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Michael M. McGlue

Research Interests:
Sustainability and Environmental Change
Water Resources

Ph.D., University of Arizona

M.S., Syracuse University

B.S., Washington and Lee University


I’m a paleolimnologist. My group uses sediments and fossils to evaluate the impacts of climate change and human activity on freshwater ecosystems. In aquatic ecosystems throughout the world (with special emphasis on the Global South), we’ve conducted multi-disciplinary analyses designed to answer questions related to hydroclimate change, the evolution of biodiversity, fisheries conservation, human-landscape interactions, and natural hazards.

Please contact me regarding student and post doctoral opportunities.



A&S 100/EES 200: On the Rocks - The Geology of Beer, Wine and Spirit Alcohol (UKY Jim Beam Institute Certificate)

An introductory earth systems science course that provides a high-level overview of the environmental and geological factors that influence the production of beer, wine, and spirit alcohol. No prerequisites apart from an interest in the natural world and a passion for more knowledge on the science of alcoholic beverages is required. The course is broken into five sections: (1) science basics, including the details of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, biosphere, and geosphere (2) geology of beer, (3) geology of wine, (4) geology of distilled spirits, (5) environmental history, and (6) bourbon in the Bluegrass. The focus of sections 2, 3 and 4 are a series of lectures that follows a case study approach. “Famous” bottles of beer, wine, and spirits will be used to contextualize the critical zone of regions across the globe that have become renowned for the production of  alcoholic beverages. In section 5,  we will explore how critical events in environmental history (climate change, wildfires, earthquakes) have influenced these areas.  In module 6, the course will emphasize the unique convergence of environmental and geological conditions in central Kentucky that has allowed the bourbon tradition to flourish.  

BIO199: STEMCats - Exploring Climate Change in the Sierra Nevada (California)

A project based learning seminar for first year, STEM-declared majors. Students use lakes and isotopes to search for evidence of climate change in California's mountain headwaters over the past several hundred years. Skills and expertise are developed in the science of climate change, biogeochemistry, limnology, and alpine ecology in the Sierra Nevada. The course is appropriate for students who care about the environment and are interested in learning how to use science to conserve and protect the planet and its water resources.  Co-offered with Dr. Andrea Erhardt.

EES 341: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 

An introduction to key concepts in process geomorphology. Students will learn quantitative analysis of landscape evolution using different aspects of surficial geology and the geological record. Lecture topics will focus on:  (a) measuring rates of geomorphic processes and environmental change using relative and absolute dating; (b) weathering, soils, and source-to-sink sedimentology; (c) the water cycle and hillslopes; (d) river systems, channels, and drainage basin development; (e) coastal, submarine, eolian, glacial, and volcanic features, landforms, and deposits; (f) tectonic geomorphology, climate change, and the evolution of landscapes. Students will be evaluated through quizzes, occasional homework, a mid-term exam, and a final project. The final project will make use of geographic information systems (GIS) and digital elevation models – students will acquire skills in GIS from homework exercises (no experience will be assumed). 

EES 480/645: Glacial and Quaternary Geology/Geophysics in the Field

An introduction to the geologic record of global change with a special focus on the past ~2.6 million years.  Students will be exposed to the evolution of Quaternary climate, biota, and environments using different geological archives. Techniques in Quaternary geochronology. Geomorphology and landscape evolution under the influence of ice sheets. Practical exercises in outcrop analysis with emphasis on lacustrine and loess deposits in northern and western Kentucky. Grading will be based on participation, in-class exercises and a final exams. Two mandatory field trips.  Co-offered with Dr. Ed Woolery.

EES 533: Global Climate and Environmental Change

Geoscientists have documented continuous change in Earth’s climate, environments, and biota through geologic time. Human activity is currently forcing climate change at rates that have previously been associated with periods of extreme ecosystem crisis and mass extinction. This course examines the natural and anthropogenic (human-caused) mechanisms that force climate to change. Modern measurements and observations of climate, energy balance, and biogeochemical cycles, combined with data that preserve climate records of the ancient past, provide the foundation for understanding global environmental change. These data allow geoscientists to document and interpret climate change and to predict the future livability of the planet for human inhabitants.

