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H. Carrie Bottenberg

H. Carrie Bottenberg, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor & Director of Geotechnologies

Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 225

  • Principles of GIS
  • Advanced GIS
  • Remote Sensing
  • GPS Applications in Research
  • Physical Geology
Research Interests

My research interests involve the disciplines of geology, remote sensing and GIS. I use InSAR techniques to study the movement of the Earth's crust and to detect volcanic inflation and deflation. I model tectonic plate motion in 3D visualization software to understand rifting environments. Specifically, I have worked in the Afar, Ethiopia (see the photo above) to study the kinematics of the African, Arabian and Somali plates. I also have a research interest in environmental geochemistry and the effects of heavy metals in streams. Currently, I have an interest in exploring past volcanic activity on the Snake River Plain in Idaho using remote sensing and field based studies.

Benjamin Crosby

Benjamin Crosby, Ph.D.


Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 229

(208) 282-2949


  • Surface Processes
  • Fluvial and Hillslope Geomorphology
  • Arctic Landscape Evolution
  • Digital Topographic Analysis
Research Interests

I am fascinated by the physical and biological processes through which the Earth's surface responds to climatic, tectonic and anthropogenic disturbance. I enjoy exploring the response time and morphology of landscape adjustment (rivers, hillslopes, coastlines and the species that inhabit them) and the implications of this adjustment over both human and geologic timescales.

Donna Delparte

Donna M. Delparte, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 201

(208) 282-4419


Research Interests

I have an extensive background in the applications of GIS and remote sensing to the fields of geosciences, resource management and conservation/environmental planning. My current research focus relates to visualization, 3D modeling and analysis. I'm using 3D platforms to visualize research work with photogrammetry, Structure from Motion (SfM), LiDAR and point-cloud generation from gaming devices. Specific research applications relate to avalanche flow modeling and hazard mapping, terrain models, land cover change, precision agriculture and image analysis. My professional experience also extends to government and industry sectors.

Bruce Finney

Bruce Finney, Ph.D.

Professor, Director Stable Isotope Laboratory

Office: Gale Life Sciences Bldg, Rm 236

(208) 282-4318


Biological Sciences & Geosciences (Joint Appointment)

  • Climate Change
  • Analyzing Lake & Ocean Sediments

Research Interests

Bruce Finney is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, with a joint appointment in the Department of Geosciences. Much of his research focuses on using lake and ocean sediment-based data to study past and future climate changes and its effects on wildlife, humans and fish. He is particularly well known for his research on the effects of climate change on Pacific salmon populations. More than 100 of Finney's publications have been featured in peer-reviewed journals, 40 of which have been published since his arrival at ISU in 2007. His publications have been cited more than 5,000 times in the peer-reviewed literature.

Sarah Godsey

Sarah Godsey, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 231

(208) 282-3170


Research Interests

Our group at Idaho State University focuses on hydrology in mountain and polar regions. We're interested in how climate and land use changes may affect water resources in these areas.

I am currently studying hillslope contributions to fluvial carbon fluxes and patterns of water quality in drinking water and risk perceptions associated with water pollution in mountainous watersheds throughout Idaho. We're also currently wrapping up a collaborative project to understand coupled hydrology and biogeochemistry of water tracks in Arctic Alaska with a great team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Paul K. Link

Paul K. Link, Ph.D


Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 230

cell (208) 317-3946


  • Sedimentary Geology
  • Regional Geology of Intermountain West
  • Detrital Zircon Study of Proterozoic Sandstones
  • Field Geology
Research Interests

Geology of Idaho, Belt Supergroup, Windermere Supergroup; Neogene stratigraphy on the Snake River Plain; Stratigraphy and basin analysis.  Former field camp director for "Lost River Field Station" in Mackay, Idaho.

Shannon Kobs-Nawotniak

Shannon Kobs-Nawotniak, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 223


  • Physical volcanology
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • High performance computing
Research Interests

I investigate the connection between process and produce in volcanic eruptions, ranging in scale from the origins and underpinnings of monogenetic volcanic fields through eddy-scale mixing in eruption columns. I'm currently Geology Co-Lead on the NASA FINESSE project and Deputy PI on the NASA BASALT project, both of which use terrestrial lavas to investigate planetary volcanoes.

Kathleen Lohse

Kathleen Lohse, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Rm 202C

(208) 282-3285


Biological Sciences & Geosciences (Joint Appointment)

Research Interests

Dr. Lohse has been an Associate Professor at Idaho State University since 2013. She obtained her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 2002 working with Pamela Matson at Stanford University and Ronald Amundson at UC Berkeley. Her training was in soil science with an emphasis in ecosystem ecology/soil biogeochemistry. Prior to her employment at ISU in 2010, Dr. Lohse worked at University of Arizona for three and half years as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Lohse's group works at the interface of ecology, earth system/soil science and hydrology studying the processes shaping ecosystems and their responses to anthropogenic changes.

The Lohse Biogeochemistry Laboratory (LBL) is led by Dr. Kathleen Lohse in the Department of Biological Science with joint appointment in the Department of Geosciences at Idaho State University and includes researchers who conduct interdisciplinary research to understand the hydrologic and biogeochemical processes shaping watersheds and their responses to anthropogenic changes. Increasingly, we are incorporating social processes into our conceptual and quantitative models to understand and predict these responses.

Michael McCurry

Michael McCurry, Ph.D.

