Sedimentary Records of Environmental Change Lab Personnel


Lab Director, Darrell Kaufman

I study geologic records of environmental changes, particularly those related to climate, that have shaped the Earth’s surface during the recent past and that operate on millennial time scales. 

Nick McKay2 
Nick McKay, Post Doctorate

I am a postdoctoral scholar working with Dr. Kaufman on synthesizing climate records of climatic and environmental change across the mid-Holocene transition from sites around the Arctic. I recently completed my Ph.D. in geosciences at the University of Arizona, where I primarily worked on a long lake record from tropical West Africa. I completed my undergraduate and Master's degree at Northern Arizona University, where I studied how climate signals are recorded in Arctic Lakes, and used lake records and gplacial landforms to reconstruct Holocene climate variability in southern Alaska.

I am Flagstaff native, and am happy to be back in town, along with my wife and our three young boys.

David Fortin, Post Doctorate

 After completing a PhD at Queen’s University, Kingston Ontario, and a postdoc at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientitique, Quebec city, I joined the lab as a postdoctoral scholar in the spring of 2013 through the University's Support for Post-doctoral Associates (SPA) Program. My work at NAU primarily focuses on the study of lake sediment records and on the monitoring of sediment fluxes in glacierized watersheds in Alaksa.

Katherine Cooper Red Mountain 
Lab Manager, Katherine Cooper

I attained my Master’s degree in Environmental and Soil Science from the University of Tennessee, and currently manage both the Sedimentary Records of Environmental Change lab, and the Amino Acid Geochronology lab.

Graduate Students

John Griffith 
John Griffith, Geology

I am a second-year Master’s student in the NAU Geology program.  My research interests lie in multi-proxy Holocene paleoclimate records preserved in lacustrine sediment.  My current research focuses on reconstructing climate variability in southern Alaska through a multi-proxy analysis of sediment cores from Lake Tokun, lower Copper River, Alaska.

Taylor LaBrecque 
Taylor LaBrecque, Geology

I am a second year Geology Master’s student at NAU. My research interests include recent environmental and climatic changes preserved in lacustrine sediment. My current project involves the reconstruction of the Holocene glacier history of Grewingk Glacier in Kachemak Bay, Alaska, inferred from physical and biological characteristics in pro-glacial lacustrine sediment cores from Emerald Lake.

 Paul Zander 

Paul Zander, Environmental Science

I am a graduate student in geology at NAU, and previously obtained a BS in environmental science from NAU. My research is focused on using biological and physical properties of lacustrine sediment to reconstruct environmental and climatic change in the Gulf of Alaska region. I am also using lake sediments to create a stratigraphy of volcanic ash deposits in the Copper River Delta region. 

Undergraduate Researchers


Katie Gibble

I received my bachelor's degree in environmental geology from NAU in the spring of 2013. As I prepare to pursue my master's degree studying fluvial geomorphology I assist in the Sedimentary Records of Environmental Change Lab. My recent work includes correlating surface cores from Shainin Lake in northern Alaska and helping to determine the origins of the lake's sediment. 

Megan Saalfeld

I am a third year undergraduate at NAU studying Environmental Geology, with a minor in Chemistry.  My current work focuses on Cascade Lake, in the Brooks Range of Alaska, where I am using Biogenic Silica analysis as a proxy to determine summertime temperatures.

Lab Technician

Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson

I am currently an undergraduate in Environmental Sciences- Biology at NAU. I work in the Sediment Lab and the Amino Acid Geochronology Lab as a lab assistant processing geologic samples. I enjoy long walks on the beach along with reading absorption on the spectrophotometer and tightening/loosening caps on centrifuge tubes.