EES 555: Stratigraphy

This course will introduce the principles of stratigraphy and correlation. Special focus will be placed on clastic depositional systems and facies models.  Students will learn the fundamentals of litho-, chemo-, and sequence stratigraphy, and develop the skills needed to apply these techniques to outcrops, cores, and seismic reflection datasets. Readings will highlight major advances in our understanding of Earth systems history made using the stratigraphic record. Grading will be based on participation, in-class exercises, quizzes, and a final exam.  One week-long field trip to the Outer Banks.

EES 655: Muds and Mudrocks 

This course will introduce students to the geology and geochemistry of muds and mudstones.  Focus will be placed on the generation of silt and clay, processes of transport, depositional environments, provenance techniques (inorganic geochemistry and mineralogy), organic geochemistry, and basin analysis. Introduction to petroleum resource exploration in shale plays of the United States. Practical exercises in sediment core analysis using the KGS core library. Grading will be based on participation, in-class exercises, quizzes, and a final exam.



James B. Beam Institute for KY Spirits

The James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits at the University of Kentucky is the bourbon industry’s research and development vehicle. The Beam Institute offers multidisciplinary research strengths to ensure sustained competitiveness of Kentucky’s spirits industry and its supply chain. A further commitment is to develop the state’s workforce and provide opportunities for economic growth via process efficiency and outreach. In creating exceptional teaching, research and outreach programs, the Beam Institute is a leader for Kentucky’s spirits industry from farm to product.

Please visit the Institute Website:

Scientific Drilling

The lab is deeply engaged in continental scientific drilling, with projects planned in eastern Africa and the western United States. For more information, please see:…


Group: 2013-14

Graduate Students:

Mr. Patrick Baldwin (B.S. UNC-Charlotte): Patrick's M.S. thesis project focuses on the stratigraphy and geochemistry of Pennsylvanian unconventional oil reservoirs in Texas. Patrick has also been invovled in paleolimnological research on Lake Tanganyika. 

Undergraduate Students:

Mr. Joseph Lucas (B.S. UK, in progress): Joseph's research deals with Quaternary sedimentology and  paleoenvironments in Lake Tanganyika, East Africa.

Mr. Taylor Chapman (B.S. UK, in progress): Taylor's research project concentrates on palynofacies and organic geochemistry of Pennsylvanian unconventional oil reservoirs in Texas. Taylor's project is supported by our collaborator Cortland Eble at the KGS.


We thank all of our sponsors for their generous financial support of our research!



Group: 2014-15

Graduate Students:

Mr. Patrick Baldwin (B.S. UNC-Charlotte): Patrick's M.S. thesis project focuses on the stratigraphy and geochemistry of Pennsylvanian unconventional oil reservoirs in Texas. Patrick has also been invovled in paleolimnological research on Lake Tanganyika.

Mr. Patrick Ryan (B.S. U. Maine): Patrick's M.S. thesis project focuses on the stratigraphy and geochemistry of Pennsylvanian unconventional oil reservoirs in Texas.

Mr. Edward Lo (B.S. Louisiana State University): Edward's M.S. thesis project focuses on Holocene paleolimnology in the Pantanal wetlands. Edward is a graduate Fulbright awardee and will spend 2015 in Corumba (MS) with collaborators Aguinaldo Silva (UFMS) and Ivan Bergier (EMBRAPA). Edward is co-advised by Kevin Yeager.

Mr. Zac Perlman (B.S. Denison University): Zac's M.S. thesis project focuses on the stratigraphy and geochemistry of Pennsylvanian unconventional oil reservoirs in Texas. Zac is also conducting shale provenance research (rare earth elements) on Lake Malawi.

Mr. Joseph Lucas (B.S. Univeristy of Kentucky): Joseph is the Pioneer lab manager. Joseph's M.S. thesis research focuses on modern sedimentary processes, high resolution geophysics, and Quaternary paleoenvironments in Lake Tanganyika, East Africa.

