Kathleen Wendt, PhD

I use cave formations and polar ice cores to study Earth's climate history. My current research looks at past periods when atmospheric CO2 concentrations changed abruptly. To do this, I extract ancient atmosphere from tiny bubbles frozen in an ice core from the West Antarctica. In my past work, I used cave deposits to study how regional rainfall patterns have changed during ice ages. Over the years I've also developed an expertise in high precision uranium-series dating. See Projects for more information on my past and current research projects.

I particularly love science communication. I often participate in public talks and science documentaries, such as our latest collaboration with HHMI's BioInteractive film The Science of Climate Change or the MacGillivray Freeman IMAX film Ancient Caves. Got questions? Interested in collaborating? Click the Email link to reach out.

UIBK Webpage / LinkedIn  /  Email


2021-2023    NSF Postdoctoral Researcher

                           Oregon State University
                           Research focus: investigate rapid carbon cycle dynamics during
                           the last glacial period using high-resolution CO2 measurements
                           from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide ice core.

2019-2020   FWF Postdoctoral Researcher

                           University of Innsbruck
                           Research focus: develop new techniques in 234U disequilibrium
                           dating using carbonate deposits from Nevada. See Projects for
                           further information and publications.  


2015-2018    Ph.D. University of Innsbruck                            
                           Earth Sciences (focus: paleoclimate) 

2013-2015    M.S. University of Minnesota                            
                          Earth Sciences (focus: isotope geochemistry) 

2008-2013   B.S. University of Minnesota                            
                          Environmental Sciences                              
                          summa cum laude honors


Wendt, K.A., Li, X., Edwards, R.L., Cheng, H., Spötl, C. (2021) Precise timing of MIS 7 sub-stages from the Austrian Alps, Climate of the Past  Link

Wendt, K.A., Li, X., Edwards, R.L. (2021) U-Th dating of speleothems: principles, measurement uncertainty, and recent applications, Elements Link

Li, X., Wendt, K. A., Dublyansky, Y., Moseley, G. E., Spötl, C., and Edwards, R. L. (2021) Novel method for determining 234U-238U ages from Devils Hole 2 cave calcite, Geochronology Link

Stewart, B. D., Sorensen,  J. V., Wendt, K. A., Sylvan, J. B., German, C. R., Anantharaman, K., Dick, G. J., Breier, J. A., and Toner, B. M. (2021)  A multi-modal approach to measuring particulate iron speciation in buoyant hydrothermal plumes, Chemical Geology, 550 (120018) Link

Wendt, K.A., Pythoud, M., Dublyansky, Y., Moseley, G.E., Edwards, R.L., Spötl, C. (2020) Paleohydrology of southwest Nevada based on groundwater 234U/238U over the last 450ka. GSA Bulletin, 132 (3-4) 793–802 Link

Wendt, K.A., Häuselmann, A.D., Fleitmann, D., Berry, A.E., Wang, X., Auler, A.S., Cheng, H., Edwards, R. L. (2019) Three-Phased Heinrich Stadial 4 recorded in NE Brazil Stalagmites. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 510, 94-102 Link

Wendt, K.A., Dublyansky, Y., Moseley, G.E., Cheng. H., Edwards, R.L., Spötl, C. (2018)  Moisture availability in the SW United States over the last three glacial-interglacial cycles. Science Advances, 4 (10) eaau1375 Link

Moseley, G.E., Edwards, R.L., Wendt, K.A., Cheng, H., Dublyansky, Y., Lu, Y., Boch, R., Spötl, C. (2016): Reconciliation of the Devils Hole climate record with orbital forcing. Science  351, 165-168 Link

Anantharaman, K., Duhaime, M., Breier, J., Wendt, K., Toner, B., Dick, G. (2014): Sulfur oxidation genes in diverse deep-sea viruses. Science  344, 757-760 Link 




2016               Seminar Leader
                         University of Innsbruck              
                          Seminar Title: Principles and Application of Stable Isotopes

2015                Teaching Assistant
                          University of Innsbruck     
                          Course Title: English for Earth Sciences

2013-2014    Teaching Assistant
                           University of Minnesota 
                           Course Title: Geochemistry

 Service and Outreach

Co-organizer of KROnline and KR9 conferences (2021 & 2022)

Co-producer and writer of the short documentary Devils Hole Cave  (2018)

Digital outreach coordinator for the UIBK Climate Research Center(2016-2017)

Co-organizer of the UMN’s Quaternary Paleoecology seminar (2014-2015)

Volunteer at the Science Museum of Minnesota (2012-2015)


© Copyright Kathleen Wendt