Research Staff & Technicians
Katie Morgan, Manager of Marine Systems & Manager of Education Initiatives, Biosphere 2
Katie Morgan is the Manager of Marine Systems & Manager of Education Initiatives at Biosphere 2. Katie graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a minor in Marine Science. Katie started her adventure at Biosphere 2 in 2012 as an undergraduate intern and today works full-time on various projects. Her work at Biosphere 2 includes overseeing the operation of the Biosphere 2 Ocean and Mangrove systems, including assisting in the development of the vision and project plan for the coral reef research initiative. Katie also oversees the Education and Outreach department helping to create various programs for public visitors as well as the 8,000 annual K-12 students that visit the facility.
Dr. Dan Killam
Dan Killam has loved learning about the oceans from a young age as a volunteer at aquariums in the LA area. He received a BS in Environmental Studies at USC focusing on marine conservation, researched trends in California rainfall as an intern at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and then completed his PhD in Paleobiology in 2018 at UC Santa Cruz specializing in sclerochronology, the science of growth lines in shells. He focuses on the bivalves, researching how they record their own health and environment in the diaries of their shells. After his first postdoc in Israel studying clams of the Mediterranean and Red Sea, he is returning to the US to conduct research on giant clams grown in the large reef tank at Biosphere 2, to better understand how they record the health of their algal symbiosis. In his spare time, he enjoys nature photography, hiking, science writing, growing succulents and hanging out with his pet hermit crab.
Emma Reed graduated from Cornell University in 2014 with majors in Science of Earth Systems and English, and a minor in Marine Biology. She received her M.S. inGeosciences from the University of Arizona in 2016. Alongside collaborators at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Emma used coral cores to reconstruct histories of climate and coral growth in the northern Great Barrier Reef. While in Arizona, she worked at Biosphere 2 to expand its marine science curriculum for middle- and high-school students. Emma joined the Tropical Climate & Coral Reefs Lab in summer 2016. With the help of an NSF Graduate Fellowship, she is working to develop the first paleoclimate and coral growth records from the Marshall Islands. Such records from this understudied region could improve our understanding of Pacific climate variability on seasonal to multi-decadal time scales.
Alice Chapman received her BA in Chemistry and Geosciences from Williams College in 2015 and spent a semester with Sea Education Association (S250). After graduating, she worked as a geochemist at a small environmental consulting company for two and a half years, then obtained her divemaster certification at the Cape Eleuthera Institute in The Bahamas. As a new member of the Tropical Climate and Coral Reefs Lab (joined summer 2018), she is diving into an investigation of Pacific Trade Wind behavior in the context of El Niño by exploring a novel proxy, the manganese/calcium ratio of corals from the central equatorial Pacific.
Brianna Hoegler is a sophomore undergraduate student majoring in Geosciences with a concentration in Earth, Oceans, and Climate. She is also pursuing a minor in soil and water science and another in history. Brianna joined the Tropical Climate and Coral Reefs lab in fall 2019, where she works to determine paleoclimate records from nitrogen isotopes in tropical lacustrine sediment cores.
Zoe Benson is a freshman undergraduate majoring in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and English with a minor in Marine Science. She joined the lab in Spring 2020. She is currently studying manganese/calcium anomalies in Abaiang Atoll coral to see if and how the cores capture westerly wind events.
Thompson Lab Alumni
Maria Snyder is a junior undergraduate in Geosciences with an emphasis in Earth Ocean and Climate and a minor in Marine Science. During her sophomore year she began work in the Cole Paleoclimate lab and developed a trace element record for corals in the Galapagos. She is now continuing her work with corals in the Marshall Islands and as a new member of the Tropical Climate and Coral Reefs Lab she is working on El Nino variability during the little ice age.
Rachel Jiang, undergraduate researcher