Undergraduate Students:

Mr. Taylor Chapman (B.S. UK, in progress): Taylor's research project concentrates on palynofacies and organic geochemistry of Pennsylvanian unconventional oil reservoirs in Texas. Taylor's project is supported by our collaborator Cortland Eble at the KGS. Taylor won an Undergraduate Research Fellowship for his research in the Pioneer Lab.

Ms. Alyssa Eliopolous (B.S. UK, in progress): Alyssa's research project concentrates on stable isotopes and organic geochemistry of Pennsylvanian unconventional oil reservoirs in Texas. Alyssa's project is supported by our collaborator Cortland Eble at the KGS.

Ms. Vicki Oberc (B.S. UK, in progress): Vicki's research project concentrates on sedimentology and geochemistry of Holocene lake sediment cores from the Pantanal of Nhecolandia (MS).  Vicki's project is supported by our collaborator Renato Guerreiro at the IFPR. Vicki won an Undergraduate Research Fellowship for her research in the Pioneer Lab.

Ms. Meredith O'Dell (B.S. UK, in progress): Meredith's research project concentrates on developing major and trace element insights on paleoceanography of the Midland Basin during the late Pennsylvanian icehouse. Meredith is a Chellgren Fellow at UK. 

Student Research!

Eva Lyon (UK' 20) presenting her poster on the seismic stratigraphy and modern sedimentology of June Lake (Eastern Sierras of California) at the 2017 GSA Northeastern-Northcentral section meeting in Pittsburgh.

Bailee Hodelka (UK'18) presenting her poster on UWITEC coring at Mono Lake (California) at the 2017 PACLIM Meeting.

Joseph Lucas (UK'17) presenting his poster on benthic habitat mapping in Lake Tanganyika (Tanzania) at the 2016 TFISE Sustainability Forum.

Darion Carden (UK'17) presenting her poster on paleolimnology in the lower Amazon region of Brazil. Bailee Hodleka (UK '15; currently MS candidate at the University of Kentucky) also participated in this project.


Taylor Chapman (UK '14; currently MS candidate at the University of Louisiana Lafayette) presenting his poster on maceral analysis in the Midland Basin at the GSA Annual meeting in Balitmore, MD. Alyssa Eliopolous (UK '14) also participated in this project.

Cara Peterman presenting our EES730 Paleolimnology class project on detrital paleo-records from Lake Tanganyika at the GSA Annual meeting in Balitmore, MD. MS students Patrick Baldwin and Joseph Lucas also participated in this project.

Zac Perlman, Patrick Ryan, Joseph Lucas, and Patrick Baldwin presenting their research in the Midland Basin at the GSA Annual meeting in Balitmore, MD.

Meredith O'Dell presenting her research on the Midland Basin at the University of Kentucky Symposium for Undergraduate Research (May 2015)

Vicki Oberc presenting her research on the Pantanal at the Geological Society of America North-Central section meeting in Madison, WI (May 2015)

Preston Smith (University of New Mexico) presenting his research on the Rio Bermejo megafan and southern Chaco foreland basin system at the GSA Annual Meeting (2013).

The lab offers specialized services in data acquisition and sediment core analysis.

Please contact me for current rates and/or opportunities for collaboration.

CHIRP Marine-type Seismic Acquistion (3.5 kHz, 15 kHz, 0.5-12 kHz) - R/V Wigsplitter

UWITEC Percussion Coring - R/V Molly McGlue (platform based - up to 100 m water depth)


Field Photos

Eastern Sierra Nevada Field Trip to Sample Mono and Gull Lakes, June 2021


Lake Tanganyika, 2005-2017

Pantanal (western Brazil), 2015-2018


Mono/Gull Lake Expedition, 2021. Sarah Ivory (Penn State), Adam Benfield (Penn State), Susan Zimmerman (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory-CAMS), Laura Lopera Congote (Indiana State University), Bailee Hodelka (UK)

Jackson Lake/Grand Teton National Park, 2019. Ryan Thigpen, Sarah Johnson, Autumn Helfrich, Cooper Cearley, Hillary Johnson, Giliane Rasbold (UK)

Lake Tanganyika, 2019. Sarah Ivory (Penn State), Mupape Mukuli.

