National Science Foundation
photo of caverns

Research Team

The Kartchner research team is comprised of scientists and educators all of whom share a passion for this unique site:

 

  Principal Investigator and Co-PI's:   Kartchner Research Group:
    Dr. Raina M. Maier, Principal Investigator     Current Members   Former Members
    Dr.Leland Pierson III, Co-PI     Julie Neilson   Karis Nelson
    Dr.Barry Pryor, Co-PI     Antje Legatzki   Andrea Byrne
    Dr. Robert A. Wing,Co-PI     Marianyoly Ortiz   Matt Creamer
          Michael Vaughan    
       
  Project Collaborators:   Arizona State Park Collaborators:
    Dr. Cari Soderlund     Robert Casavant
    Dr. S. Patricia Stock      Ginger Nolan
    Dr. Rick Toomey     Steve Willsey
               

 

Principal Investigator and Co-PI's

Dr. Raina M. Maier,Principal Investigator
Raina Maier is an environmental microbiologist who specializes in low-nutrient and disturbed environmnts and secundary bacterial metabolites. Maier has served as consulting microbiologist for Kartchner Caverns since 2001 and developed close working relationship with the Arizona State Park Individuals who will facilitate sample collection and development of the outreach and educational components of this project.

Dr. Raina Maier

Home Page: http://ag.arizona.edu/SWES/people/cv/maier.htm

Background:
Ph.D., Microbiology, 1988, Rutgers University. B.A., Biology/Chemistry, 1979, University of Minnesota.

Mailing Address:
The University of Arizona
Dept. of Soil, Water and Environmental Science
1177 East Fourth St.
P.O. Box 210038
Shantz 429
Tucson, AZ 85721-0038
Fax: (520) 621-1647

Phone: (520) 621-7231     Office: FCS 322

E-mail:
rmaier@ag.arizona.edu

Dr.Leland Pierson III, Co-PI
Leland Pierson is a microbiologist with expertise in microbial gene regulation, secondary metabolite production, and biofilm biology.

Dr. Leland Pierson

Home Page:  http://plantpathology.tamu.edu/facultystaff/index_pierson.htm l

Background:
B.A., Microbiology, 1979, University of California, Davis. Ph.D., Microbiology, 1986, Washington State University. Post Doctoral, Plant Pathology, 1986-1990, USDA-ARS.

Mailing Address:
Texas A&M University
Dept. of Plant Pathology & Microbiology
120 Peterson 2132
TAMU College Station, TX 77843-2132

Phone: (979) 845-8288

E -mail: lspierson@tamu.edu


Dr.Barry Pryor, Co-PI
Barry Prior is a fungal systematicist specializing in filamentous fungi, with expertise in fungal taxonomy, phylogenetic analysis, and secondary fungal metabolites.

Dr. Barry Prior

Home Page: http://ag.arizona.edu/PLS/faculty/pryor_plp.htm

Background:
B.S., Biology, 1981, University of California, Santa Cruz. M.S, Plant Protection and Pest Management, 1993, University of California, Davis. Ph.D., Plant Pathology, 1999, University of California, Davis.


Phone: (520) 626-5312

E -mail: bmpryor@email.arizona.edu

Dr. Robert A. Wing,Co-PI
Rod Wing is Director of the Arizona Genomic Institute (www.genome.arizona.edu), will be key to the proposed metagenomic analyses. He has extensive expertise in large- and small-scale library construction and sequencing for a variety of organisms.

Dr. Robert Wing

Home Page: http://ag.arizona.edu/pls/faculty/wing.htm

Background:
B.S., Biochemistry, 1980, University of California, Berkley. Ph.D., Genetics, 1987, University of California, Davis. Post Doctoral, Plant Gene Expression Center, University of California, Berkley USDA/ARS, 1987-1990.

Phone: (520) 626-9595

E-mail: rwing@email.arizona.edu

 

Project Collaborators

Dr. Cari Soderlund
Dr. Soderlund, head of Arizona Genome Computational Laboratory www.agcol.arizona.edu/ is an expert in computer analysis of genomic data. Her expertise will be critical in organizing and mining the data obtained in the metagenome library.

Dr. Cari Soderlund

Home Page: http://ag.arizona.edu/PLS/faculty/soderlund.htm

Background:
B.S., Psychology, Western Michigan State University. M.S., Systems Science, Louisiana State University. Ph.D., Computer Science, New Mexico State University. 

Phone: (520) 626-9600

E-mail: cari@agcol.arizona.edu

 

Dr. William M. Nelson  

Dr. Nelson is a computational researcher at the Arizona Genome Computational Laboratory www.agcol.arizona.edu/ with a broad expertise in computer analysis of genomic data.

Picture coming soon.

Home page: http://www.agcol.arizona.edu/~will/


Background: B.S., Math, Yale University. PhD, Physics, U.C. Santa Barbara.

Phone: (520) 850–3549

Email: will@agcol.arizona.edu

Dr. S. Patricia Stock 
Dr. Stock is an expert in nematodes.  She examines diversity, evolution, nematode-bacteria symbioses, multi-trophic interactions and the use of nematodes in biological control. 

Dr. S. Patricia Stock

Home Page: http://ag.arizona.edu/ento/faculty/stock/index.htm

Background:
Ph.D. Natural Sciences (Parasitology), National University of La Plata, Argentina. BS, Zoology, University of La Plata, Argentina.

