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.
Climatic and environmental controls on 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 iron through geologic time
I am compiling a long-term record of iron in terrestrial systems to examine how changes in the atmosphere and the evolution of life affected the availability of this essential nutrient. In prep.
Field sites: FAR-DEEP cores in Norway (May 2018)
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.)