During the summer of 2014, Natasha contributed to an on-going plant phenology study with colleagues at the University of Arizona through a National Science Foundation sponsored Research for Undergraduate Students (REU) program. This international meeting was a great opportunity for her to present the results of her study, Dynamic Pulse-Driven Flowering Phenology in a Semiarid Shrubland, and make new contacts in this discipline.

Natasha Krell, ’16 presenting her poster at the international AGU meeting in San Francisco, December 2014.Natasha Krell, ’16 presenting her poster at the international AGU meeting in San Francisco, December 2014.

Natasha is a recent transfer from Smith College in Northampton, MA, where she majored in environmental geosciences. She says that she has “many interests that lie at the intersection of plant ecology, hydrology, and geology, such as vegetation phenology and resilience in terrestrial ecosystems and the ecohydrology of water-limited environments.”

This summer, Natasha conducted research on flowering phenology of Larrea tridentata (creosote bush) in a semiarid shrubland at the Santa Rita Experimental Range, Sahuarita, AZ, under the supervision of Dr. Shirley Papuga at the University of Arizona. In Maine, she is working on a number of projects including collaborating with citizen scientists on Deer Isle to track phenological changes of plants found on both serpentinite and granite outcrops. Natasha has also received a Maine Space Consortium grant to conduct a related greenhouse study to look at ecotypic differentiation of two select species, Achillea millefolium and Hypericum perforatum.

Dr. Hall with COA alumnus Frank Niepold III ’94 who is the Climate Education Coordinator at NOAA's Climate Program Office in Silver Spring, MarylandDr. Hall with COA alumnus Frank Niepold III ’94 who is the Climate Education Coordinator at NOAA's Climate Program Office in Silver Spring, MarylandSarah Hall presented a collaborative curriculum-development project that she worked on with three other COA faculty members, John Anderson, Nishi Rajakaruna ’91, and Don Cass: Watershed Landscape Ecology: Interdisciplinary and field-based learning in the Northeast Creek Watershed of Mount Desert Island, ME. The new Watershed Landscape Ecology program, funded by the Davis Educational Foundation, enabled five new classes to be developed and taught by these faculty members.


All of these new classes involved field work at some of the college owned properties including the Cox Protectorate and Peggy Rockefeller Farm, as well as the alumnus Jay McNally’s Four Foot Farm. COA alumnus, Frank Niepold III ’94 (NOAA), also attending the conference, was very excited to see COA represented at this major international conference.


Dr. Sarah Hall joined the faculty of COA in the Fall of 2012 and teaches courses in the Earth Sciences. She has recently been appointed as the inaugural Anne T. and Robert M. Bass chair of Earth Systems and Geosciences. Before coming to COA, Sarah was an Assistant Professor at McGill University in Montreal following her graduate work at the University of California, Santa Cruz and undergraduate degree at Hamilton College. She grew up in upstate NY and after college spent a few years in Atlanta, GA working as a Geologist at an environmental consulting firm and as an ECOWATCH AmeriCorps team member. Sarah is trained as a geomorphologist studying the processes shaping the surface of the earth. However, her research interests are quite broad including mountain building processes, past glaciations, active faulting, and the erosion of landscapes. One of Sarah’s current research projects involves completing a chronology of past glaciations in a portion of the Peruvian Andes.