Faculty & Staff

Dr. Danielle Haskett Jennings

I earned a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Georgia in 2004 and went on to work in the diamond industry as a graduate gemologist and diamond grader for Gemological Institute of America, where I had the opportunity to help open a diamond grading lab in Mumbai, India in 2008. From 2011-2013, I completed my master’s in physical geography, also at the University of Georgia, where I studied abrupt climate change events and its impact on alpine and subalpine environments in the Colorado Rockies. I used variations within chironomid assemblages as a proxy to qualitatively and quantitatively reconstruct changing thermal and lake conditions at the study site spanning a 70,000-year interval. The opportunity to work on the Snowmastodon Site allowed me to collect samples from very remote alpine lakes in the Sawatch Range of Colorado. I have also worked as a research assistant at the Center for Applied Isotopes preparing samples for oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon stable isotope analysis, which has provided me with the experience to expand my research interests into applying isotope analysis in my future work.

I earned my Ph.D. in geography from the University of Georgia in 2020. My doctoral research assessed how glacial meltwater affected the physical and biological characteristics of high elevation lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park. I focused on investigating how benthic invertebrate communities in aquatic ecosystems are responding to climate and environmental change. My dissertation combined integrated spatial and temporal analysis, geochemistry, and biological proxies, to understand how glacial retreat is impacting high elevation lakes. My research is vital in developing modern analogs for a biological proxy, chironomids, that are currently used to model air temperature. My results show that chironomid communities collected from nine lakes are responding to the cooler water temperatures and excessive nitrate delivered via glacial meltwater. Thus, paleoenvironmental reconstructions of air temperature will underestimate air temperatures derived from lakes located in catchments that were actively receiving glacial meltwater over millennial timescales. I intend to continue this work and expand my research to study aquatic ecosystem response in new lakes formed by glacial retreat in Greenland and Iceland. These findings will provide a better understanding of lake ontogeny, or the development of lake system biology and chemistry over time. In addition to this work, I have a conservation projects ongoing in Brazil (development of environmental history of habitat for capuchin monkeys). In addition, I intend to explore Montevallo through geoarch methods to help expand our understanding of the history environmental land use of the university and the surrounding area.


2021         Jennings, D.R.H., 2021. Does glacial retreat impact benthic chironomid communities? A case study from Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. SN Applied Sciences, 3(12), pp.1-14.                       

                Haskett Jennings, D.R. Which lakes should be selected for paleoenvironmental chironomid work? Considerations for study site selection (Under Review)

                Haskett Jennings, D.R., G. Jiménez-Moreno, and R.S. Anderson. Chironomid evidence of glacial retreat and corresponding changes in surface water temperatures during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition from an alpine lake in Colorado, USA. (In Prep)

2017          Porinchu, D.F., Haskett, D.R. and Reinemann, S.A., 2017. Biostratigraphic evidence of human modification of high elevation aquatic ecosystems in the Intermountain West of the United States. Anthropocene, 20, pp.37-47.

2014          Haskett, D.R and D.F. Porinchu. A quantitative midge-based reconstruction of thermal conditions in central Colorado during marine isotope stage 5. Quaternary Research 82 (3), pg 580-591

Dr. Haskett Jennings’ Curriculum Vitae