Graduate Students

Katy Sparrow


PhD Candidate
Entry Year: 2012
Faculty Mentor(s): John Kessler

107D Hutchison Hall
(585) 275-2514
ksparrow@ur.rochester.edu

Education

Ph.D., University of Rochester, defended Nov. 30, 2016

B.S., University of North Carolina at Wilmington, 2011

Research Overview

My central research question is, What is the dominant source of the methane being emitted to Arctic Ocean shelf surface waters? Answering this question will help us to better understand the current mobility of subsea Arctic carbon stores within the context of today's warming world. The shallow continental shelves of the Arctic contain several different methane sources, including a large, climate-sensitive store of carbon in its sediments that is a relict of the Last Glacial Maximum. It is unknown whether or not this old methane is in contact with the surface waters and therefore can be emitted to the atmosphere today and in the decades to come. With John Kessler, I have developed a technique to collect and prepare robust natural radiocarbon-methane samples, which allow us to differentiate between old and young sources of methane and therefore uniquely address many unanswered questions about the oceanic cycling of this long-lived greenhouse gas.

Selected Publications

Journal publications

  • Sparrow, K. J., J. D. Kessler, J. R. Southon, F. Garcia-Tigreros, K. M. Schreiner, M. Leonte, K. M. Walter Anthony, J. B. Miller, S. J. Lehman, and X. Xu. "Limited contribution of ancient carbon-sourced methane to the modern atmosphere from the Alaskan Arctic Ocean." In prep.
  • Sparrow, K. J. and J. D. Kessler. “Efficient collection and preparation of methane from low concentration waters for natural radiocarbon analysis." Limnology and Oceanography: Methods. Submitted.
  • Garcia-Tigreros Kodovska, F., K. J. Sparrow, S. A. Yvon-Lewis, A. Paytan, N. T. Dimova, A. L. Lecher, and J. D. Kessler (2016). "Dissolved methane and carbon dioxide fluxes in Subarctic and Arctic regions: Assessing measurement techniques and spatial gradients." Earth and Planetary Science Letters. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2015.12.002.
  • Dimova, N. T., A. Paytan, J. D. Kessler, K. J. Sparrow, F. Garcia-Tigreros Kodovska, A. L. Lecher, J. Murray, and S. Tulaczyk (2015). "The current magnitude and mechanisms of groundwater discharge in the Arctic: Case study from Alaska." Environmental Science and Technology, doi: 10.1021/acs.est.5b02215.
  • Lecher, A. L., J. D. Kessler, K. J. Sparrow, F. Garcia-Tigreros Kodovska, N. Dimova, J. Murray, S. Tulaczyk, and A. Paytan (2015). "Methane transport through submarine groundwater discharge to the North Pacific and Arctic Ocean at two Alaskan sties." Limnology and Oceanography, doi:10.1002/lno.10118.
  • Paytan, A., A. L. Lecher, N. Dimova, K. J. Sparrow, F. Garcia-Tigreros Kodovska, J. Murray, S. Tulaczyk, and J. D. Kessler (2015). “Methane transport from the active layer to lakes in the Arctic using Toolik Lake, Alaska, as a case study.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi:10.1073/pnas.1417392112.

Conference presentations

  • Sparrow, K. J., J. D. Kessler, J. R. Southon, F. Garcia-Tigreros, K. M. Schreiner, M. Leonte, K. M. Walter Anthony, J. B. Miller, S. J. Lehman, and X. Xu. Limited contribution of ancient carbon-sourced methane to the modern atmosphere from the Alaskan Arctic Ocean. Cryosphere-Carbon-Climate Interactions in the Siberian Arctic Ocean Partner Conference, Tomsk, Russia, 22 Nov 2015 (poster).
  • Sparrow, K. J. and J. D. Kessler. "Efficient collection and preparation of methane from extremely large volumes of water for natural radiocarbon analysis." 22nd International Radiocarbon Conference, Dakar, Senegal, 17 Nov 2015 (talk).
  • Sparrow, K. J. and J. D. Kessler. "Efficient collection of methane from extremely large volumes of water for natural radiocarbon analysis." AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA, 15 Dec 2014 (poster).

Teaching

  • Teacher’s Assistant, Spring 2015, Introduction to Environmental Science (EES 103)
  • Teacher’s Assistant, Spring 2013, Stable Isotope Geochemistry: Fractionation Equations and Models (EES 261/461)
  • Environmental Education Intern, Summer 2010, Chincoteague Bay Field Station of the Marine Science Consortium, Wallops Island, VA

Professional Honors and Awards

  • Recipient, Graduate Student Association Conference Travel Funding, December 2014 and December 2015

Field Experience

  • 2016, June 26 - 30, R/V Blue Heron, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, USA
  • 2015, August 29 - September 5, R/V Ukpik, Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, USA
  • 2014, July 7 - 14, R/V Endeavor, North Atlantic Bight, USA
  • 2012, August 7 - 14, R/V Cape Hatteras, Gulf of Mexico, USA
  • 2012, July 29 - August 3, Barrow Field Station, Barrow, Alaska, USA
  • 2012, July 24 - 28, Toolik Field Station, Toolik Lake, Alaska, USA
  • 2012, July 19 - 23, Kasitsna Bay Laboratory, Kasitsna Bay, Alaska, USA
  • 2011, August 21 - 28, Kasitsna Bay Laboratory, Kasitsna Bay, Alaska, USA
  • 2011, August 13 - 20, Toolik Field Station, Toolik Lake, Alaska, USA
  • 2011, August 8 - 12, R/V Ukpik, Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, USA