Advanced Search
Astrobiology Magazine Facebook  Astrobiology Magazine Twitter
Pavilion Lake Research Project 2011

2011 Pavilion Lake Research Project Participants

Darlene Lim, Principal Investigator. Darlene is a geobiologist and limnologist (and yes, her last name is Lim) based at the NASA Ames Research Center. Her research interests span Earth and Space Science. She conducts limnological and paleolimnological investigations of remote lakes and ponds in the Canadian High Arctic to characterize Holocene climate change. She has also extrapolated her Arctic work to Mars analogue paleolake reconstructions. Since 1999, she has been participating in the NASA/SETI Haughton Mars Project, and was selected to inhabit the Mars Society's Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS), the world's first Mars simulation base, at Haughton Crater in 2000 and 2001. She now sits on the Mars Society's Steering Committee.

Darlene led the establishment of the PLRP in 2004, and along with her co-PI, Bernard Laval, has enjoyed managing and evolving the project ever since. Her research interests at Pavilion Lake include its chemical and biological limnological characterization, and the isotopic biosignatures associated with the microbialites. She is also extremely interested in understanding the possible unique nature of Pavilion Lake through the exploration of near-by lakes and the regional geology.

Over the past decade, Darlene conducted fieldwork in the Canadian High Arctic, the Antarctic, throughout Central America, Guyana, and northern Chile. She continues to ardently promote the importance of science and exploration through lectures, media outreach and editorial contributions.

 Curtis Suttle, MARSLIFE Contract PI.
Major Science Goals at Pavilion Lake:
- Role of viruses and other microbes in the formation of microbialites
- Genetic composition of viruses and other microbes associated with microbialites




 Allyson Brady, Science Lead. Allyson is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary studying microbial diversity and carbon cycling in extreme environments. She has been a member of the PLRP since 2005 and will be the acting PI this summer while Darlene Lim is on leave. Allyson completed her PhD at McMaster University in isotope geochemistry under the guidance of Greg Slater where her research focused on applying isotopic analytical techniques to investigate the role of biology in carbonate precipitation and the identification of associated microbial isotope biosignatures. Her research interests continue to focus on microbes in extreme environments, microbial carbon cycling, influences on carbonate precipitation and the potential for the formation of isotopic biosignatures that may be preserved in the geologic record.




 Donnie Reid has been a SCUBA diver for over 26 years, having logged nearly 6000 dives. During much of that time he has been intimately involved in the BC dive industry holding such positions as Director in the Underwater Council of BC, President of the Dive Industry Association of BC, Diving Safety Officer for the Vancouver Aquarium and lead for the last two Ocean Pioneer Award's Dinners. Through his photography he became involved in numerous expeditions and research projects that have led to a Fellowship International in the Explorers' Club..




 Dana Lis, PLRP EPO Lead. Dana is a registered dietitian and graduate of the prestigious IOC Sport Nutrition diploma program. As sport dietitian with the Canadian Sport Center Pacific she has worked extensively with a wide range of athletes some of which include the Vancouver National Swim Center, Vancouver Whitecaps soccer club, national level road and track cyclists as well as numerous Team BC teams and athletes. Aside from her nutrition career Dana has been involved with PLRP for 5 years taking care of food logistics, cooking and managing overall wellbeing of the camp. This season her role has evolved to EPO team lead. She is looking forward to learning opportunities, challenges and the excitement of this new role in the 2011 field season. 


 Andrew Abercromby, Participating Scientist, Data Management. Andrew's major science goals at Pavilion Lake include quantitative and qualitative assessment of the relationship between scientific productivity and operational procedures and constraints.





 Jennifer F. Biddle, Researcher. Dr. Biddle's research interests include microbial ecology of benthic microorganisms, particularly those in the subsurface marine environment. Her work has examined everything from the isotopic characterization of subsurface cells to the first subsurface metagenome study, all to discover what microbes are present meters beneath the seafloor and how and why they survive in this extreme environment. Additional research projects include genomics of uncultivated microorganisms and molecular characterization of novel environments. She has written a number of articles that were published in professional journals, including Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, PLoS One and Geomicrobiology Journal. She will be examining Pavilion Lake Microbialites to do detailed molecular studies on their microbial communities. Her portion of the project is currently funded by the Delaware Space Grant Consortium. 


