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Dr. Pete Akers
Assistant Professor, Geography


I am an Assistant Professor of Physical Geography, focusing on environmental change, and I joined the Geography department of Trinity College Dublin in May 2022.

Originally from the farmlands of Indiana in the American Midwest, I earned my BS in Plant Biology from Purdue University (USA) before receiving my MS and PhD in Geography at the University of Georgia (USA). I taught for two years as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Science at the University of Iowa (USA) before embarking on a summer postdoctoral research project at Thule Air Base in northwest Greenland in 2018. I then spent 3.5 years studying nitrate in Antarctic snow and ice as a postdoctoral researcher and Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow at the Institut des Géosciences de l'Environnement (IGE-CNRS) in Grenoble, France. As part of my fellowship, I was a member of the East Antarctic International Ice Sheet Traverse (EAIIST) that joined researchers from France, Italy, and Australia for a research caravan that traveled over 3000 km across the East Antarctic ice sheet.

My research interests lie in using stable isotopes of water, nitrate, and carbonate to monitor modern environmental change and reconstruct past changes. I am especially interested in how past ecosystems and societies responded to severe changes in climate and landscape in order to better understand resiliency and system reorganization. This holds the common theme to my diverse past research that includes revealing Terminal Classic Maya reactions to drought in Belize, identifying abrupt climate change and deglaciations in the American Midwest, and my more recent polar work tracking water cycle changes in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Akers, Pete D., Savarino, Joël, Caillon, Nicolas, Magand, Olivier, Le Meur, Emmanuel, Photolytic modification of seasonal nitrate isotope cycles in East Antarctica, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 22, (24), 2022, p15637-15657 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Pete D. Akers, Joël Savarino, Nicolas Caillon, Aymeric P. M. Servettaz, Emmanuel Le Meur, Olivier Magand, Jean Martins, et. al, Sunlight-driven nitrate loss records Antarctic surface mass balance, Nature Communications, 13, (1), 2022 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Hannah Bailey, Alun Hubbard, Eric S. Klein, Kaisa-Riikka Mustonen, Pete D. Akers, Hannu Marttila, Jeffrey M. Welker, Arctic sea-ice loss fuels extreme European snowfall, Nature Geoscience, 14, (5), 2021, p283--288 Journal Article, 2021 DOI

Pete D. Akers, Ben G. Kopec, Kyle S. Mattingly, Eric S. Klein, Douglas Causey, Jeffrey M. Welker, Baffin Bay sea ice extent and synoptic moisture transport drive water vapor isotope (δ18O, δ2H, and deuterium excess) variability in coastal northwest Greenland, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 20, (22), 2020, p13929--13955 Journal Article, 2020 DOI

Pete D Akers, George A Brook, L Bruce Railsback, Alex Cherkinksy, Fuyuan Liang, Claire E Ebert, Julie A Hoggarth, Jaime J Awe, Hai Cheng, R Lawrence Edwards, Integrating U-Th, 14C, and 210Pb methods to produce a chronologically reliable isotope record for the Belize River Valley Maya from a low-uranium stalagmite, The Holocene, 29, (7), 2019, p1234--1248 Journal Article, 2019 DOI

Pete D. Akers, Jeffrey M. Welker, George A. Brook, Reassessing the role of temperature in precipitation oxygen isotopes across the eastern and central U nited S tates through weekly precipitation"day data, Water Resources Research, 53, (9), 2017, p7644--7661 Journal Article, 2017 DOI

Pete D. Akers, George A. Brook, L. Bruce Railsback, Fuyuan Liang, Gyles Iannone, James W. Webster, Philip P. Reeder, Hai Cheng, R. Lawrence Edwards, An extended and higher-resolution record of climate and land use from stalagmite MC01 from Macal Chasm, Belize, revealing connections between major dry events, overall climate variability, and Maya sociopolitical changes, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 459, 2016, p268--288 Journal Article, 2016 DOI

L. Bruce Railsback, Honglin Xiao, Fuyuan Liang, Pete D. Akers, George A. Brook, William M. Dennis, Thomas E. Lanier, Ming Tan, Hai Cheng, R. Lawrence Edwards, A stalagmite record of abrupt climate change and possible Westerlies-derived atmospheric precipitation during the Penultimate Glacial Maximum in northern China, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 393, 2014, p30--44 Journal Article, 2014 DOI

L. Bruce Railsback, Pete Akers, Lixin Wang, Genevieve Holdridge, Ny Riavo Voarintsoa, Layer-bounding surfaces in stalagmites as keys to better paleoclimatological histories and chronologies, International Journal of Speleology, 42, (3), 2013, p167--180 Journal Article, 2013 DOI

Andrew J. Grundstein, Craig Ramseyer, Fang Zhao, Jordan L. Pesses, Pete Akers, Aneela Qureshi, Laura Becker, John A. Knox, Myron Petro, A retrospective analysis of American football hyperthermia deaths in the United States, International Journal of Biometeorology, 56, (1), 2010, p11--20 Journal Article, 2010 DOI

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Pete D. Akers, pete-d-akers/chictaba-nitrate: CHICTABA transect, Antarctica, snow nitrate analysis (v1.1), Zenodo, 2022 Dataset, 2022 DOI

Akers, Pete D; Savarino, Joël; Caillon, Nicolas; Magand, Olivier; Le Meur, Emmanuel, Nitrate isotopic data from snow collected along the CHICTABA traverse, East Antarctica, 2013-2014, PANGAEA, 2022 Dataset, 2022 DOI

Pete D. Akers, pete-d-akers/scadi-d15N-SMB: SCADI Nitrate and Surface Mass Balance Analysis, 1.1, Zenodo, 2022 Dataset, 2022 DOI

Research Expertise


BIOGEOGRAPHY; Botany; CLIMATE; CLIMATE CHANGE; Cryosphere; environmental anthropology; environmental archaeology; Environmental Change; Environmental Chemistry; Environmental Conservation; Environmental Restoration/Remediation; GEOGRAPHY; GEOMORPHOLOGY; ICE CORE; KARST; NITRATE; PALEOCLIMATE; PALEOECOLOGY; Physical Geography; Quaternary geology/ geomorphology; STABLE ISOTOPE ANALYSIS; Synoptic weather


Awards and Honours

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, European Commission 2021-2022

Doctoral Dissertation Grant, National Science Foundation 2014-2016

Environmental Science Teaching Excellence, University of Iowa 2016


European Geophysical Union 2020 – present

Irish Quaternary Association (IQUA) 2022 – present

Carottes de Glace France 2019 – 2022

Ice Core Young Scientists (ICYS) 2021 – 2022

American Geophysical Union 2015 – 2021