Alexander Van Plantinga, PhD
The broad objective of my research is to trace the water cycle with stable isotopes and dissolved ions and to apply this information to questions concerning aquatic ecology and natural resources affected by water cycle variability. My PhD research at Texas A&M involved field and laboratory techniques for developing a record of Brazos River water chemistry and temperature. To better understand Brazos River flow, I reconstructed the river isotope values based on observations of tributary, reservoir, and rain isotopes combined with evaporation and discharge data. Then I developed and calibrated a freshwater mussel shell record in order to use the mussel shells as tools for reconstructing environmental conditions. Shell clumped isotope and trace element data also help to utilize shell growth chronologies as high-resolution environmental archives.