 Sherry Cady, Sherry Cady joins PLRP 2011 from Portlant State University. Her expertise lies in astrobiology, biosignatures and geomicrobiology.






Zena Cardman, Field Assistant. Zena graduated from the University of North Carolina, where she currently works with Dr. Andreas Teske researching the diversity and metabolic activity of subsurface microbes. Zena joined the Pavilion lake Research Project in 2008; she also works in the Antarctic with the Palmer LTER and as a tall ship engineer with the Sea Education Association.




 Amy M Chan, Participating Scientist. Our research team will continue to investigate the abundance and genetic composition of prokaryotic and viral communities in Pavilion Lake and its microbialites. As well, I am particularly interested in isolating and characterizing novel viruses that infect cyanobacteria and other phyto-epiphytes associated with microbialites.




Tamar Cohen, Software Development, Computer/Human Interaction. With a background in software engineering and fine art, Tamar works with NASA Ames' Intelligent Robotics group to bridge the gap between robots and humans. She designs and implements software to provide situational awareness for remote robotic operation. For Pavilion Lake Research Project, she works with the science back room team writing tools to process and geolocate the terabytes of video data captured by the submersibles.






 Matthew Deans, Participating Scientist, Science Stenographer. Matthew's goals in 2011 include improving science return through real time mapping and rapid turnaround post-flight analysis.





 Bill Dearing, Communications and Video Systems. I’ve worked in various NASA laboratories at Kennedy Space Center in support of failure analysis, materials testing, telescience and computer engineering. Recent work has included providing Earth analog testing solutions for Lunar Surface EVA cameras systems used by the Science Team in support of NASA Desert Research and Technology Studies (D-RATS).



 Mike Delaney has been scuba diving for the past eight years, seven as a professional Divemaster and Instructor with over one thousand dives. For the past six years he has worked at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre in the Animal husbandry department and as Assistant Diving Officer. Mike is actively involved in many community and international marine conservation activities such as marine life surveying and habitat monitoring. Assistant Dive Safety Officer



 Michael Downs began working at NASA Kennedy Space Center as a cooperative education student in 1992. At Pavilion Lake, Michael is responsible for the communications infrastructure that will be used this year, as well as the NASA MMCC (Mobile Mission Control Center) that will be supporting the project for the first time this year.



Jonathan Fether, Deepworker Technical Support. Jonathan works to ensure safe and productive operation of the submersibles, and to refine the sub's instrumentation package to better suit future deployments.




Alex Forrest, Ph.D. student, Deepworker Pilot, Gavia Pilot. Alex's research is focused on describing circulation patterns of environments where evidence of microbialites exists. Specifically, he is interested in charting water movement under ice and how that relates to nutrient and chemical distribution in the water column. The focus of his initial investigations was the geochemical modeling of these systems using geochemistry software packages in order to try and explain mineral accretion. In addition, ongoing investigations into microbial growth are being made in order to quantify the role that benthic microbial communities play in microbialite growth.


Matthew Fox, Mission Planner, Lead Timeliner. Matthew joins PLRP 2011 from the NASA Johnson Space Center.


 Mike Gernhardt, NASA Astronaut, Manager of Environmental Physiology Laboratory and Principle Investigator of Prebreath Reduction Program, Johnson Space Center. Dr. Gernhardt was selected by NASA in March 1992, and reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1992.





 Chris Haberle, Geology and Mechanics. I am interested in the structural difference in these microbialites with depth, in particular their pore structure and bulk density vs true density and how it changes with depth. I like Oregon State baseball, am a Seattle Mariners fan and I am a Gemini with a twin brother (Woah!).