Chair, Professor

Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 235B

(208) 282-3565


  • Geochemistry
  • Petrology
  • Volcanology
  • Tectonic Magmatic Evolution
Research Interests

Interests are in the areas of low and high temperature geochemistry, igneous petrology, and volcanology. Principal experience is in geochemistry and petrology of magmatic systems in south eastern Idaho, Snake River Plain as well as  Nevada and California.

David Pearson

David M. Pearson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 215B

(208) 282-3486


  • Structural Geology and Tectonics
  • Geo- and Thermochronology
  • Regional Geology of the Northern Rocky Mountains
  • Metamorphic Petrology
Research Interests

Dave's research is focused on deformation of the continental crust. His approach is primarily field-based and at the regional scale, integrating structural geology, geo- and thermochronology, and metamorphic petrology in the context of tectonic processes.

David Rodgers

David W. Rodgers, Ph.D.



  • Structural Geology
  • Regional Tectonics
  • Administration

For 2018-2019, I'll be on sabbatical leave while serving as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Central Asia in Khorog, Tajikistan.

From 2013-2018, I was the ISU Site Leader for a large research program called MILES (Managing Idaho's Landscapes for Ecosystem Services). Funded by a five-year, $20M grant from NSF through their EPSCoR program, MILES involved 100+ participants at the three Idaho research universities. Faculty, post-docs, staff members, graduate students, and undergraduate students worked collaboratively to study the past, present and future growth of mid-sized cities, especially in relation to ecosystem services such as water supply, water quality, flood control, and recreation. The ISU MILES project is described in more detail here, and the statewide MILES project is described here.

From 2010-2018, I was Associate Dean in the ISU College of Science & Engineering. Comprising ten different disciplines, CoSE is a vibrant college characterized by quality education and significant research success.

Leif Tapanila

Leif Tapanila, Ph.D.

Professor, Director, Idaho Museum of Natural History

Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 209

(208) 282-2604


  • Paleoecology
  • Sedimentary Geology
  • Virtualization
Research Interests

Our ancient past provides a rich data set to understand how ecosystems respond to change over time, and I have dedicated my research career to discovering, analyzing and educating the public about the unbelievable history recorded by fossils. I have little use for traditional boundaries in paleontology: all clades, ages and environments are fair game for study. Owing to the regional geology of the west, I have spent a good deal of time studying Paleozoic marine and Mesozoic continental rocks. Past projects have studied the trace fossil record in rock, wood, and coralline skeletons; continental mollusks and their geochemistry; eugeneodontid sharks; and post-impact recovery of a marine coastline.

Through the Idaho Virtualization Lab, I am working to expand the capacity and capability of making the fossil record accessible to anyone, anywhere. Our 3-D scanning lab is the best in the country at making high-fidelity digital reproductions for the purposes of archiving, research, and education. Many of these same tools and techniques are breathing new life into ancient fossils, especially specimens collected decades ago and collecting dust in the basement of museums around the world. The Helicoprion project, which has garnered the most attention for our lab, is a good example of how a century's old mystery can finally be solved using virtual paleontology. It is exciting to imagine what discoveries lie ahead!

Lori Tapanila

Lori Tapanila

Associate Lecturer

Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 215A

(208) 282-5024

I teach a range of courses at ISU, which includes GEOL 1100, 1101, 1110, 2210, 4400, 4460, 44/5550, and 44/5591.  In addition to my teaching duties I supervise and mentor the department Graduate and Undergraduate Teaching Assistants; and I manage, and develop curriculum for, the laboratory sections GEOL 1100L and 1101L.

I am a Geologist and a teacher.  I started teaching in the Geosciences department in 2006 after pursuing a Master’s degree in metamorphic petrology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.  While at the University of Utah I was awarded as an Outstanding Teaching Assistant and was hired as an adjunct instructor.  Previous to that, I taught high school math at Judge Memorial in Salt Lake City after completing a Bachelor’s degree in Geology, also at the University of Utah.  I appreciate that my career allows me the opportunity to combine my love of geology and teaching.  I love getting outside to observe the world around me and going into the field is one of my favorite activities.

I am currently a part-time Associate Lecturer, and recently became the Associate Director of the department Geology Field Camp and the Lost River Field Station (LRFS).  LRFS is one of my favorite places to be, especially when I’m there for Field Camp.

I enjoy working with students and facilitating learning opportunities to expand their experiences in geology.  I regularly advise undergraduates, provide outreach opportunities, and I am the faculty advisor to the student run department club (GEOClub).  I also work with students who have Career Path Internships (CPI); I currently have a CPI working on a project to locate and determine the accessibility of new local field trip locations.

Glenn Thackray

Glenn Thackray, Ph.D.


Office: Phys. Sci. Bldg. 3, Room 228

(208) 282-3871


  • Quaternary Geology
  • Geomorphology
  • Environment Geology
  • Tectonic Geomorphology
Research Interests

My research interests span a broad range of surficial geologic realms. My principal background and research focus lies in the application of Quaternary geology and geomorphology to paleoclimatic and active tectonic investigations. I am currently pursuing projects in these realms in Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, and New Zealand.

I also apply my background in surficial geology to hydrogeology. I am involved in current projects in eastern Idaho, exploring the impacts of bedrock and unconsolidated sediments on groundwater flow and groundwater quality, and have worked extensively on public groundwater protection efforts.