Melisa Diaz
Assistant Professor of Geography • Fellow of INSTAAR • Geochemistry and biogeochemistry of the cryosphere and urban environment • PhD, Earth Science, The Ohio State University, 2020
Physical Geography

Research Interests 

My research interests are centered around the applications of geochemical techniques towards understanding physical systems and how biology and society interact with them. My primary research focus is the cryosphere, mainly the Antarctic (Transantarctic Mountains and McMurdo Dry Valleys) and the Arctic (Greenland), where I study the transport, cycling, and alteration of salts, nutrients, and atmospherically derived constituents. The goal is to understand the current and legacy effects of local and global change on resource-limited systems. I also study the intersection of urban geochemistry with environmental justice, social equity, and knowledge co-production. Much of my research involves both fieldwork and analytical lab work, though includes some statistical and geochemical modeling.

Recent Courses Taught

  • Fall 2023  GEOG 1011  Environmental Systems: Landscapes and Water
  • Fall 2023  GEOG 2001  Topics in Physical Geography: Deserts Hot and Cold, Near and Far
  • Spring 2023  GEOG 1011  Environmental Systems: Landscapes and Water
  • Fall 2022  GEOG 4271/5271  The Arctic Climate System

Recent Publications 

Dragone, N.B., Henley, J.B., Holland-Moritz, H., Diaz, M.A., Hogg, I., Lyons, W.B., Wall, D.H., Adams, B.J., Fierer, N. (2022). Elevational constraints on the composition and genomic attributes of microbial communities in Antarctic soils. mSystems 7(1): e01330-21.

Franco, A.L.C., Adams, B.J., Diaz, M.A., Lemoine, N.P., Dragone, N.B., Fierer, N., Lyons, W.B., Hogg, I.D., Wall, D.H. (2021). Response of Antarctic soil fauna to climate-driven changes since the Last Glacial Maximum. Global Change Biology 28: 644-653.

Lyons, W.B., Carey, A.E., Gardner, C.B., Welch, S.A., Smith, D.F., Szynkiewicz, A., Diaz, M.A., Croot, P., Henry, T., Flynn, R. (2021). The Geochemistry of Irish Rivers. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies 37: 100881.

Diaz, M.A., Corbett, L.B., Bierman, P.R., Adams, B.J., Hogg, I., Fierer, N., Wall, D.H., Lyons, W.B. (2021) Relationship between meteoric 10Be and NO3− concentrations in soils along Shackleton Glacier, Antarctica. Earth Surface Dynamics 9(5): 1363-1380.

Fortner, S.K., Suffoletta, M.K., Vogt, L.K., Brown, A., Diaz, M.A. (2021). An Iterative Course-Based Soil Lead Research and Partnering Model to Address Systemic Racism and the Enduring Legacy of Redlining. Environmental Justice 00: 00.

Dragone, N.B., Diaz, M.A., Hogg, I., Lyons, W.B., Jackson, W.A., Wall, D.H., Adams, B.J., Fierer, N. (2021). Exploring the boundaries of microbial habitability in soil. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 126(5): e2020JG006052. Preprint:

Diaz, M.A., Jackson, W.A., Adams, B.J., Wall, D.H., Hogg, I.D., Fierer, N., Welch, S.A., Gardner, C.B., Lyons, W.B. (2021). Geochemical zones and environmental gradients for soils from the Central Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica. Biogeosciences 18: 1629-1644.

Updated March 2022