 Jeff Heaton, Operations Supervisor and Lead Submersible Pilot. Jeff has worked on many documentary films as submersible pilot and supervisor for Nuytco Research. These include the BBC production "Quest for the Giant Squid" in Kiakoura submarine Canyon, New Zealand, the Discovery Channel's "Octopus Show" in Jervis Inlet, B.C., the BBC's "Extreme Animals", also in Jervis Inlet, B.C., and the BBC's "Pacific Abyss" in Palau Micronesia.



Jennifer Jadwick, Participating Scientist, Data Management. Jennifer's expertise includes EVA Physiology and Operations. She joins PLRP 2011 from the NASA Johnson Space Center.








 Barbara Janoiko, Science Stenographer. Barbara Janoiko is an Engineering Project Manager in the Crew and Thermal Systems Division at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. While earning her B.S. in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University, she worked for NASA as a cooperative education student. She has recently been the Project Manager for the suit port and aft deck systems of the Space Exploration Vehicle project, but currently she is Test Coordinator for the Desert RATS analog program and lead for NASA Advanced Exploration Systems Analogs. She observed PLRP test activities for a few days in 2010, and is looking forward to being an integral part of the team in 2011 as a science stenographer. This experience will provide insight that will be helpful for Desert RATS and other analog science activities.




 Sasha LeBaron, Deepworker Technical Support.






 David Lees, Participating Scientist, Science Stenographer. David's major science goals at Pavilion Lake in 2011 include improving the efficiency of data collection during Deepworker flights and make it easier to find interesting images, video and events during post-flight data analysis.




 Megan Levins, Space Station Robotics Training and Control. Megan has worked in the Mission Operations Directorate since 2007 and a United Space Alliance subcontractor. Megan starts as a Space Station Robotics Instructor working with Increments 19 and 20 which brought the International Space Station to a six person crew for the first time. Megan also trained the crew member of Inc. 20 to capture the Japanese built H-II transfer vehicle, the free flying vehicle to be capture and installed robotically. Megan mentored worked with the Increments 27 and 28 crew, who are slated to capture the first commercially launched and built free flying vehicle, as a mentor. Megan's most recently worked as the lead Station Robotics Instructor for the STS-134/ULF6 mission, training the crew to install an Alpha magnetic spectrometer in addition to other payloads. Megan recently completed her certification as a Station Robotics Flight Controller and will be supporting the STS-135/ULF7 mission as MSS Task, a Mission Control Robotics backroom position.



 Tyler Mackey, Research Diver. I am a second-year masters student working with Professor Dawn Sumner at the University of California-Davis and will by continuing with a PhD program starting in the Fall of 2011. My research centers on microbialite carbonate precipitation, morphology emergence, and community response to changing environmental conditions. I come to this field with a geological background in physical sedimentology and an interest in early Earth microbial ecosystems. My aim is to develop a better understanding of ancient microbialites through investigations of modern microbially-dominated sedimentary environments.




 Marianne Mader, Ph.D. Student, Planetary Science. Marianne specializes in geological mapping of remote field areas. Her research is focused on developing lunar exploration strategies, specifically for geological work, using terrestrial analogue missions. She received her bachelor’s degree in Earth Science at the University of New Brunswick and worked with the Geological Survey of Canada during the summer months in northern Ontario. As part of her MSc in Earth Science, Marianne completed two summer field seasons in SW Greenland and developed a new tectonic model for a 3 billion-year-old greenstone belt near Nuuk, the capital city. Subsequently, Marianne obtained an MSc in Space Studies from the International Space University, France which opened her eyes to the field of planetary exploration. Through the internship component of this program she worked at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and participated in the 2007 Haughton-Mars Project, Devon Island. Further work at the CSA as a Research Affiliate involved field investigations of a lunar and mars analogue sites, ranging from the Yukon to northern Axel Heiberg Island, Canadian high Arctic. As a PhD student at the University of Western Ontario (UWO), Marianne has continued her research of planetary analogue sites on Earth. She is presently part of UWO-lead lunar analogue missions at the Mistastin Lake impact structure in Labrador, Canada. She is studying the design and effective evaluation of analogue missions, in order to help develop future planetary missions. As part of the Pavilion Lake Research Team Marianne aims to help with the quantitative and qualitative assessment of the relationship between scientific productivity and operational procedures and constraints.

