Kevin Theissen portrait

Kevin Theissen

Associate Professor and Chair
Degree
Ph.D.: Stanford University, 2003
Office
OSS 116
Phone
(651) 962-5243
Toll Free
(800) 328-6819, Ext. 2-5243
Fax
651-962-5209
Mail
Mail OWS 153

Professional Interests:

I am a Sedimentary Geochemist and Paleolimnologist, and I apply geological and geochemical methods to study past climate and environmental change including the geologically recent human impact. Sediment cores collected from lakes are a fantastic archive of this kind of information, and student researchers and I are using cores in several projects. 

Our understanding of modern climate change relies on a firm understanding of the long and rich history of previous climate trends, cycles, and outliers.  My research has focused on Holocene (last 10,000 yrs) sediment core records from small lakes that provide local to regional climate signals. I am currently working on a collaborative project with UST Geology faculty, staff, and students in the Great Basin region of southern Nevada.  Previous research projects involved collection and reconstruction of lake records from the Central Andes and Patagonian Andes of South America. My students and I apply sedimentology and geochemical methods including elemental and stable isotopic analysis of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen in organic remains and carbonates from lakes.

Humans have transformed the landscape and our influence extends to lakes and streams.   I work with collaborators at the Science Museum of Minnesota’s St. Croix Watershed Research Laboratory to collect and reconstruct histories of nutrient inputs and land use change here in Twin Cities metro area lakes.  The information is applied by watershed managers to best maintain water resources.  A current project is focused on histories from several lakes in the Comfort Lake-Forest Lake Watershed District. 

Small shallow lakes and wetlands are now recognized for their significance in the global carbon cycle.  My collaborators and I are exploring past and present carbon dynamics using a variety of biogeochemical methods in the Prairie Pothole region of west-central MN.

Courses:

  • GEOL 162 and 462: The Earth's Record of Climate
  • GEOL 220: Oceanography
  • GEOL 260 and 460: Regional Geology and Field Methods in the Southwestern U.S.
  • GEOL 298 and 490: Field Methods and Sustainable Energy Use in Iceland
  • GEOL 310: Environmental Geochemistry 

 

Publications (last 5 years): 

Published Articles (student authors in bold)

Hickson, T.A., Theissen, K.M., Lamb, M.A., and Frahm, J.  Lower Pahranagat Lake: Modern analogue for extensive carbonate deposition in paleolakes of the Miocene Rainbow Gardens and Horse Spring Formations.  In press, Journal of Paleolimnology

Ramstack Hobbs, J., Hobbs, W., Edlund, M, Zimmer, K., Theissen, K.M, Hoidal, N., Domine, L., Hanson, M., Herwing, B., and Cotner, J. 2016. The legacy of large regime shifts in shallow lakes. Ecological Applications DOI: 10.1002/eap.1382.

Hobbs, W.O., Theissen, K.M., Hagen, S.M., Bruchu, C.W., Czeck, B.C., Hobbs, J.M.R., and Zimmer, K.D. 2014. Persistence of clear-water, shallow lake ecosystems: the role of protected areas and stable aquatic food webs.  Journal of Paleolimnology, DOI 10.1007/s10933-013-9763-1

Theissen, K.M, Hobbs, W.O., Hobbs, J.M.R., Zimmer, K.D., Domine, L.M., Cotner, J.B., and Sugita, S., 2012. The altered ecology of Lake Christina: A record of regime shifts, land-use change, and management from a temperate shallow lake. Science of the Total Environment, 433, 336-346.

Hobbs W.O., Hobbs J.M.R., Lafrancois T., Zimmer K.D., Theissen K.M., Edlund M.B., Michelutti N., Butler M.G., Hanson M.A., Carlson T.J., 2012. A 200-year perspective on alternative stable state theory and lake management from a biomanipulated shallow lake. Ecological Applications, 22, 1483–1496.

Theissen, K.M., 2011. What do U.S. students know about climate change? EOS Transactions, 92, 477-478.

Published Conference Abstracts

Zimmer, K.D., L.E. Nolby, M.A. Hanson, B.R. Herwig, W.O. Hobbs, J.M. Ramstack Hobbs, and Theissen, K.M.  2015. Is Island Biogeography A Good Model For Biodiversity In Shallow Lakes?  Seventh North American Duck Symposium, Annapolis, MD, 2/16.  [published online]

Theissen, K.M. and Hickson, T.A. 2015. They Don’t Sell Ice in Iceland!  Lessons learned on a field geology course in the land of fire and ice. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD, 11/2/15, GSA Abstracts with Programs, v.47, n.7, p.250

Hickson, T.A.,Theissen, K.M., and Lamb, M.A. 2015. Paleolakes of the Miocene Horse Spring Formation: Extensive microbially mitigated carbonate deposition in a complex rift setting. Sixth Int’l Limnogeology Congress-Abstract Volume, Reno, NV, June 15-19, 2015. USGS Open File Report 2015-1092, pp. 88-89.

