Bristol Benjamin Meaker Distinguished Visiting Professor W. Berry Lyons, The Ohio State University, USA

BBMDVP‌Lakes, Brines and the Grind

Visit dates to be confirmed for 2021/22


Professor Lyons is a College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Earth Sciences in the School of Earth Sciences at The Ohio State University. His interests include the biogeochemistry of polar regions, how polar environments are affected by a changing climate, and the impact of differences in biogeochemistry on polar biogeography. He has performed research in both the Arctic and Antarctic since the early 1980s, but during the past two decades he has primarily focused on the ice-free regions and subglacial environments of the Antarctic. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America (GSA), American Association for the Advancement Science, and American Geophysical Union, and has been a Lowell Thomas awardee from the Explorers Club, the GSA's I. C. Russell awardee, and the Ingerson Lecturer for both GSA and International Association for GeoChemistry. Since 2000, he has co-authored 73 peer-reviewed papers on Antarctic biogeochemical topics and has served on the USA’s Polar Research Board, chaired the National Research Council report entitled “Designing an Arctic Observing Network” and was until recently the Chair the NSF’s Office of Polar Program’s Advisory Committee. He has been a USA representative to and the chief officer of SCAR’s Geosciences Scientific Standing Group and served as the Director of the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center from 1999 to 2009, and Director of the School of Earth Sciences from 2009 to 2018. He spent seven months on a Fulbright Fellowship at the National University of Ireland, Galway in 2018.


One of the most compelling research topics in polar science today is that of subglacial environments. The occurrence of liquid water in the form of lakes, streams, and even groundwater under polar glaciers is important in determining both glacier movement and dynamics and the production of chemical species that eventually find their way into the oceans. This study will integrate and synthesize both past and ongoing research to produce three high-profile papers in top-tier journals. Professor Lyons and Professor Tranter have collaborated for two decades and have successfully co-authored many papers on the biogeochemistry of Antarctic aquatic environments. This present study will be a follow-on to their previous work. The proposed work will incorporate data from investigations in which both have been involved and produce seminal reviews on the biogeochemistry of subglacial aquatic environments in Antarctica. In addition, Lyons will present university and departmental seminars, interact with faculty, staff and students of the Centre and School, and provide mentoring to post-graduate students.

Professor Lyons is hosted by Professor Tranter, Earth Sciences.

Planned events include:

Public Lecture
Glacier-Sustained Ecosystem in Antarctica–McMurdo Dry Valleys and Subglacial Lakes

Departmental Lecture
Biogeochemistry in a Dark, Cold, Salty Place—Blood Falls and Hypersaline Groundwaters in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

Dates, times and venues will be confirmed in due course