Principal Investigators

Dr. Julia Wellner

Julia is a marine geologist in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Houston studying the Holocene climate of the Antarctic, Antarctic Ice Sheet history since the Eocene, and geomorphic signatures of ice sheet retreat across the continental shelf.

Dr. Robert Larter

Robert is a marine geophysicist working at British Antarctic Survey since 1987. His main research focus since 2004 has been on late Quaternary ice sheet history, glacial geomorphology and glacial/glacial-marine processes.


Kelly is a member of the British Antarctic Survey’s Paleo Environments, Ice Sheets and Climate Change team whose goal is to improve understanding of the mechanisms of past change in ice sheets, oceans and global climate. She specializes in providing past and contemporary records of climate and environmental change from high latitude regions.

Rebecca is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama. Her research is driven by the impacts of historical climate change.  Her primary field area is offshore of Antarctica, where she reconstructs the behavior of tidewater glaciers from sediment cores, diatom microfossils, and geophysical data.

Frank is a geophysicist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. He studies the seafloor around Antarctica and the coastal areas of the US using acoustic mapping techniques and data integration through GIS to reconstruct past ice stream flow and marine processes.

Lauren is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia broadly studying past ice sheet and coastal change. Her focus for THOR is reconstructing a meltwater discharge history for TG.


John is the Maurice Ewing Professor of Oceanography in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Rice University and a veteran of 24 scientific expeditions to study various aspects of Antarctic marine geology and the historical behavior of ice sheets to inform future changes that may result from climate forcing.

Alastair is a marine geophysicist and geomorphologist studying ice-sheet history and processes using long-timescale observations from sub-polar and polar marine records. For THOR, Ali’s work will focus on the mechanistic understanding of Thwaites Glacier (TG) retreat involving survey using shipborne geophysics, and a related but unfunded collaboration with TARSAN which will obtain high-resolution bathymetry near TG using an AUV. 

Claus-Dieter is senior marine geologist at the British Antarctic Survey, who has studied glacial and glacimarine depositional processes on the Antarctic continental margin for nearly 25 years. His research in the THOR project will focus on reconstructing past glacier changes and their drivers from analysing marine sediments.

James is a marine geologist at the British Antarctic Survey broadly studying past ice sheet and ice shelf change. His focus for THOR is reconstructing ice shelf history together with the drivers of change. Part of this work involves the recovery of sediment cores from beneath the floating portion of Thwaites, which will be achieved through collaboration with the MELT project.



Rachel W. Clark

Allison Lepp

Rachel currently works at the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Houston. Rachel does research in Marine Geology. Her most recent publication is 'Seismic Stratigraphy of the Shatsky Rise Sediment Cap, Northwest Pacific, and Implications for Pelagic Sedimentation Atop Submarine Plateaus.'

Alie is a current Ph.D. student in the Department of Environmental Sciences at The University of Virginia. Her research with THOR will involve examining recent history of subglacial processes, specifically meltwater discharge events, through sedimentological analyses. 

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Outreach & Education

Linda Welzenbach

Sarah J. Slack

Linda is the science communications specialist in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Rice University. She is a geologist and veteran of two expeditions to collect meteorites from Antarctica. Her role for THOR is public outreach, and so she will communicate science activities during the first scientific cruise in 2019-NBP1902 and serves as the project webmaster.

Sarah Slack is THOR’s PolarTREK teacher. She teaches STEM at the Montauk school in Brooklyn, NY and has a Masters degree in Plant Biology from the University of Minnesota. She is a member of the city's Middle School Science Leadership Team and loves coaching her school's Science Olympiad team. Sarah will maintain a journal and website during her cruise on board the Nathaniel B. Palmer in 2020.

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