Melissa Chipman

Ph.D. Student

My background education includes and B.S. in Environmental Geosciences and a B.A. in Geography with an emphasis in GIS and cartography, both of which I received from Concord University in Athens, WV. I recently received my Masters degree in Geology here at UIUC.

My master's research involved examining climate change over the last 2000 years in SW Alaska via lake-sediment proxy indicators. This research has recently been published as part of a special issue examining the Late Holocene climate of the Arctic (abstracts and data available at:

Currently, I am examining the long-term (~6000 year) fire-regimes of Alaskan tundra in the high-arctic in order to examine the link between fire, climate, and vegetation in these ecosystems. I am also working on a Holocene-scale climate reconstruction from SW Alaska.

Specifically, I utilize ecological proxy indicators in lake sediment, such as diatom assemblages, biogenic silica, carbon and nitrogen percentages, macroscopic charcoal, pollen, and chironomids in order to gauge the response of lake systems to climate fluctuations and/or ecological disturbance.

updated 11/10/11