Kentucky Climate Consortium

Empowering all Kentuckians to be environmental stewards by providing access to reliable, accessible, and relevant information about the climate.


Group: 2015-16

Graduate Students:

Patrick Baldwin (B.S. UNC-Charlotte)

Patrick Ryan (B.S. U. Maine)

Edward Lo (B.S. Louisiana State University)

Zac Perlman (B.S. Denison University)

Joseph Lucas (B.S. Univeristy of Kentucky)

Bailee Hodelka (B.S. Univeristy of Kentucky)

Undergraduate Students:

Darion Carden (B.S. UK, in progress)

Meredith O'Dell (B.S. UK, in progress)


Some popular news coverage about our recent publication on climate warming affecting lakes in the Sierra Nevada (September 2021)…


Some press coverage on our recent publication on ENSO and solar irradiance affecting Lake Tanganyika's food web (October 2020)…



Patrick Baldwin successfully defended his M.S. thesis, LITHOSTRATIGRAPHIC AND GEOCHEMICAL CHARACTERIZATION OF THE ‘WOLFCAMP D’ SHALE, MIDLAND BASIN (USA), on April 8, 2016. Patrick becomes the Pioneer Lab's first alumnus. Congratulations Patrick! Well Done!

Patrick Ryan successfully defended his M.S. thesis, STRATIGRAPHIC, GEOCHEMICAL AND WELL LOG ANALYSIS OF THE WOLFCAMP-D UNCONVENTIONAL PLAY IN THE CENTRAL MIDLAND BASIN, TEXASon December 1, 2016. Patrick becomes the Pioneer Lab's second alumnus. Congratulations Patrick! Well Done!

Zac Perlman successfully defended his M.S. thesis, STRATIGRAPHIC, GEOCHEMICAL AND GEOCHRONOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF THE WOLFCAMP-D INTERVAL, MIDLAND BASIN, TEXASon March 9, 2017. Zac becomes the Pioneer Lab's third alumnus, and the fastest to defend to date. Congratulations Zac! Well Done!

Edward Lo successfully defended his M.S. thesis, EVOLUTION OF LAKE UBERABA ON THE DISTAL PARAGUAY MEGAFAN, PANTANAL WETLANDS (BRAZIL) on July 12, 2017. Edward becomes the Pioneer Lab's fourth alumnus. Congratulations Edward! Well Done!

Bailee Hodelka successfully defended her M.S. thesis, STRATIGRAPHY AND ORGANIC GEOCHEMISTRY REVEAL PATTERNS OF LATE QUATERNARY PALEO-PRODUCTIVITY AT MONO LAKE, CALIFORNIA. on May 1, 2018. Bailee becomes the Pioneer Lab's fiifth alumnus. Congratulations Bailee! Well Done!

Joseph Lucas successfully defended his M.S. thesis, BENTHIC HABITAT MAPPING AT LAKE TANGANYIKA (TANZANIA) on August 16, 2018. Joseph becomes the Pioneer Lab's sixth alumnus. Congratulations Joseph! Great Job!

Laura Streib successfully defended her M.S. thesis, A DIATOM PROXY FOR SEASONALITY OVER THE LAST THREE MILLENIA AT JUNE LAKE, EASTERN SIERRA NEVADA (CA) on May 28, 2019. Laura is our seventh alumnus, and she is going on to complete a PhD at Syracuse. Congratulations Laura! Great Job!

Morgan Black successfully defended her M.S. thesis, HOLOCENE HYDROCLIMATIC AND VEGETATION RECONSTRUCTION IN THE EASTERN SIERRA NEVADA USING POLLEN AND STABLE ISOTOPES FROM CONVICT LAKE on September 16, 2019. Morgan is lab alumni number eight! Congratulations Morgan!