Margarita Marinova, Deepworker Pilot. Margarita's main research interests are in characterizing extreme environments, and understanding the surface of Mars. She received her bachelor's degree in Aeronautics and Astronauts at MIT in 2003, consequently working at EADS in Munich, Germany on rocket propulsion engines. She then worked at NASA Ames Research Center in California on understanding extreme environments and the limits of habitability for Earth life. Margarita received her PhD in Planetary Science from Caltech in 2010, where she examined planetary-scale impacts and their implications for the early history of Mars and the solid Solar System planets. Her research interests focus on understanding interesting processes and features on Mars through simulations and field measurements. As part of her work to understand Mars, Margarita studies analogue locations on the Earth. Her study sites range from the High Arctic, to the Sahara Desert in Egypt, the bottom of a lake in British Columbia in Canada, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and to the Dry Valleys of Antarctica. Her love for science is strengthened by the excitement of discovering and understanding how nature works.



 Damien McCombs, First Aid Attendant. I am excited to be working with such a fascinating project. I have been providing medical services for a variety of different sites through out BC. This includes backcountry settings, to industrial sites, to construction sites, to outdoor classrooms. Much of my working life is spent designing and delivering experiential, sustainability focused, outdoor, educational material to kids. I am outside pretty much all the time, for work or play (Hello Marble Canyon!).



 Christopher McKay, Planetary Geologist. Chris received his Ph.D. in AstroGeophysics from the University of Colorado in 1982 and has been a research scientist with the NASA Ames Research Center since that time. His current research focuses on the evolution of the solar system and the origin of life. He is also actively involved in planning for future Mars missions including human settlements. Chris been involved in research in Mars-like environments on Earth, traveling to the Antarctic dry valleys, Siberia , the Canadian Arctic, and the Atacama desert to study life in these Mars-like environments. His was a co-I on the Titan Huygen's probe in 2005, the Mars Phoenix lander mission for 2007, and the Mars Science Lander mission for 2009. He is currently the Program Scientist for the Robotic Lunar Exploration Program.


 Bree Mireau, Education Team Leader. This summer at Pavilion Lake, the Education Team will be creating exciting opportunities for teachers to get a first hand experience working with scientists, astronauts and other educators to learn more about the various science and reasearch that is being conducted at Pavilion Lake. The Education Team has also been busy this year creating unique and engaging lesson plans and curriculum resources to allow teachers to bring the science of Pavilion Lake into their classrooms.




James A. Nienow, Participating Scientist. I am trying to determine the structure of the phototrophic communities associated with microbialites using a combination of of light and electron microscopy of preserved and cultured material. This work will complement the molecular studies being conducted by other members of the research group.