Hickson, T.A., Theissen, K.M., andFrahm, J. 2015. Towards a paleohydrological record of the Holocene, Lower Pahranagat Lake, central Nevada. . Sixth Int’l Limnogeology Congress-Abstract Volume, Reno, NV, June 15-19, 2015. USGS Open File Report 2015-1092, p. 90.

Frahm, J.Y. and Theissen, K.M. 2014. A late Holocene paleohydrological record from Lower Pahranagat Lake, central Nevada. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs,v. 46, n. 6, p. 745.

Hickson, T.A., Gastaldo, R.A., Gran, K., MacDonald, H., McDaris, J.R., and Theissen, K.M. 2014. Getting together: reporting on an interdisciplinary workshop for sedimentary geologists, paleontologists, and geomorphologists. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs,v. 46, n. 6, p. 437.

Stevens, E., McNamara, S., Terres, A., Hickson, T.A., and Theissen, K.M. 2014. Modern and ancient microbialite deposits from a shallow alkaline lake: Lower Pahranagat Lake, central Nevada. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs,v. 46, n. 6, p. 726.

Theissen, K.M., Hickson, T.A., and Stevens, E.W., 2014. The Pahranagat Lakes Project: Successfully incorporating original research into an undergraduate field geology course. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 46, n. 5, p.76. 

Theissen, K.M., Frahm, J.Y., and Edwards, C.L. 2013.  A 2400-year δ18O and δ13C stable isotopic record from Lower Pahranagat Lake suggests hydrological reorganization during the Medieval Climate Anomaly. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs,v. 47, n. 7, p. 552.

Hickson, T., Theissen, K. M., Lamb, M., Frahm, J. Y., Pomerleau, C., Edwards, C L., and Chatmas, E. 2013. Lower Pahranagat Lake: Modern analogue for lacustrine carbonate microbial facies of the Horse Spring Formation? Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 47, n. 7, p. 674.

Hermann, N.W., Theissen, K.M., and Hobbs, W.O. 2013. Caught in the middle:  Evaluating the historical condition and potential impairment of Upper Prior Lake, Scott County, MN.  Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 47, n. 7, p. 781.

Anderson, H., MacGregor, K., Myrbo, A., Riihimaki, C., and Theissen, K. 2013. A historical record of climate change and human impact in Glacier National Park, Montana, USA: Using lacustrine sediment to understand geomorphic, climatic, and anthropogenic influences on a glaciated alpine valley. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 47, n. 7, p. 347.

Hobbs, J.M.R., Hobbs, W.O., Theissen, K., Edlund, M.B., Zimmer, K.D., Domine, L.M., and Cotner, J.B. 2013. A 150-year perspective on stable state theory in shallow lakes form the Prairie Pothole region. Ecological Society of America meeting, Minneapolis, MN August 6.

Hobbs, W.O., Zimmer, K.D., Hanson, M.A., Domine, L.M., Hobbs, J.M.R., Theissen, K., and Cotner, J.B. 2013. Trajectories of long-term ecological change in shallow lakes: allocthonous drivers and autochthonous stability. Ecological Society of America meeting, Minneapolis, MN August 6.

 Cotner, J.B., Zimmer, K.D., Hobbs, W.O., Theissen, K., and Domine, L.M. 2013. Terrestrial-aquatic linkages in Prairie Pothole lakes in alternative stable states. Ecological Society of America meeting, Minneapolis, MN August 6.

Hobbs, J.M.R, Hobbs, W., LaFrancois, T., Edlund, E., Theissen, K.M., Zimmer, K., and Hanson, M., 2012. A long-term perspective on anthropogenic activities and management strategies in a prairie wetland. Presented at 2012 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 3-7 Dec.

Theissen, K.M., Hobbs, W., Hobbs, J.M.R., Zimmer, K.D., Domine, L., and Cotner, J. 2012. A 200-year record of regime shifts, land-use change, and management from a prairie wetland. GSA Abstracts with Programs v. 44, n.7, p.358.