Group: 2016-17


Graduate Students

Bailee Hodelka

Eva Lyon

Edward Lo

Joseph Lucas

Zac Perlman (not pictured)

Undergraduate Students

Meredith O'Dell

Andy Duffy (not pictured)

STEAM Academy Interns

Nell Adkins

Ava Hutt

Zac Eichner (not pictured)


Group: 2017-18


(L-R) Bailee Hodelka, Edward Lo, Joseph Lucas, Eva Lyon, Morgan Black, Maggie Sanders, Laura Streib

Group: 2018-19


PhD student Eva Lyon (Paleolimnology of June Lake)

MS student Laura Streib (Diatom Stratigraphy of June Lake)

MS student Morgan Black (Palynology and Paleolimnology at Convict Lake)

STEAM Academy student Anthony Raphael (traineeship with Morgan Black)

BS student McKenzie Brannon (Paleolimnology of southern Lake Tanganyika)

PhD student Edward Lo (Source-to-Sink Analysis of the Pantanal Basin)

PhD student Bailee Hodelka (Paleolimnology of Mono Lake)

Not pictured: MS student Antonia Bottoms (Glacial Paleo-lakes in KY), STEAM Academy student Dexter Ollis (traineeship with Edward Lo), PhD student Gilliane Gessica Rasbold (Paleolimnology of the Pantanal).


Selected Publications:

* denotes student, denotes corresponding author

Dilworth, J.*, Stone, J.S., Yeager, K., Thigpen, R.T., and McGlue, M.M., (2023) Fossil diatoms reveal environmental and anthropogenic history of Jackson Lake (Wyoming), 1650-2019 CE. ES3 – Earth Science Systems and Society doi:10.3389/esss.2023.10065

Benfield, A.J.*, Ivory, S.J., Hodelka, B.N.*, Zimmerman, S.R.H., McGlue, M.M., (2023) Terrestrial ecosystem transformations in response to rapid climate change during the last deglaciation aaround Mono Lake, California, USA. Quaternary Research doi:10.1017/qua.2022.70

McGlue, M.M., Dilworth, J.R.*,  Johnson, H.L.*, Whitehead, S.*, Thigpen, J.R., Yeager, K.M., Woolery, E.W., Brown, S.J., Cearley, C.*, Clark, G.*, Dixon, T.S.*, Goldsby, R.C.*, Helfrich, A.*, Hodelka, B.N.*, Johnson, S.E.*, Lo, E.L.*, Domingos Luz, L.*, Powell, N.*, Rasbold, G.G.*, Swanger, W.* (2023) Effect of dam emplacement and water level changes on sublacustrine geomorphology and recent sedimentation in Jackson Lake, Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming, USA). ES3 – Earth Science Systems and Society doi: 10.3389/esss.2023.10066

Johnson, S.*, Swallom, M.*, Thigpen, R., McGlue, M.M., Woolery, E., Yeager, K., (2022) Quantifying post-glacial denudation rates in the Teton Range, Wyoming. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 592, 117643

Lo, E.L.*, Yeager, K.M., Bergier, I., Silva, A., McGlue, M.M., (2022),  Sediment infill of tropical floodplain lakes: rates, controls, and implications for ecosystem services. Frontiers in Earth Science DOI: 10.3389/feart.2022.875919

Rasbold, G.G., Pinheiro, U., Luz, L.D.*, Dilworth, J.*, Thigpen, R.T., Passenda, L.C., McGlue, M.M., (2022) First evidence of a freshwater sponge fauna in Jackson Lake, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (USA). Inland Waters DOI: 10.1080/20442041.2022.2035190

Streib, L.*, Stone, J., Lyon, E., Ha, H., Zimmerman, S., Yeager, K., McGlue, M.M., (2021) Anthropogenic climate change has altered lake state in the Sierra Nevada (California, USA) Global Change Biology DOI:10.1111/gcb.15843

Kamulali, T.*, McGlue, M.M., Stone, J., Kimirei, I., Goodman, P.,  Cohen, A.S., (2021) Paleoecological analysis of Holocene sediment cores from the southern basin of Lake Tanganyika: Implications for the future of the fishery Journal of Paleolimnology DOI:10.1007/s10933-021-00219-4

