Kena Fox-Dobbs





BS, Geology-Biology – Brown University – 1999
PhD, Earth Sciences – University of California Santa Cruz – 2006

Courses taught:

ENV 105: Intro to Environmental Science

ENV 400: EPDM Senior Seminar

GEO 306: The Fossil Record

GEO 324: Biogeochemical Approaches to Env Sci

GEO 111: Dinosaurs (SCIS 1st year seminar)

Research Overview:
I use biogeochemical techniques (primarily elemental and isotopic analyses) to investigate a range of paleoecological and ecological questions.

See Kena's interview with The Discovery Channel.


Research students:

Anne Fetrow (Class of 2015) joined the UPS, UMinn, and UWyo field crew in the Great Plains during the summer of 2012. She trapped small mammals, collected hair and fecal samples, surveyed local vegetation, and generally kept everyone organized! While at the field site in Amarillo, TX she designed a small project to look at grasshopper diet (C4 grass vs C3 herb/forb/chrub) during extreme drought conditions.

Elli McKinley (Class of 2013) is using C and N elemental and isotopic analyses to characterize the organic fraction of a 7 meter sediment core from Lake Waughop in Steilacoom, WA. The core is a 13,000 year record, and Elli's research has revealed deep time changes in lake dynamics, as well as recent anthropogenic influences on water quality (related to livestock waste). Elli is co-advised by Dr. Jeff Tepper (Geology).

Laura Strong (Class of 2013) is using stable isotope analyses to study sea star (Pisaster) diet - her study sites are located in Puget Sound, San Juan Islands, Straits of Juan de Fuca, and the Pacific coast along the Olympic Peninsula. Her work has identified sea star dietary patterns that correspond to body size and color, prey availability, and location. Laura is co-adivsed by Dr. Joel Elliott (Biology).

Vienna Saccomanno (Class of 2013) is using isotopic analyses to investigate lizard diet and food web structure within an Arizona desert community. She has found interesting dietary differences between male and female lizards, and among major arthropod groups. Vienna is co-advised by Dr. Stacey Weiss (Biology).

Stella Mosher (Class of 2012) researched trophic dynamics within the intertidal invertebrate communities that live in anthropogenic sulfide seeps along Commencement Bay, WA. She used C, N, and S analyses to quantify the importance of chemosynthetic primary productivity among consumers. Stella was co-adivsed by Dr. Joel Elliott (Biology).

James Ray (Class of 2012) studied the diets of Grants gazelles in Kenya. He participated in a gazelle capture in the summer of 2011, and back in the lab prepared horn, hair and fecal samples for SIA. His work showed that gazelle diet is variable over time, and includes episodic C4 grass consumption (mediated by precipitation and grass availability).

Susin Olszewski (Class of 2012) investigated the diets of historic and modern zebras in Kenya using SIA. Specifically, she compared plains and Grevy's zebra diets from the early 1900's and 2006-2010. Her work shed light on the foraging ecology of the endangered Grevy's zebra. Susin also completed a separate research project on WA coastal seabird ecology, and the impact of marine plastics on diet. For this project Susin was co-advised by Dr. Peter Hodum (Biology).

Mary Koenig (Class of 2011) co-advised by Dr. Jeff Tepper

Lydia Kleine (Class of 2011) co-advised by Dr. Peter Wimberger

Ashleigh Boyd (Class of 2010)

Marjie Lodwick (Class of 2010)