Chatmas, E., Kennedy-Harper, A., Theissen, K.M., Hermann, N.W., and Hickson, T. 2012.  Lower Pahranagat Lake as a modern analog for ancient lacustrine microbialite facies of the Miocene Horse Spring Formation in southern Nevada. GSA Abstracts with Programs v. 44, n.7, p.438.

Hermann, N.W., Theissen, K.M., and Chatmas, E.S., 2012. The good, the bad, and the hypereutrophic: a historical sedimentary and geochemical analysis of two connected suburban lakes in Scott County, MN. GSA Abstracts with Programs v. 44, n.7, p.564.Theissen K.M, 2011. What do our students know about climate change? GSA Abstracts with Programs, v. 43, n. 5., p.67

Theissen, K.M., Hobbs, W., Hobbs, J.M.R., and Cotner, J.B. 2011.  A post-settlement transition towards phytoplankton dominance in shallow west-central Minnesota lakes. GSA Abstracts with Programs v. 43, n. 5, p.225

Czeck, B.C., Hagen, S.M., Bruchu, C.W., Theissen, K.M, Hobbs, W., and Hobbs, J.M.R. 2011. A multi-century biogeochemical record from a small shallow lake: evidence for a successful conservation effort.  GSA Abstracts with Programs v. 43, n. 5, p.461

Hobbs, W., Hobbs, J.M.R., Theissen, K.M., Cotner, J.B., Domine, L.M., Edlund, M.B., and Zimmer, K. 2011. Carbon burial and ecological regime change in a manipulated shallow lake. GSA Abstracts with Programs v. 43, n. 5, p.225

Cotner, J.B., Domine, L.M., Zimmer, K.D., Hobbs, W., Hobbs, J.R., Theissen, K.M. 2011. Shallow lakes and the global carbon cycle, Abstracts with Programs v. 43,n. 5, p. 225.

 

 

 

 

Fall 2016 Courses

Fall 2016 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
GEOL 310 - 01 Environmental Geochemistry - T - R - - - 0955 - 1135 OSS 120
CRN: 42858 4 Credit Hours Instructor: Kevin M. Theissen Environmental geochemistry is a growing and dynamic field in geology which explores past and present environments for their chemical characteristics and environmental quality. In this course we will explore the applications of chemistry to solve geological and environmental problems, with an emphasis on freshwater environments. Students will get hands-on field and laboratory experience investigating Minnesota rock formations and lake sediments using several different geochemical methods. Prerequisites: one of GEOL 110, 111, 113, 114, 115, 161; and CHEM 111 or permission of instructor

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
GEOL 310 - 51 Environmental Geochemistry - T - - - - - 1330 - 1630 OSS 120
CRN: 42859 0 Credit Hours Instructor: Kevin M. Theissen Environmental geochemistry is a growing and dynamic field in geology which explores past and present environments for their chemical characteristics and environmental quality. In this course we will explore the applications of chemistry to solve geological and environmental problems, with an emphasis on freshwater environments. Students will get hands-on field and laboratory experience investigating Minnesota rock formations and lake sediments using several different geochemical methods. Prerequisites: one of GEOL 110, 111, 113, 114, 115, 161; and CHEM 111 or permission of instructor

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)

J-Term 2017 Courses

J-Term 2017 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
GEOL 260 - A01 Geology: Nevada & California - - - - - - - -
CRN: 10037 4 Credit Hours Instructor: Eric W. Stevens, Jeni A. McDermott, Joseph M. Myre, Kevin M. Theissen STUDY ABROAD: United States

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)

Spring 2017 Courses

Spring 2017 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ESCI 430 - 01 Senior Research Seminar M - - - F - - 1330 - 1530 OSS 123
CRN: 21239 4 Credit Hours Instructor: Kevin M. Theissen This course is designed to fulfill the senior capstone experience in Environmental Science as it brings together students from all of the environmental science concentrations (biology, chemistry, and geology) to complete interdisciplinary research projects. In the semester prior to the course offering, Environmental Science majors, in consultation with their faculty advisors and the course instructor, will develop a research project that they will complete as part of this course. Students may also choose to more fully develop a research project in which they have been participating or propose a service-learning or community-based project. Furthermore, groups of students could propose to perform an interdisciplinary project. The format of this research is intentionally open-ended because it is meant to provide flexibility and choice to the students and the course instructor. Student-led seminars on topics of the students' choosing will comprise most weekly meetings, along with updates on research progress and a final presentation to the St. Thomas community on the outcome of the student's research projects. This course should be completed in the final Spring semester prior to graduation. Prerequisite: ESCI 310 or permission of instructor, and at least one ENVR course.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)