Daniel Obrist

Dr. Obrist’s research interests include atmospheric chemistry, transport, and biogeochemistry of pollutants and quantification of surface exchange processes of atmospheric constituents between soils, plants, and the atmosphere. A special emphasis includes cycling of mercury in the environment and how global change and disturbances affect these processes. Current research projects include (i) systematic quantification of mercury loads in forest across the United States to assess atmospheric loadings sequestered in terrestrial systems; (ii) study of biogeochemical processes of mercury sequestered in soils and litter to assess it’s fate during organic carbon decomposition; (iii) assessment of long-range transport of atmospheric pollutants (e.g., Asian pollution events) and tropospheric oxidation of mercury at DRI’s high-elevation research Station, Storm Peak Laboratory in the Rocky Mountains; (iv) development of a novel real-time sensor based on Cavity-Ring-Down spectroscopy to measure atmospheric mercury concentrations; and (v) study of mercury depletion events in the halogen-rich atmosphere at the Dead Sea, Israel to determine oxidation pathways and kinetics for mercury oxidation in temperate areas. Other interests include effects of wildfires and global change (e.g., elevated CO2, increasing tropospheric ozone) on hydrology and carbon and nutrient cycling processes in terrestrial ecosystems.

Elisabeth “Libby” Hausrath

Dr. Hausrath is an aqueous geochemist and astrobiologist, and the overall theme of her research program is to investigate interactions between water and minerals, and the impacts of life on those interactions. They use a combination of field work, laboratory experiments, and modeling to investigate signatures of aqueous alteration and life, the rates at which these reactions occur, and how they differ on Earth and on other planets such as Mars. Our work helps understand chemical weathering, nutrient release, the formation of soils, and biosignatures on both Earth and Mars.

Matthew Lachniet

Dr. Lachniet’s research focuses on understanding the controls on Earth’s climate on time scales ranging from seasonal to 100s of thousands years, with a particular focus on tropical and arctic past climates. These data inform understanding of modern and anthropogenic climate change. He is co-director of the Las Vegas Isotope Science (LVIS) Lab in the Science and Engineering Building. Dr. Lachniet has an active research program in which he uses light stable and radiogenic isotope geochemistry, hydrology, speleology, glacial geology, geomorphology, and the sedimentary record to answer questions of paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic change. His primary research areas are Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Alaska, and the Great Basin.