Kevin Theissen portrait

Kevin Theissen

Professor
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
CV

Professional Interests:

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 where we are exploring past drought episodes. 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. 

The Polar and near-Polar regions are warming at more than twice the global average.  I am interested in climatic change on decadal to millenial scales from these areas and my past research has included work in Antarctica and the Patagonian Andes of South America. Recently, I conceived and co-developed a field course in Iceland that is offered periodically to UST students interested in geology, environmental science, and sustainability.  

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 

 

Recent Publications: 

Published Articles (student authors underlined)

Hickson, T.A., Theissen, K.M., Lamb, M.A., and Frahm, J.  2018. 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 [PDF]

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. [PDF]

Technical Report

Ramstack Hobbs, J.M., M.B. Edlund, K.M. Theissen, S.P. Duncanson, and G.R. Houle. 2017. A paleolimnological study in the Comfort Lake Forest Lake Watershed District. Final report submitted to Comfort Lake Forest Lake Watershed District. St.Croix Watershed Research Station, Science Museum of Minnesota, Marine on St. Croix,Minnesota, 55047. published online 

Published Conference Abstracts

 

Theissen, K.M., Hickson, T.A., Brundrett, A.L., and Horns, S.E. 2017.  a 5600-year record of paleohydroclimate from Lower Pahranagat Lake, southern Great Basin Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 49, No. 6 doi: 10.1130/abs/2017AM-305857.

Theissen, K.M. and Hickson, T.A. 2017. Science for the common good: an undergraduate geoscience program partners with Watershed Districts in the Twin Cities Metro Area Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 49, No. 6 doi: 10.1130/abs/2017AM-305620.  

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

Houle G., 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., and Frahm, 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

 

 

 

 

Fall 2018 Courses

Fall 2018 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
GEOL 310 - 01 Environmental Geochemistry - T - R - - - 0955 - 1135 OSS 120

Days of Week:

- T - R - - -

Time of Day:

0955 - 1135

Location:

OSS 120

Course Registration Number:

42772 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

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. Students registering for GEOL 310-01 must also register for GEOL 310-51. 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 Lab - T - - - - - 1330 - 1630 OSS 120

Days of Week:

- T - - - - -

Time of Day:

1330 - 1630

Location:

OSS 120

Course Registration Number:

42773 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

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)
GEOL 491 - I1 Individual Study - - - - - - - -

Days of Week:

- - - - - - -

Time of Day:

-

Location:

Course Registration Number:

43578 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

4 Credit Hours

Instructor:

Kevin M. Theissen

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)

J-Term 2019 Courses

J-Term 2019 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
GEOL 260 - A01 Geology in Southwestern US - - - - - - - -

Days of Week:

- - - - - - -

Time of Day:

-

Location:

Course Registration Number:

10031 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

4 Credit Hours

Instructor:

Kevin M. Theissen, Melissa A. Lamb, Thomas A. Hickson

STUDY ABROAD: United States

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)

Spring 2019 Courses

Spring 2019 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
GEOL 162 - 01 The Earth's Record of Climate M - W - F - - 1055 - 1200 OWS 250

Days of Week:

M - W - F - -

Time of Day:

1055 - 1200

Location:

OWS 250

Course Registration Number:

22249 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

4 Credit Hours

Instructor:

Kevin M. Theissen

Climate change is among the most pressing challenges in our world today. In this course we will explore the Earth's climate system and the climatic changes that have occurred during the history of our planet. We will use a number of geological "fingerprints" to examine past climate and modern data to examine climate change in recent decades. You will gain hands-on experience collecting, analyzing, and interpreting climate data in several laboratory projects and in course exercises designed with an emphasis on scientific inquiry and problem solving. Lecture and ONE 2-hour lab section, students registering for GEOL 162 must also register for GEOL 162-51 OR -52. NOTE: Students who receive credit for GEOL 162 may not receive credit for GEOL 462

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
GEOL 162 - 51 Earth's Record of Climate LAB - T - - - - - 1000 - 1200 OSS 123

Days of Week:

- T - - - - -

Time of Day:

1000 - 1200

Location:

OSS 123

Course Registration Number:

22250 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

0 Credit Hours

Instructor:

Kevin M. Theissen

Climate change is among the most pressing challenges in our world today. In this course we will explore the Earth's climate system and the climatic changes that have occurred during the history of our planet. We will use a number of geological "fingerprints" to examine past climate and modern data to examine climate change in recent decades. You will gain hands-on experience collecting, analyzing, and interpreting climate data in several laboratory projects and in course exercises designed with an emphasis on scientific inquiry and problem solving. Students registering for GEOL 162-51 LAB must also register for GEOL 162-01. NOTE: Students who receive credit for GEOL 162 may not receive credit for GEOL 462

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
GEOL 162 - 52 Earth's Record of Climate LAB - T - - - - - 1330 - 1530 OSS 123

Days of Week:

- T - - - - -

Time of Day:

1330 - 1530

Location:

OSS 123

Course Registration Number:

22251 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

0 Credit Hours

Instructor:

Kevin M. Theissen

Climate change is among the most pressing challenges in our world today. In this course we will explore the Earth's climate system and the climatic changes that have occurred during the history of our planet. We will use a number of geological "fingerprints" to examine past climate and modern data to examine climate change in recent decades. You will gain hands-on experience collecting, analyzing, and interpreting climate data in several laboratory projects and in course exercises designed with an emphasis on scientific inquiry and problem solving. Students registering for GEOL 162-52 LAB must also register for GEOL 162-01. NOTE: Students who receive credit for GEOL 162 may not receive credit for GEOL 462

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)