UT Research

The UT researchers below work on varied aspects of caves ranging from geology and biology of caves.

Jay Banner
F. M. Bullard Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and Dave P. Carlton Centennial Fellow in Geology
Director, Environmental Science Institute (ESI)
Field of Study: Carbonate and Groundwater Geochemistry, Earth System History
Short Biography: Dr. Banner’s research interests include the application of field, petrologic, chemical and isotopic methods to studying the chemical evolution of groundwater and ancient oceans, and the control of changing climate on these processes. Modern aquifers and ancient limestones and cave deposits provide excellent records of these processes.

Christopher Bell
Associate Dean Jackson School of Geosciences and John A. Wilson Fellow in Vertebrate Paleontology
Field of Study: Vertebrate Paleontology
Short Biography: Dr. Bell’s research centers on understanding the complex dynamics of vertebrate faunal communities during the Quaternary Period. Chris is interested in investigating patterns of vertebrate evolution, biodiversity and biogeography throughout the Quaternary, and the responses of different vertebrate groups to the various changes in climate that took place during the last two million years. Two major current research areas are: 1) the study of early and middle Pleistocene (Irvingtonian) North American arvicoline rodent biochronology, and 2) the study of anatomy and systematics of extant and fossil turtles and squamate reptiles (lizards, snakes, and amphisbaenians).

Daniel Breecker
Associate Professor Department of Geological Sciences
Short Biography:
Breecker is interested in pursuing a process-based understanding of the critical zone with a focus on the formation of calcium carbonates in soils and caves and the stabilization of organic carbon in soils. Goals include improving and developing paleoclimate proxies and better understanding changes in climate and the carbon cycle across a range of timescales.

Dean Hendrickson
Curator of Ichthyology, Department of Integrative Biology
Short Biography: Phylogeny, evolution, ecology and conservation of freshwater fishes and aquatic habitats, focusing on western North America (U.S.A. and Mexico). Studies of karst biota provide indicators of aquifer interconnections, with an eye toward applications of such data in environmental impact assessments throughout the large karst regions of Texas and northeastern Mexico.

Melissa Kemp
Assistant Professor Department of Integrative Biology and Department of Geological Sciences
Field of Study: Conservation paleobiology, evolutionary ecology, island biogeography

Ernest Lundelius, Jr.
Professor Emeritus and John A. Wilson Professorship in Vertebrate Paleontology
Short Biography: Dr. Ernest Lundelius is well known for his paleontological work in central Texas and Australia. He made major contributions as the Director of the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory as he began an initiative to catalog the fossil collections in a computer database. Dr. Lundelius remains an active researcher and continues to work with students and to do field work.

MaryLynn Musgrove
United States Geological Survey Research Physical Scientist and ESI Research Fellow
Short Biography: She received a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003. From 2001 thru 2003 she was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University in both the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the Kennedy School of Government. Her research interests include geochemical and isotopic applications to hydrogeology and paleoclimatology, groundwater and aquifer response to climate change, water resource issues, terrestrial paleoclimate, and the interface between environmental science and science policy.

George Pollak
Professor of Neurobiology
Short Biography: George Pollak received his Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Maryland Medical School in1970. After completing his postdoctoral work in the Department of Biology at Yale University, he joined the faculty at the University of Texas in 1973. Dr. Pollak has had extensive collaborations with scientists both in the U.S. and in Europe. He was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Frankfurt, the University of Munich, the Neuroscience Institute of Salamanca University in Spain, and at the Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center at the University of Washington Medical School. His research has earned numerous awards, including a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health, a prestigious Alexander Von Humboldt Award, and a Claude Pepper Award from National Institute of Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders in recognition of his contributions to auditory neuroscience. Dr. Pollak also received a President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Texas at Austin. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Texas and is Professor of Neurobiology there.