The International Polar Year: Climate Series

Dr. Rolf Gradinger
Dr. Rolf Gradinger Dr. Gradinger studied biology at two universities in Mainz and Kiel, Germany, earning a Masters and Doctorate degrees in marine biology at Kiel University. Since completing his PhD, his main interest has been in Arctic sea ice ecology, which he explored as a Post-Doc and Assistant Professor at two institutions in Germany. In 2001 he moved to Alaska to work as a polar ecologist at the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. Recently he explored the activity and diversity of life in Arctic sea ice in various locations, including five Arctic expeditions with ice breakers for three projects funded by the National Science Foundation and NOAA, and more than 12 land based research trips to Barrow, Alaska.


Besides his research, Dr. Gradinger leads the Census of Marine Life Arctic Ocean Diversity project since 2004 and has been a member of various national research committees (e.g. UNOLS AICC, NSF BEST Scientific Steering Group). In his spare time Dr. Gradinger enjoys listening to classical music, birding, fishing, kayaking, and spending time with his family.


Dr. Slawek Tulaczyk
Dr. Slawek Tulaczyk Dr. Slawek Tulaczyk has been a glaciologist in the Earth and Planetary Sciences department at the University of California since 2000, and has been working on Antarctic science for 17 years. His research focuses on the critical role that ice sheets play in climate and sea-level change. He is the Principal Investigator of the LISSARD project; Lake and Ice Stream and Subglacial Access Research Drilling that is targeting Subglacial Lake Whillans on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. This is intriguing component of the larger interdisciplinary Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling program (WISSARD).


Dr. Brent Christner
Dr. Brent Christner Dr. Brent Christner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Louisiana State University and his work focuses on the microbiology of the cryosphere. Dr Christner explores life in permanently frozen environments and is interested in better understanding how microbial life survives and persists in extremely cold, dark, and low nutrient environments. Recent studies have found bacteria in glacial ice samples hundreds of thousands to millions of years old. Dr Christner and others are studying habitat requirements necessary for microbes to continue slow metabolic processes in ice. This is significant because 70% of all freshwater, and currently 10% of the earth’s surface, is covered in glacial ice. Dr. Christner’s research is helping to expand the definition of the biosphere.


Dr. Reed Scherer
Dr. Reed Scherer Dr. Reed Scherer is Presidential Research Professor of Geology and Environmental Geosciences at Northern Illinois University. Dr. Scherer is a micropaleontologist, but his career spans the spectrum from the smallest fossils (diatoms) to the largest fossils (dinosaurs). Dr. Scherer’s Antarctic research relates to the geologic history of the ice sheet using assemblages of fossil diatoms (microscopic siliceous algae) as tracers of these changes. He works with diatoms in sediments recovered by stratigraphic drilling and piston coring along the Antarctic continental margin and from the seas surrounding Antarctica, and with sediments recovered from beneath the Ross Ice Shelf and grounded West Antarctic Ice Sheet. He also uses diatoms as tracers of ice sheet processes, using the physical properties of diatoms to help evaluate sediment mixing and subglacial shearing in tills. He is a Principal Investigator of the RAGES program, Robotic Access to Grounding-zones for Exploration and Science, a drilling project that will explore the stability of ice stream grounding zones of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and the LISSARD program, Lake and Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling, both components of the WISSARD program, www.wissard.org.


Dr. Ross Powell
Dr. Ross Powell Dr. Ross Powell is Distinguished Research Professor and Board of Trustees Professor in the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, Northern Illinois University. His passion and interests focus on processes where glaciers and ice sheets enter the sea, and in interpreting the sedimentary records indicating how and why glaciers move into and out of the sea at the present and during past climate warming and cooling cycles. He has 34 years of research experience in high latitude regions including Arctic Alaska, Svalbard (Norway) and Baffin Island, Antarctica, and Chile. Dr. Powell is a lead Principal Investigator in ANDRILL, an ongoing Antarctic Geological Drilling Program. He is Lead Principal Investigator on RAGES, Robotic Access to Grounding-zones for Exploration and Science, and Principal Investigator on the LISSARD program, Lake and Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling both components of the multidisciplinary WISSARD program which is looking at marine ice sheet stability and climate change in West Antarctica.


Dr. Cristina Takacs-Vesbach
Dr. Cristina Takacs-Vesbach Dr. Cristina Takacs-Vesbach is an Associate Professor in the Biology Department at the University of New Mexico. Her research is focused on discovering the factors that determine microbial diversity and productivity in the natural environment. She works in extreme environments because these systems enable us to address fundamental questions about evolution and ecology. Currently, Dr. Takacs-Vesbach is working in two extreme environments; the thermal springs of Yellowstone National Park, and the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica. Dr. Takacs-Vesbach has spent five seasons in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica and was a member of the U.S National Committee for the International Polar Year.


Dr. Michael Gooseff
Dr. Michael Gooseff Dr. Michael Gooseff is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Gooseff’s research interests include understanding the hydrologic influence on nutrient cycling and geochemical reactions in streams and watersheds. Much of his research occurs in the polar reaches of the planet with projects ongoing in both the Arctic and Antarctica.


Dr. J.E. “Jeb" Barrett
Dr. J.E. Jeb Barrett Dr. J.E. “Jeb" Barrett is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Barrett is interested in the influences of soils, climate variability, hydrology and biodiversity on biogeochemical cycling from the scale of microorganisms to regional landscapes. Much of Dr. Barrett’s research is conducted in the polar desert ecosystems of Antarctica where he has spent eight field seasons focusing on how subtle changes in climate affect carbon cycling by soil microorganisms.



Underwritten in part by NSF, NASA, and NOAA.   National Science Foundation logo National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration logo