I am a Sedimentary Geochemist and Paleolimnologist, and I apply geological and geochemical methods to study past climate and environmental change including recent human impacts. 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 grasp 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.
- 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. Journal of Paleolimnology DOI: 10.1007/s10933-016-9923-1
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.
Published Conference Abstracts
Horns, S.E., Theissen, K.M., Brundrett, A.L., and Hickson, T.A. 2017. New extended record of Holocene paleoecology and paleohydrology from Lower Pahranagat Lake, Great Basin.GSA Abstracts with Programs v. 49, No. 2 doi: 10.1130/abs/2017NE-291588
Brundrett, A.L., Theissen, K.M., Horns, S.E., and Hickson, T.A. 2017. Microbialite signatures in a Great Basin lake core record of the past ~5500 yr. GSA Abstracts with Programs v. 49, No. 2 doi: 10.1130/abs/2017NE-291255
Duncanson, S.P., Theissen K.M., Houle, G.R., and Edlund, M.B. 2017. Drastic sedimentation changes in a Twin Cities metro area watershed on the urban-rural boundary. GSA Abstracts with Programs v. 49, No. 2 doi: 10.1130/abs/2017NE-291345
HouleG., Duncanson, S.P., Theissen K.M., and Edlund, M.B. 2016. Comfort Lake-Forest Lake Watershed investigations using geochemical analyses. St. Croix River Research Rendezvous, Marine-on-St. Croix, MN, 10/10/16.
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
Summer 2017 Courses
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Fall 2017 Courses
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J-Term 2018 Courses
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