Research

I am a Ph.D. candidate in geochemistry in the University of Michigan’s Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences. My research focuses on how terrestrial nutrient cycling,  life, and the atmosphere have co-evolved through geologic time. I am particularly interested in studying iron and phosphorus – two essential nutrients – and how changes in their cycles may have impacted productivity through time. Additionally, I study controls in nutrients in modern soils, and how modern soils can be used as analogues for early terrestrial systems.

Continental Environments Research Group (CERG)
Advisor: Nathan Sheldon
Lab instagram

Current projects
Characterizing the iron content of modern soils
I am working to constrain the climatic and environmental factors that primarily control the distribution of iron in modern soils under varying climatic regimes, using a novel combination of chemical extractions and analytical techniques (AGU 2016). Will present at Goldschmidt 2018, session 12e. In prep.
Field sites: Anywhere with soils! 

Constraining changes in terrestrial phosphorus through geologic time
I am compiling a long-term record of phosphorus in terrestrial systems to examine how terrestrial nutrient cycling, the atmosphere, and marine productivity/life co-evolved. In prep.

Terrestrial Indian paleoclimate across the K-Pg
In 2017, I visited India to sample paleosols formed at the edge of the Deccan Traps before, during, and after the end-Cretaceous extinction event, for the purpose of paleoclimate reconstruction (GSA, October 2017; Dzombak et al., in prep.)
Field sites: central India (March 2017)

Wyoming paleoclimate during the EECO
I am also working on the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO), a period of abrupt warming around 56 Ma, as recorded in floodplains in Wyoming.
Field sites: Wind River Basin (June 2017)

Advising: SE Michigan wetlands soil chemistry
In addition to my own research, I am working with an undergraduate research assistant to determine seasonal changes in nutrient cycling in wetland soils in Michigan; this work is part of the University of Michigan’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program and was sparked by field trips led as part of the Soils & Surface Processes class taught with my adviser in Fall 2017.

(UROP 2016 project: Reconstructing vegetation in Wyoming at the EECO using carbon isotopes.)