Phil Nuytten. An internationally recognised pioneer in the diving industry, Phil Nuytten has spent 40 years creating deepwater dive products that have opened the ocean's depths to exploration and industry. Through his companies, Nuytco and Can-Dive, he has developed the technology to allow longer-length diving expeditions with increased safety. Nuytten's one-atmosphere systems – the hard-suits 'Newtsuit' and 'Exosuit', and his deep-diving “DeepWorker” submersibles – are renowned internationally. This deep diving equipment, along with Nuytten's military submarine rescue system (designated 'Remora' by the Royal Australian Navy and 'PRMS' by the US Navy), is standard in nearly a dozen of the world's navies. Contract work has taken him to oilfields, submarine construction sites and sunken wrecks around the world, including the Breadalbane, the northern-most known shipwreck, where his record dives through icy Arctic waters earned him a place on the cover of National Geographic Magazine in 1984. Nuytten was one of the forces behind the 'Sustainable Seas Expeditions' in the 1990's, a five-year initiative by the National Geographic Society and NOAA to study deep ocean environmental impact. During this project, DeepWorker micro-subs were used to explore and monitor National marine sanctuaries. The findings from this expedition have contributed significantly to scientists' understanding of underwater ecology, habitats, and biodiversity. More recently, Nuytten and his team finalized development of the 'Prehensor', a prosthetic-like device that mimics the human hand and will allow manipulative dexterity far in advance of the current pliers-style end effectors. The 'Prehensor' is being integrated into the development of an ultra light weight, swimming hard suit called the 'Exosuit', giving the operator the best of both worlds: the safety of a rigid one-atmosphere system along with the manual dexterity of a scuba diver's gloved hand. NASA has shown considerable interest in this technology for use by astronauts in space. Phil Nuytten has spent nearly forty years developing undersea systems that have the safety of the diving technician as their common theme. His goal has been to provide scientific, technical, military, and sport divers full access to continental shelf depths without the hazards of decompression, so that humans can explore, learn about, and - ultimately - protect the world's oceans.

Briana Palmer, Artist in Residency. Briana has been closely associated with the Pavillion lake for several years now. Her several dives in this lake for underwater illustrations of the microbiolites has inspired many of her prints, sculptures and instillations. Her prints are in the collections of the Alberta Foundations of the Arts, Southern Graphics Print Council as well as the University of Alberta’s print collection. Her work can be viewed on line The Drawing Center in NewYork, as well as Open Studio in Toronto.






Rafferty Pendery, Videographer and Web Designer. Rafferty Pendery is the CEO of Studio98, a marketing company specializing in web based system development, social media and reputation management. Rafferty started by working with NASA on the Spaceward Bound Mojave missions for 2 years creating videos and assisting in the air borne thermography. Rafferty was then asked to participate in the Pavilion Lake Research Project. Rafferty has been contributing to PLRP for 2 years, redesigning the PLRP website and creating video pieces which represent the Pavilion Lake Research Project. These videos have been fed into and redistributed by NASA through many social media channels. The video footage has also been used by UC Davis and the Canadian Space Agency.


David J. Pogue, Crew Systems and Crew Survival Operations. David has worked in the Mission Operations Directorate since 1990, initially for Barrios Technology, Ltd, and then as a NASA employee. From 1990 to 1995, David worked Space Station Freedom and International Space Station Crew Systems operations. In 1995, he added Space Shuttle Crew Escape operations to his duties. He was the lead Crew Systems/ Crew Escape instructor and/ or flight controller for 23 of the shuttle missions and eight of the space station expeditions flown between 1996 and 2006, and he conducted training for most of the other shuttle missions and space station expeditions flown during that period. He also conducted training for the Astronaut Candidate (ASCAN) classes of 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2004. David was the Crew Equipment team lead for the Spacecraft Crew Survival Integrated Investigation Team (SCSIIT) which investigated the crew survival aspects of the STS-107 Columbia accident. David was one of the primary authors of NASA's Columbia Crew Survival Investigation Report (NASA/SP-2008-565) - a 400 page report providing conclusions, recommendations, and lessons learned related to astronaut survival. The investigation and the resultant report is the most detailed astronaut survival analysis ever conducted.. In 2006, David left Barrios to accept a civil service job with NASA, working Constellation crew systems and crew survival operations. His tasks included evaluating the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) spacecraft and Space Suit designs and operations, developing astronaut operations, procedures and techniques, and developing concepts and facilities for astronaut and flight controller training. Additionally, David is on the NASA teams partnering with Boeing, SpaceX, Sierra Nevada, and Blue Origin to develop commercial crew spacecraft.

Steve Pointing, Molecular Microbial Ecology. I am based at The University of Hong Kong and have been involved in several NASA projects during the past few years. My expertise lies in molecular microbial ecology and in particular the distribution and role of cyanobacteria in extreme environments. I have worked in diverse habitats ranging from volcanic calderas, to hot arid deserts and the Antarctic. I am enjoying my participation in the Pavilion Lake project very much. My role, together with my graduate student Olivia Chan, is to elucidate microbial community composition and spatio-temporal variation in microbialite structures.



