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Research Associates and Postdoctoral Associates

Diana Bernstein
PhD in Atmospheric Science, 2014, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Post Doctoral Associate Large Lakes Observatory
email: dbernste at

I received my PhD in Atmospheric Science, focusing on understanding local-regional scale variability in climate, with an emphasis on the processes that involve deep convection and impact the hydrological cycle. My research includes study of atmospheric circulation and how it responds to or is projected to respond to anthropogenic forcings. I address these issues through numerical models, including General Circulation Models and Mesoscale Meteorological Models.

In my recent work at LLO, I am interested in surface heat fluxes on the Great Lakes, particularly evaporative fluxes and their temporal and spatial structure on Lake Superior. To that end, I use numerical model simulations and available direct measurements.

Laura Fiorentino
PhD in Applied Marine Physics, 2013, University of Miami, RSMAS
Post Doctoral Associate Large Lakes Observatory
email: lfiorent at

I received my B.S. in mathematics and physics from the University of Georgia and my M.S. and Ph.D. in applied marine physics from the University of Miami –RSMAS. My doctoral research focused on the use of Lagrangian coherent structures in the study of coastal water quality. I continue to apply dynamical systems theory to investigate transport and mixing in oceans and lakes.

As a postdoctoral associate at LLO, and in cooperation with the EPA’s Mid-Continent Ecology Division, I am helping to develop a coastal monitoring program using a recently acquired Slocum glider (AUV). I am involved in planning mission paths, programming the glider, and processing and analyzing the resulting data. homepage

Ralph J. Garono
PhD in Aquatic Ecology, 1993, Kent State University
Research Associate Large Lakes Observatory and Natural Resources Research Institute
email: rjgarono at

I am interested in factors that structure wetland and coastal land-margin ecosystems. My research focuses on the roles that nitrogen and phosphorus play in organizing biological communities at the base of Great Lakes coastal food webs. I use a variety of field and laboratory techniques to measure nutrient bioavailability including, bioassays, in situ nutrient amendments, and physiological indicators of nutrient limitation.

My recent work characterizes the biogeochemical transformations and measures shifts in planktonic communities along the gradient formed as the water of the St. Louis River, rich in dissolved organic matter, enter the clear water of Lake Superior. In addition to measuring algal communities and nutrient transformations, I am also beginning to investigate the interactions between CDOM and nutrient biogeochemistry along this river-to-lake gradient and developing an understanding of how these ecosystem processes may be affected by changing climate and land use patterns.

Mona Stockhecke
PhD in Earth Science, 2014, ETH Zurich
Post Doctoral Associate Large Lakes Observatory
email: mstockhe at

Lakes respond very sensitively to regional environmental changes. Sediments accumulating on their bottom record these changes, in some cases over millions of years. By drilling into the lake bottom and recovering these natural archives we shed light onto past climate and furthermore might be able to find answers about possible linkages between climate and our evolution.

I use basic sedimentological tools to understand sediment deposition next to a suite of proxy records extracted from lake sediments to reconstruct past changes in environmental and climate conditions at annual to centennial time-scales since the Pliocene. My primary research areas are located in Turkey (ICDP project PALEOVAN) and the East African rift valley (ICDP project HSPDP). Turning lacustrine mud into information; e.g. the ability to reveal the lake´s history and it's response to climate change, fascinates me.

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