Megan Behnke, Ph.D.
B.A. Chemistry, St. Olaf College (2016)
M.S. Oceanography, Florida State University (2020)
Ph.D. Chemical Oceanography, Florida State University (2022)
Megan Behnke joined the ACRC as a stream chemistry technician in 2016 and returned in 2022 as a postdoctoral fellow through the Coastal Rainforest Margins Research Network. She is pleased to now be working with the Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center as a postdoctoral fellow in the Future of Aquatic Flows cohort. In between she received her MS and PhD from Florida State University, studying what happens when warming temperatures release organic carbon that has been locked away in permafrost, glaciers, and wetland soils in both coastal temperate rainforests and around the pan-Arctic. During her PhD she worked as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow with ACRC and the Arctic Great Rivers Observatory. Megan uses a combination of ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry and elemental and isotopic ratios to explore how the sources, processing, and fates of organic matter are changing due to climate change and associated shifts in land use and land cover.
Megan's current research interests include understanding how cryospheric warming (i.e. glacial melt and permafrost thaw) is changing the type and delivery of organic matter to streams and to the nearshore environment, the fate of organic matter once it leaves the river, and the role shifts in stream chemistry play in energy flows through aquatic food webs. She is also interested in understanding the role of trees in delivering dissolved organic matter to forest floors, stream systems, and the nearshore. In addition to research, Megan spends her time paddling, skiing, climbing, gardening, reading (particularly quality science fiction) and bushwhacking through devil's club.