Mike Reay, Deepworker Technical Support. Major Science Goals at Pavilion Lake: To ensure safe and productive operation of the submersibles, and to refine the sub's instrumentation package to better suit future deployments.




Jeff Rozon, Deepworker Technical Support.






Lauren Rush, Operations and Planning Engineer. Lauren has spent 5 years at NASA in the Mission Operations Directorate, working in the Mission Planning and Operations Branch at the Johnson Space Center. She has supported 19 space shuttle flights in various flight controller roles, and she most recently was the lead Flight Activities Officer (FAO) for STS-133/ULF5. Lauren is excited to be applying skills from her work in human spaceflight to the PLRP project this year, where she will serve as the lead planner on the project. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys working out, cooking, shopping, and her dog, Lola.






Joe Russell, Microbiology. I attended the University of Arizona and began college as an astronomy major. A part time job in the labs of Dr. Chris Impey and Dr. Neville Woolf introduced me to astrobiology, origin of life research, and molecular/microbiology in general. After developing a fascination of the intricacy and diversity of microbial life, I switched majors to microbiology. For the remainder of my undergraduate career I worked in the Human Origins Genotyping Lab processing samples for National Geographic's Genographic Project in an effort to study the human journey out of Africa through DNA. I completed a Bachelor's in Microbiology in 2008. After working in the bio-tech industry in Boston for 2 years as well as a fortunate 2 month stint on an oceanographic research vessel in the Pacific, I relocated to Lewes, Delaware where I am currently pursuing a PhD in marine microbiology at the University of Delaware under Dr. Jennifer Biddle. My research focuses on the microbial ecology and metagenomics of unique and extreme environments such as the microbialites of Pavilion Lake and sub-seafloor sediments. With PLRP, my main focus is understanding how differing bacterial communities comprising the microbialites affect the morphology of these structures as well as the differences in microbiology of lithifying vs. non-lithifying microbial mats.


Marc A. Seibert, Co-Investigator. Marc is the area Lead for Communication and Navigation planning within the Strategic Analysis Office of the Human Spaceflight and Mission Operations Directorate (HEO) at NASA Headquarters. He is also an Element Lead for the NASA Human Spaceflight Architecture (HAT) team, and is serving as an invited member of the TA-05 (Comm/Nav) roadmapping team for the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist. He is also serving concurrently as a Senior Research Engineer and Manager of Technology Integration for tracking, timing, communications, networking and navigation technology in the Engineering Directorate at NASA Kennedy Space Center. Marc's primary objective at the PLRP missions is to identify, architect, infuse, and validate the most promising communication and navigation architectures, systems, and technologies for future human spaceflight. He has extensive experience leading and coordinating multi-organization communications and networking teams, and architecting and executing complex operational communications systems and networks. 



Gregory Slater, Organic and Isotope Geochemistry. I am currently an associate professor and Canada Research Chair in Environmental Isotope Biogeochemistry at McMaster University. My research focuses on the use of multiple compound-specific isotope analytical techniques to investigate and constrain the sources and cycling of organic compounds in environmental systems. I am particularly interested in the identification and interpretation of biosignatures of microbial organisms and the implications that this has for our ability to interpret the history of life on earth in the geologic record, and to search for signatures of life on other planets,such as Mars. Pavilion lake, and the nearby saline, alkaline evaporitic lakes of the Cariboo plateau provide a unique opportunity to investigate the biosignatures of modern microbial systems. My group is characterizing the geochemical and isotopic signatures of these systems, particularly the carbon sources, microbial cellular components and metabolic byproducts of the organisms that are living on the surface of the microbialites and as thick microbial mats in the Cariboo lakes. By understanding these systems and the geochemical and isotopic signatures associated with them, we can not only increase our knowledge of the capabilities and activities of life, but also build the foundation necessary to interpret geological and/or astrobiological samples.


