Jon Hawkings (he, him)
Assistant Professor in Earth and Environmental Science
Jon is an environmental biogeochemist originally from the United Kingdom. He received his undergraduate degree in Physical Geography from the University of Bristol. It was at Bristol that he fell in love with ice and biogeochemistry. He graduated with a MSci degree in 2009, went to Svalbard as a research assistant for three months and then took a break from academia.
In 2011, he returned to the University of Bristol to undertake a PhD in Polar Biogeochemistry with Jemma Wadham and Martyn Tranter, graduating in 2015. He was a postdoctoral research associate for three years also at the University of Bristol and worked on three projects, two as Researcher Co-I. In 2018 he was award a European Commission funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Global Fellowship where he spent three years working with Rob Spencer’s lab at Florida State University and Liane Benning’s lab at GFZ Potsdam.
Jon joined Penn in the fall of 2021 as Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Science and leads the Penn BiCycles Lab.
In his spare time he enjoys cooking (especially Indian food), playing and watching football (the round ball kind), a good movie, anything in the great outdoors and marmite.
Jack Murphy (he, him)
Senior Research Coordinator
Jack is a geochemist and Earth Historian fascinated by the complexity and long-term stability of The Earth System. As an undergraduate studying condensed matter physics at Bates College, he was introduced to the geosciences by way of “The Earth System” by Kump, Kasting, and Crane. As it turns out, Earth itself is an incredibly interesting and complex chemical system (especially when compared to low-temperature excitons in gallium arsenide wafers). Couple the purely academic merits of investigating the Earth System with humanities existential need to understand the mechanisms that control Earth’s climate, and Jack was hooked. After serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho and a science faculty member at Solebury School, he joined the Geosciences department at Princeton University as a PhD candidate advised by Professor John Higgins. In June 2022, Jack joined the Penn BiCycles Lab as Senior Research Coordinator where he has the pleasure of working on exciting topics with an exceptional team of students and researchers.
Jack’s research is motivated by two centralizing questions: (1) How has Earth remained habitable for 3+ billion years? Despite an increase in solar luminosity of ~30% over Earth History, there is abundant evidence for liquid water and life on Earth’s surface throughout its long history. This observation requires that Earth’s interconnected global biogeochemical cycles include feedbacks that maintain relatively stability of Earth’s surface environment, with the notable exception of several Snowball Earth events, (2) How is the Earth System responding to contemporary anthropogenic forcings? While Earth’s climate and biological systems have undergone dramatic changes in the past, almost never* has the rate of change been as dramatic as we are witnessing today, driven by human activity. The tools employed in these investigations include field observations, analytical geochemistry, and numerical modeling.
* The notable exception potentially being bolide impact events.
Outside of academic pursuits, Jack enjoys traveling to remote corners of the map, elevating his heart-rate in the presence of an oxygenated atmosphere, pointing out cool rocks and plants to his 2yo daughter (or vice versa), and attempting to be an at minimum half-way decent denizen of Earth.
Amina Youssef (she, her)
Amina is a PhD student in the BiCycles Lab originally from Durango, Colorado. She has interests across environmental biogeochemistry. She received her undergraduate degree from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA, with a biology major and a chemistry minor. During the summer breaks of her undergraduate years, she worked with the Foreman Research Group at Montana State University (MSU), studying dissolved organic matter composition and structure at Glacier National Park. During her undergraduate research experience, she fell in love with glacial ice and biogeochemistry and felt compelled to help participate in developing a more climate resilient world.
Amina graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in May 2022 and has the pleasure of being the first Ph.D. student in the Bicycles Lab. Amina joined the lab in July of 2022 as a research assistant in Norway and began her Ph.D. in August of the same year as a Penn Presidential Fellow, selected among the most exceptional and diverse doctoral students at Penn. She will spend the next four years developing her research questions related to glacier biogeochemistry.
In her spare time, Amina enjoys skiing, mountain biking, hiking, and anything in the outdoors. Recently, she has become interested in participating in triathlon and half-marathon events to improve her running. Besides the outdoors, she loves art and photography, a good fictional book, playing the piano (roughly), and quality time with family and friends.
Łukasz Stachnik (he, him)
Visiting Scholar/Assistant Professor at University of Wrocław (Poland)
Łukasz is a hydrochemist studying the impact of glacier recession on biogeochemical cycles in arctic and alpine environments. His current research examines the influence of chemical and physical weathering in subglacial and proglacial environments on biological and inorganic processes affecting the carbon cycle and linked biogeochemical processes in glaciated regions.
Łukasz obtained a BSc in Biology (with a thesis focused on bear diets in Polish mountains) in 2006 at the Jagiellonian University in Poland. In 2008 he worked on a periglacial hydrology project (IV IPY) based in the Polar Urals.
Łukasz’s PhD (2008 – 2017) focused on hydrochemical process in glaciated hydrological basins, supervised by Dr. Kazimierz Krzemień and Dr. Jacob Yde. During his PhD he participated in several internships in the UK (Glasgow) and Norway (Sogndal, Oslo). In 2012/2013, he was the lab technician in an overwintering team at the Polish Polar Station on the Svalbard Archipelago in the Arctic. As PhD student, he acquired funding for four research projects funded from EU, Norway and Poland scientific institutions.
He returned to Poland from an internship at the University of Glasgow in 2017 to join the Department of Physical Geography at the University of Wrocław (Poland) as Assistant Professor. In 2021, he was awarded a one-year fellowship at Prof. Liane Benning’s lab at the GFZ Helmholtz Centre in Germany. During his time as a Visiting Scholar in the Penn BiCycles Lab Łukasz will work on several collaborative research projects and analyze water and sediment samples.
In his free time Łukasz enjoys year-round outdoor activities including trail running (he has completed several mountain marathons and is training for a 60-mile mountain race!), hiking, ski touring, and kayaking. He hopes to participate in the Philadelphia Marathon while he is in Pennsylvania. He also has a particulate interest in the history of Polish exploration and geographical discoveries in Siberia during the seventeenth to twentieth centuries.
SydneyBlu Garcia-Yao (they/them)
SydneyBlu is a high school student at Harriton High School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania interested in environmental biogeochemistry, particularly emerging contaminants. First introduced to the Earth Sciences through their school’s Science Olympiad program, SydneyBlu became fascinated with freshwater and glacial systems. Then, after being selected to compete at the 2021 International Earth Science Olympiad, SydneyBlu worked with the rest of the US team to analyze microplastic levels in water systems across the country, sparking their interest in understanding environmental contaminants. Determined to learn more, SydneyBlu started researching the correlation between microplastics and coral mortality under Dr. Field at Penn’s Medical School and later presented this research at the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.
During the summer of 2022, SydneyBlu was an intern at the Environmental Biogeochemistry group at the Academy of Natural sciences, studying microplastics in the Delaware River Basin with the goal to create a model to predict concentrations based on environmental and anthropogenic factors.
Interested in the power of remote sensing as a research tool, at the Penn BiCycles Lab SydneyBlu has been working with QGIS and Google Earth Engine to quantify lake volumes in Greenland to better understand carbon fluxes.
Beyond research, SydneyBlu helps run the Leadership in Earth and Environmental Sciences program, a new initiative by the United States Earth Science Organization to increase opportunities for underrepresented populations interested in environmental justice.
In their spare time, they enjoy writing creative nonfiction and trying new bubble tea places.