Dr. Pete Akers

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

  • 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--288Journal 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--44Journal 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--180Journal 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--20Journal Article, 2010, 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--288Journal 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--13955Journal 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--1248Journal 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--7661Journal Article, 2017, 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), 2022Journal Article, 2022, DOI
  • 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, p15637-15657Journal Article, 2022, DOI
  • Lamothe, Alexis, Savarino, Joel, Ginot, Patrick, Soussaintjean, Lison, Gautier, Elsa, Akers, Pete D., Caillon, Nicolas, Erbland, Joseph, An extraction method for nitrogen isotope measurement of ammonium in a low-concentration environment, Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 16, (17), 2023, p4015-4030Journal Article, 2023, DOI
  • Pete D. Akers, pete-d-akers/chictaba-nitrate: CHICTABA transect, Antarctica, snow nitrate analysis (v1.1), Zenodo, 2022Dataset, 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, 2022Dataset, DOI
  • Pete D. Akers, pete-d-akers/scadi-d15N-SMB: SCADI nitrate and surface mass balance analysis, 1.1, Zenodo, 2022Dataset, DOI

Research Expertise

Ecology and Marine Biology, Biodiversity, Environmental Sciences including Marine, History and Archaeology, Water Quality and the Aquatic Environment, Climate Research including Marine Climate Change & Oceanography, Soils and Land Use, Physical Geography and geosciences,


  • Environmental Science Teaching Excellence, University of Iowa 2016
  • Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, European Commission 2021-2022
  • Doctoral Dissertation Grant, National Science Foundation 2014-2016
  • Carottes de Glace France 2022
  • Ice Core Young Scientists (ICYS) 2022
  • Irish Quaternary Association (IQUA) present
  • European Geophysical Union present
  • American Geophysical Union 2021