Phone: (520) 626-3854

E-mail: spstock@email.arizona.edu

 

Dr. Rick Toomey
Rick Toomey is director of the Mammoth Cave International Science and Research at Mammoth cave National Park and Western Kentucky University. Although he was originally a cave palenontologist, most of his current research involves understanding and mitigating human impacts in show caves. From 2001 to 2005 he was the Cave Resources Manager for Arizona State Park.

Richard Toomey

Address:
Rickard S. Toomey, III, Ph.D., Director Mammoth Cave International Center for Science and Learning Mammoth Cave National Park
PO Box 7
Mammoth Cave, KY 42259

Phone: 270-758-2145

E-mail:rick_toomey@contractor.nps.gov

 

 

Kartchner Research Group (Current and Former Members)

 

Julie Neilson
Lab. Manager, Research Specialist Principal

Julie Neilson

Research Projects: 1) Effect of Cd on production of rhamnolipid and the expression of rhamnolipid genes in Pseudomonas aeuroginosa, 2) Microbial Diversity in the Atacama Desert, Chile, and 3) Microbial diversity in Kartchner Caverns.

Background: B.A. (1980), Biology, Middlebury College, Middleburg VT. M.S. (1988), Soil and Water Science, University of Arizona.

E-mail: jneilson@email.arizona.edu

Antje Legatzki
Post-doc

Antje Legatzki

Research Project: Kartchner Caverns; habitat scale community structure and function in a carbonate cave.

Personal Background: Born in Germany. B.S. (1995) and M.S. (1999), Biology, Martin-Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany.  Ph.D. (2003), Molecular Microbiology, Martin-Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. Currently post doctoral appointment, University of Arizona.  

E-mail: legatzki@email.arizona.edu

Karis Nelson
Graduate Student

Research Project: Kartchner Caverns; Establishing a bacteria culture collection from speleothem surfaces on regular media and identifying them with the help of 16S rRNA gene sequencing. 

Personal Background: Graduated summa cum laude May 2009 with a double major in Environmental Science and Microbiology and a minor in Chemistry.  Will begin graduate work in fall 2009 in the Maier lab.

E-mail: karisn@email.arizona.edu

Marianyoly Ortiz
Graduate Student

Marianyoly Ortiz

Research Project: Kartchner Caverns; habitat scale community structure and function in a carbonate cave.

Personal Background: Born in Puerto Rico. B.S. (2007), Industrial Microbiology, University of Puerto Rico. Currently pursuing Ph.D., Soil, Water and Environmental Science, University of Arizona.   


Email:
moo@email.arizona.edu

Michael Vaughan
Graduate Student


Michael Joe Vaughan

Research Project: Kartchner Caverns; habitat scale community structure and function in a carbonate cave.

Personal Background: Born in Tennessee. B.S. (2001) Biology and Art History, Rhodes College, Memphis, TN.  Currently pursuing Ph.D., Plant Pathology, University of Arizona.
   
E-mail: mvaughan@email.arizona.edu

Andrea Byrne Undergraduate Student 

Adrea Byrne

Research Project:  Kartchner Caverns; Construction of a 16S rRNA clone library from a Kartchner speleothem.

Personal Background: Currently a junior pursuing a double major in Environmental Science and Chemical Engineering at the University of Arizona.  Andrea said about her first trip to Kartchner, “"It was quite an eye-opening experience. I have been to Kartchner Caverns before, but only as a tourist, not a scientist. I loved being able to go just slightly off the path and see things most people would never get to see about the cave. It is one thing to be given the prepared samples of the microbes already, and an entirely different thing to go out to the cave, and collect your own samples. There is so much more to experience. I was there to assist Marian with her samples, but the feeling of performing an experiment from start to finish, coupled with large quantities of cave mud all over my jeans?  Priceless!"

Matt Creamer
High School Student

Matt Creamer

Research Project: Kartchner Caverns; The effect of media and substrate on culturability of oligotrophic cave bacteria.

Personal Background: Tucson Magnet High School (2008). First place winner of the annual (2008) SARSEF (Southern Arizona Research Science and Engineering Fair) and one of ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair) finalists (Atlanta, Georgia, 2008). Matt is currently pursuing a BS degree at Northern Arizona University

E-mail: mcreamr@hotmail.com

Arizona State Parks Collaborators

A number of key Arizona State Parks scientists will also collaborate with this project. Robert Casavant and Ginger Nolan will assist the Research team making sure that the team works within the State Parks’ guidelines for the team’s safety and the cave’s health.

Robert Casavant

Research and Science Manager,

Background:
Ph.D., Geosciences (major)/Remote Sensing and Planetary Sci (minor), University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. B.S., Zoology (major)/Oceanography (minor), Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL.

E-mail: rcasavant@azstateparks.gov

Ginger Nolan  

Park Ranger and Cave Unit Supervisor

E-mail: gnolan@azstateparks.gov

 

Steve Willsey
Retired Kartchner Caverns Park Ranger

Background:
Speleontologist; Retired Fire Fighter; Retired Kartchner Caverns Park Ranger; Cave Guide for Research Projects at Kartchner Caverns; A.A. Fire Science Cochise College 1980

 

E-mail: stee25bee@msn.com

updated 7/2009
University of Arizona Header The University of Arizona