Martina Tingley

Martina Tingley 1
This is my 4th year at NAU majoring in Environmental Sciences: Biology. Thanks to the National Science Foundation I am currently conducting a research project that will determine a

10,500 year vegetation and fire history determined from a sediment record near Cordova, AK. My main focuses are pollen and charcoal analysis for which I am receiving mentorship from Dr. R. Scott Anderson. It is my hope to eventually obtain a Master’s degree in Quaternary Sciences.

Additional Interests

  • Sedimentology
  • Limnology
  • Paleoecology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Climate Change
  • Forest Ecology

I would like to express my deepest gratitude for my family for supporting me with whatever projects I have chosen to begin in the past that I have yet to finish. I have finally found that one I am prepared to see through to the end. I would also like to thank all my teachers from high school as well as my college professors for having the patience to teach me everything that I am able to use today.

About my research

Pollen images of the current dominating tree species present at Lower Whitshed Lake, my study site. (spruce, western hemlock, mountain hemlock, and alder)

Pollen is an amazing thing. Every single plant species on the planet produces either pollen or spores, and just like the plants they come from, they are distinguishable by their characteristics and can therefore be identified to the species level (usually). It is essentially indestructible and can really help in understanding the ecology of a landscape and what climatic conditions are like. It is for these reasons that pollen is an extremely helpful proxy in looking at ancient ecosystems as well. I analyze pollen by processing samples obtained from sediment cores. For more info, read my prospectus.


Post-glacial pollen and charcoal analysis of a 10,500-year lake sediment record from Whitshed Lake near Cordova, Alaska

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Martina Tingley1, R. Scott Anderson2

1Department of Environmental Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Center for Environmental Sciences and Education, and Quaternary Sciences Program, Northern Arizona University

Whitshed Lake is a small, near-coastal, lake basin and lies 300 km east of the habitat limit for Tsuga mertensiana and T. heterophylla. The coastal proximity and high latitude increases this site’s sensitivity to climate change. Few fire histories have been reconstructed for sites such as this. Pollen and charcoal have been extracted from stratigraphic samples taken from the Whitshed Lake sediment core, providing a 10,000 year vegetation and fire history. This determines how local vegetation has responded to climate change, forest composition’s response to fire events, and migration/settlement of two tree species with a limited habit range. Forest composition began as shrub-tundra, changing to alder woodland, then conifer dominant woodland. Tsuga mertensiana arrives first with T. heterophylla soon following and becoming more dominant. Further analysis will be done to compare fire history with the vegetation history to determine whether fire helped facilitate some of the less drastic changes.

About me

Martina Tingley 2 Martina Tingley 3
I was born in San Angelo, TX and moved around the country until I was 4 years old and my dad decided to make the permanent move to Las Vegas. I was raised by my father (a single parent) and grew up with the best life that he was able to provide me with all the while instilling high moral values that I carry to this day. I am now blessed with a wonderful step mother and a baby brother who was born in 2010.

I graduated from Valley High School in Las Vegas, NV in 2008 after spending four years trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life. I experimented with musical theater, dance, choir, and tennis, and while I enjoyed every one of those activites, I felt that something was missing. After spending the majority of my life in a big city I decided to make the change and go to an altogether new environment for my undergraduate degree: Flagstaff, AZ

Tingley 4
I went into my degree program of Environmental Science not knowing if it was something that I would enjoy on an educational level. I turned out to be pleasantly surprised. I had no idea that science would be something I truly turned out to enjoy. I am lucky enough to have amazing professors that have only enhanced my love of biology, chemistry, and even geology. I intend to continue my education experience and obtain a Master’s degree within the next five years. I am excited to continue my education beyond undergrad and I hope that the next step will continue to challenge and motivate me as much as this has.