McGlue, M.M., Yeager, K.M., Soreghan, M., Behm, M., Kimirei, I., Cohen, A.S., Mbonde, A., Apse, C., Limbu, P., Smiley, R.*, Doering, D.*, Lucas, J.S.*, McIntyre, P., (2021) Spatial variability in nearshore sediment pollution in Lake Tanganyika (East Africa) and implications for fisheries conservation Anthropocene 33, 100281

Ivory, S.J., McGlue, M.M., Peterman, C.*, Baldwin, P.*, Lucas, J.*, Cohen, A., Russell, J., Saroni, J., Msaky, E., Soreghan, M., (2021) Climate, vegetation, and weathering across space and time in tropical Lake Tanganyika. Quaternary Science Advances

McGlue, M.M., Ivory, S.J., Stone, J.R., Cohen, A.S., Kamulali, T.M., Latimer, J.C., Brannon, M.A.*, Kimirei, I.A. and Soreghan, M.J., (2020) Solar irradiance and ENSO affect food security in Lake Tanganyika, a major African inland fishery. Science Advances, 6(41), p.eabb2191.

Lyon, E.*, McGlue, M.M., Erhardt, A.E., Kim, S., Stone, J., Zimmerman, S., (2020), Late Holocene hydroclimate changes in the eastern Sierra Nevada revealed by a 4600 year paleoproduction record from June Lake, CA Quaternary Science Reviews, 242, 106432

Russell, J.M., Barker, P., Cohen, A., Ivory, S., Kimirei, I., Lane, C.,  Leng, M., Maganza, N., McGlue, M.M., Msaky, E., Noren, A., Park Boush, L., Salzburger, W., Scholz, C., Tiedemann R., and the Lake Tanganyika Scientific Drilling Team (2020), ICDP Workshop on Scientific Drilling in Lake Tanganyika, Africa: A late Neogene record of climate, rifting, and ecosystem evolution from the world’s oldest tropical lake Scientific Drilling 27, 53–60

Lucas, J.*, McGlue, M., Kimirei, I., Soreghan, M., Mbonde, A., Yeager, K., Limbu, P., Apse, C., McIntyre, P., (2020) Geophysical benthic habitat mapping at Lake Tanganyika: Implications for placing small scale coastal protected zones - Journal of Great Lakes Research 46 (2), 243-254

Hodelka, B.*, McGlue, M.M., Zimmerman, S., Ali, G., Tunno, I., (2020) Paleoproduction and environmental change at Mono Lake (CA) during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition - Palaeo3 109565

Ivory, S.J., McGlue, M.M., Spera, S., Silva, A., Bergier, I., (2019) Vegetation, rainfall, and pulsing hydrology in the Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland - Environmental Research Letters 14 (12), 124017

Novello, V., Cruz, F.W., McGlue, M.M., Wong, C., Vuille, M., Ward, B., Santos, R. *, Jaqueto, P.F., Pessenda, L.C., Atorre, T., Ribeiro, L., Karmann, I., Barreto, E., Cheng, H., Lawrence, E.R., Paula, M.S., (2019) Abrupt changes in South America during the transition of the glacial to the Holocene - Earth and Planetary Science Letters 524, 115717

Bertassoli, D.*,  Sawakuchi, A.O., Chiessi, C.M., Schefuß, E., Hartmann, G.A., Haggi, C., Cruz, F., Zabel, M., McGlue, M.M., Santos, R.A., Pupim, F.N., (2019) Variations on the relative discharge of the Amazon and Xingu Rivers during the late Holocene linked to interhemispheric temperature anomalies - Geophysical Research Letters 46 (15), 9013-9022

Lo, E.L.*, McGlue, M.M., Silva, A., Yeager, K., Bergier, I., O’Dell, M.*, Macedo, H., Assine, M.,(2019) Fluvial-lacustrine sedimentary processes and landforms on the distal Paraguay fluvial megafan (Brazil) - Geomorphology 342, 163-175

Lyon, E.*, McGlue, M.M., Kim, S., Stone, J., Woolery, E., Zimmerman, S., (2019) Sub-lacustrine geomorphology and modern sedimentation at June Lake (CA), a glacial scour basin in the eastern Sierra Nevada - Journal of Sedimentary Research 89 (10), 919-934