Earth Scientists share their passion for research

As Earth Science Week gets underway, we decided to chat with some of the faculty and students from the Department of Marine and Environmental Systems to see how they got interested in these various Earth Science disciplines, what their most exciting research is, and what they hope to do in the future.

Dr. Kevin Johnson is an associate professor, specializing primarily in biological oceanography. His research interests encompass a wide range of topics related to zooplankton ecology,
exploring phenomena that impact organisms, communities and populations.

Dr. John Trefry is a professor who specializes in chemical oceanography, with a focus on the concentrations and cycling of trace metals in the oceans, estuaries and rivers. These studies are carried out in a wide variety of geographical settings including the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, the Alaskan Arctic, the Mississippi River and Indian River Lagoon, Florida.

Dr. George Maul is a professor and head of the Department of Marine and Environmental Systems. His current research interests include quantifying the impact of climate and global change on society, establishing operational forecasts of coastal ocean circulation, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, developing an integrated global sea-level/weather network for climate studies and sustained economic development, designing the Intra-Americas Sea Tsunami Warning System, and satellite altimetry research.

Kaikea Nakachi is a senior in oceanography, with a concentration in biological oceanography. He was raised in Hawaii and has a strong interest in the marine life native to that area, particularly sharks.

Austin Fox is a Ph.D. student in oceanography, with a concentration in chemical oceanography. One of his major research focuses is studying mercury levels in the Chukchi Sea, which is off the west coast of Alaska.

Alex Nickerson is a senior in meteorology. He’s interested in researching severe weather and ways to improve forecasting to help people better prepare for these weather events.

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