropical Andes, out of which spawned ideas and questions that motivate this research group. I have come to appreciate tropical glaciers as climatically sensitive components of the cryosphere that literally crown the terrestrial hydrological cycle. Even though the vast majority of fresh water on this planet resides in much larger polar ice caps, it is arguable that these smaller, low-latitude ice masses are more directly linked to people. They exist on remote mountains and buffer surface water availability in underdeveloped nations within the heavily populated tropical regions of our planet that are also source of heat driving global climate. It has been estimated that one-sixth of humanity relies on snow and ice melt for sustaining their water supplies. Changes to tropical glaciers over different scales thus elucidate important climate information, and also impact to human society. Our group conducts different aspects of transdisciplinary research to quantify and trace the changes of these remote ice masses through space and time.
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Gabriel Zeballos (PhD, Geography)

La imagen puede contener: una o varias personasI am Bolivian and I am passionate about Andean culture, Alpine ecology, and Environment. My broad goal is to understand the impact that global and climate change has upon the ecosystems and society in the High Andes. While at college, I first focused in environmental quality using plant biomonitoring (BS in Biology), and later in tropical alpine landscapes change, examining the relationships between glacier retreat and the associated downstream wetlands using satellite imagery (BS in Geography). Currently my specific interest is to comprehend the hydrological and environmental roles of the tropical alpine peatlands, or bofedales, in the context of climate and environmental change in the Central Andes of Bolivia.

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Emilio Mateo (PhD, Geography)

I received my undergraduate degree from University of Michigan in Environmental Science, and my Master’s degree from University of Denver in Geography.  I conducted my Master’s research on rock glacier hydrology in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.  I am interested in the hydrological processes of alpine regions that contain glaciers, such as Peru, Chile, and the western United States.  I plan to examine both the physical impacts of climate change and the water resource implications for the communities downstream in these regions.


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Emily Sambuco (MA, Geography)

Picture for sambuco.8I recently graduated from the Atmospheric Science and Environmental Science Programs at Ohio State. I volunteered in Dr. Andrea Grottoli’s lab, where I was able to help with Earth Science research regarding the adaptive properties of corals in response to climate change. I am also involved with the Meteorology Club at Ohio State, which allows me to plan and be part of educational events relating to weather and climate. Also, as an undergraduate student, I worked within the Byrd Center’s Education & Outreach Group. Recently I received the 2016-17 Taaffe Award for Outstanding Undergraduate in Atmospheric Science, and Climate and Physical Geography. My broad objective is to integrate the physical geography with the environmental change in the Great Basin National Park.



Jeff Gunderson (MA, Geography)

Jeff Gunderson

I completed my undergraduate degree in geology at The College of Wooster in May of 2017. During my time as an undergraduate, my research interests ultimately became centered around the relationship between glaciers and climate, and understanding the impacts of glacier loss. This broad interest became manifest through my participation in The Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) in 2015, where I primarily studied the stable water isotopes of Taku Glacier. Thereafter, I worked with my previous advisor, Dr. Greg Wiles, for two years in his dendrochronology lab. Culminating into a senior thesis, I leveraged a newly developed tree ring parameter, blue light intensity (BI), to model glacier mass balance into the Little Ice Age. I also worked to date geomorphic features in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve using subfossil wood collected in the field. Moving forward, I am interested in glacial hydrology and very excited to bring a tree ring perspective to tropical glaciers in Peru.

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John-Morgan Manos (Undergraduate student)

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in Atmospheric Sciences as well as minoring in both Geography and Geographic Information Systems. Within the Glacier Environmental Change group, I focus my research on alpine glaciers in the mid latitudes; specifically, those originating from Great Basin National Park. By surveying the glaciers and utilizing aerial imagery, we can reconstruct the glacier in a 3-dimensional model which we can use to track glacier surface elevation changes in 1 year intervals. Alpine glaciers are known to provide a proxy for local and global climate changes; thus, this model should provide some insight as to the rate and magnitude of such changes within the Great Basin region.

James White (Undergraduate student)

SES student James White and team place 1st in ASA Datafest at OSUI currently test water samples for Dr. Mark’s research group. Using instruments from the School of Earth Sciences in Mendenhall lab, I analysis water samples for major anion and cation dissolved concentrations and oxygen isotopes. I run samples from Dr. Marks regular trips to Peru and Great Basin National park. Dr. Mark and his colleges in Canada use the Peru data for their research. I am currently collecting all the Great Basin water analysis collected over the years in order to construct an overall hydrologic profile of the area. I am particularly interested in the influence of rock glaciers in the area and how the area’s lithology helps create some unusual water chemistry.