Trey Smith, Robotics, Geospatial Data, Field Operations. Trey Smith studies techniques for sharing geospatial data with mobile devices, supporting field operations for applications ranging from disaster response to planetary analog robotics to field science in extreme environments. At PLRP he is part of the Exploration Ground Data Systems team that provides tools for flight planning, automated data processing and archiving, and rapid data analysis.






Sarah Soles, Isotope Geochemistry, Astrobiology. I am currently a Master's student at McMaster University. I am particularly interested in carbon isotope biosignatures and their preservation across field sites, including Pavillion and Kelly Lake.







Jennifer Stonehouse, Education Team Leader. This summer at Pavilion Lake, the Education Team will be creating exciting opportunities for teachers to get a first hand experience working with scientists, astronauts and other educators to learn more about the various science and research that is being conducted at Pavilion Lake. The Education Team has also been busy this year creating unique and engaging lesson plans and curriculum resources to allow teachers to bring the science of Pavilion Lake into their classrooms.






Dawn Sumner, Participating Scientist. Dawn Sumner became interested in geology as an undergraduate at California Institute of Technology. With extensive research experience with Prof. Joe Kirschvink, she earned a Bachelor’s of Science with Honors in 1989 and moved to Massachusetts Institute of Technology supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Student Fellowship. She spent her time at MIT working with Prof. John Grotzinger (and others) on 2.5 billion year old carbonates in South Africa, as well as several side projects. Dawn finished her Ph.D. in Geology in 1995, after which she returned to California Institute of Technology as an O.K. Earl Postdoctoral Fellow. In December 1996, Dawn joined the Faculty at University of California, Davis, as an Assistant Professor of Geology. She was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2002, was named a Chancellor’s Fellow in 2003, and was promoted to Full Professor in 2006. In recent years, her research has expanded beyond Archean carbonates to include microbial-mineral interactions of all ages, experimental biofilms, and Martian geology. Several specific projects relate to research at Pavilion Lake. Student Bekah Shepard and Dawn are studying how cyanobacteria organize into complex structures such as some of those found in Pavilion Lake. This research involves both experimental cyanobacterial biofilms ( and comparisons to natural mats, including those at Pavilion Lake. In addition, they are studying how microbial metabolic activity affects carbon isotopic signatures in carbonate, which can act as a geological record of microbial processes. Results from these modern studies provide a framework for interpreting ancient microbialites. Specifically, similarities between modern and 2.5 billion year old microbialites from South Africa suggest that the ancient structures record significant, but as yet unknown, microbial behaviors.


Art Trembanis, Visiting Scientist and AUV team participant. I am interested in pursuing the goal of repeated high-resolution lake bottom mapping from the platform of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. I am also working to help integrate the AUV and Deepworked data into advanced 4D visualization software and to advance approaches in cross platform coordination.




 Rick White, Microbial Genomics. I received my bachelor's & master degree in Molecular Biology (Genomics) at the California State University East Bay in Hayward, California in September of 2009.







 Nick Wilkinson, MAPPER developer, Dive Support. Nick Wilkinson is CEO of Rask Systems Inc, a consulting firm specializing in software development and logistics management for remote fieldwork deployments. Nick has over 8 years of experience in remote operations management, including 3 years managing a NASA / Canadian Space Agency joint-funded research outpost in the Canadian High Arctic. 2011 will be Nick's third year working with the PLRP/MARSLIFE team, and this year he's launching MAPPER -- an online game where the general public will be invited to play an active role in the science and exploration program taking place at Kelly Lake, BC. Stay tuned to the PLRP website for more details about MAPPER and how you can sign up. 


Susan Winnitoy, Dive Support. Susan joins PLRP 2011 from NASA's Johnson Space Center.

About Us
Contact Us
Podcast Rss Feed
Daily News Story RSS Feed
Latest News Story RSS Feed
Learn more about RSS
Chief Editor & Executive Producer: Helen Matsos
Copyright © 2014,