Kathleen Weathers studies ecosystem processes within and among aquatic, airborne, and terrestrial systems.
She was co-Chair of the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) for 10 years, guiding GLEON from its infancy to adulthood. GLEON is a world-wide grassroots collaboration of 800 research partners studying 150 lakes in 53 countries. Their aim: understand, predict, and communicate lakes’ response to environmental change using data from lake-based sensors. This work encompasses impacts from human activities such as road salting, agriculture, and climate change.
Weathers and her colleagues have created a new model for collaborative research that explicitly empowers early career scientists.
Weathers is an expert on fog, which carries nutrients, pollutants, and sometimes disease-causing pathogens. She studies links between ocean, air, and fog-dominated forests and recently, how fog may affect transfer of pathogens from water to land.
Ponette-Gonzalez, Weathers, students, and colleagues are studying the effects of mineral dust and black carbon – both of which impact ecosystems and human health. Mineral dust can deliver toxic pollutants to ecosystems and is a growing concern as climate change exacerbates drought.
Black carbon, created by burning fossil fuels, is known to cause lung and heart disease; this collaborative team is studying the role of vegetation in managing black carbon in urban areas.