Thomas L. O'Halloran On research leave 2015-16
Assistant Professor of Environmental Science
Dr. Tom O’Halloran joined the faculty at Sweet Briar in the fall of 2011, after conducting three years of postdoctoral research at Oregon State University. He received his Ph.D. in environmental sciences in 2008 from the University of Virginia, where he also earned his B.A. and M.S. degrees. As an environmental scientist specializing in atmospheric science, O’Halloran is interested in many of the physical and chemical processes comprising surface-atmosphere interactions, and particularly those involving forests. This includes water vapor, carbon dioxide and energy exchange, as well as the formation of biogenic aerosols from plant hydrocarbon emissions and their interactions with clouds. These research interests fall under the disciplines of environmental science, atmospheric science and more specifically, micrometeorology, boundary layer meteorology, aerosol science and cloud physics. O’Halloran’s doctoral work in Virginia examined the role of the Blue Ridge Haze in the production of aerosols above forests and their interaction with cloud properties and climate. His postdoctoral work focused on understanding the impacts of forest disturbances, such as fire, insect outbreaks and hurricanes, to the Earth’s energy balance and carbon cycle. This research helps us understand how the Earth exchanges mass and energy across the biosphere-atmosphere interface in the processes of regulating climate.
Dr. O'Halloran is the founder of the Sweet Briar College Land-Atmosphere Research Station (SBC-LARS). You can learn more about his teaching and research interests by visiting his website here.
Lydia R. O'Halloran
Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Science 2015-16
Dr. Lydia O’Halloran received her Ph.D. and M.S. in environmental sciences from UVa, and her B.A. in biology from Oberlin College. Dr. O'Halloran conducted postdoctoral research at UC Santa Barbara and Oregon State University, and taught as an instructor in integrative biology at Oregon State University.
In her Ph.D., Dr. O'Halloran studied nutrient and light limitations in the savannas of southern Africa, and in her postdoctoral research she expanded her focus to grassland ecosystems worldwide.
Dr. O'Halloran is looking forward to using Sweet Briar's switchgrass fields in her teaching. She will be teaching Plant Kingdom and the environmental Advanced Lab in the fall, and Introduction to Environmental Issues, Global Biodiversity Conservation, and Evaluation of Environmental Issues in the spring.
Melanie B. Stine
Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Science 2015-16
Dr. Stine received her B.S. in environmental science from Sweet Briar in 2006. She received an M.S. in geography from Virginia Tech, and a Ph.D. in environmental geography from Texas State University. Dr. Stine is taking a leave of absence from the Department of Political Science and Geography at the University of Texas at San Antonio to come back to Sweet Briar.
Dr. Stine's research interests are the geomorphic effects of fire, biogeography and mountain geography. After conducting research in alpine zones in Glacier National Park, she shifted to mountain peatlands of West Virginia. She hopes to take Sweet Briar students to her field sites this year.