Date: September 25, 2013
Location: Simmons Hall 111
Topic: Dark Life: How Life Underground Can Point to the Stars
Dr. Hazel A. Barton is an Associate Professor of Biology and Geosciences at the University of Akron. Her current research is geared toward understanding microbially driven geochemistry in cave environments, with funding from the US National Science Foundation (NSF) toward understanding how bacterial adapt to the extreme isolation and nutrient limitation of caves. Other funding from the US Fish and Wildlife Service is to study the natural history and ecology of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the causative agent of White-nose Syndrome, a devastating mycosis of bats within the northeastern US, while the National Park Service provides funding to understand microbial adaptations in subterranean lakes deep within Wind Cave, South Dakota. Through this work and her interest in undergraduate research, Dr. Barton’s lab has been awarded a ‘top ten research labs for undergraduates’ designation by Popular Science magazine in 2010, 2011 and 2013. Dr. Barton is also an avid caver, having explored caves on five continents, is a past director of the National Speleological Society (NSS), the Quintana Roo Speleological Survey, and an award winning cave cartographer. Her cave research has been featured in Sports Illustrated, Forbes, National Geographic Explorer, Outside, Science News, The Scientist, Popular Mechanics, Wired, Geo and The Smithsonian magazines, in the book Extreme Scientists: Exploring Natures Mysteries from Perilous Places, on NPR and BBC Radio, on Animal Planet, the History Channel, the CBS Early Show, BBC TV and in the IMAX movie Journey into Amazing Caves. She is currently a Fellow of the NSS, a Kavli Fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, and the recipient of an NSF CAREER Award.