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NCKRI Staff

Learn more about the dedicated staff members of the Institute, their backgrounds and responsibilities.

Dr. George Veni

NCKRI Executive Director (since 2007)
National Cave and Karst Research Institute
400-1 Cascades Avenue, Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220-6215 USA
Office: (575) 887-5517 Fax: (575) 887-5523
gveni@nckri.org


Education:

Ph.D., Geology, The Pennsylvania State University, 1994 
Master of Science, Geography, Western Kentucky University, 1985 
Bachelor of Science, Geology, The University of Texas at San Antonio, 1982

Dr. Veni is an internationally recognized hydrogeologist specializing in caves and karst terrains. Prior to NCKRI, he owned and served as principal investigator of George Veni and Associates for more than 20 years. Much of his work has been in Texas, but he has also conducted extensive karst research throughout the United States and in several other countries. He served as the Executive Secretary of the National Speleological Society’s Section of Cave Geology and Geography for 11 years and President of the Texas Speleological Survey for 13 years. He was the Chairman of the 15th International Congress of Speleology, a member of the governing board of the International Union of Speleology from 2002-2009, and the Union’s Vice President of Administration from 2009 to the present. He has served as a doctoral committee advisor for geological, geographical, and biological dissertations for multiple universities and taught karst geoscience courses as an adjunct professor for Western Kentucky University for 12 years. Three cave-dwelling species have been named in his honor. He has published and presented over 200 papers, including four books, on hydrogeology, biology, and environmental management in karst terrains.

Recent Papers and Publications: 

Veni, George, and Dale Pate. 2014. National parks: a refuge for hidden cave and karst resources. Dynamiques Environnmentales (in press).

Veni, George. 2013. A framework for assessing the role of karst conduit morphology, hydrology, and evolution in the transport and storage of carbon and associated sediments. Acta Carsologica, 42(2-3): 203-211.

Veni, George. 2013. Impact of climate change on human and ecological use of karst groundwater resources: a case study from the southwestern USA. NCKRI Symposium 3: Proceedings of the 20th National Cave and Karst Management Symposium, Lewis Land and Mark Joop, eds. National Cave and Karst Research Institute, Carlsbad, New Mexico, pp. 51-59.

Golubovic Deligianni,Miljana, George Veni, and Katherina Theodorakopoulou. 2013. The relationship of karst landforms and land use, Ksiromero Region, western Greece. 16th International Congress of Speleology Proceedings, Michal Filippi and Pavel Bosák (eds.), Brno, Czech Republic, pp. 291-295.

Land, Lewis, and George Veni. 2013. Solving karst flooding in Las Cruces, Petén, Guatemala. 16th International Congress of Speleology Proceedings, Michal Filippi and Pavel Bosák (eds.), Brno, Czech Republic, pp. 252-255.

Veni, George. 2013. Government Canyon State Natural Area: an emerging model for karst management. NCKRI Symposium 2: 13th Multidisciplinary Conference on Sinkholes and the Engineering and Environmental Impacts on Karst, Lewis Land, Daniel H. Doctor, and J. Brad Stephenson, eds. National Cave and Karst Research Institute, Carlsbad, New Mexico, pp. 433-440.

 

Land, Lewis, and George Veni. 2012. Electrical resistivity surveys of anthropogenic karst phenomenon, southeastern New Mexico. New Mexico Geology, 34(4): 117-125.

 

Land, Lewis, and George Veni. 2012. Electrical resistivity survey of Intrepid Potash injection well site: Eddy County, New Mexico. Report of Investigation 3, National Cave and Karst Research Institute, 9 pp.

 

Johnson, Steve, Geary Schindel, George Veni, Nico Hauwert, Brian Hunt, Brian Smith, and Marcus Gary. 2012. Tracing groundwater flowpaths in the vicinity of San Marcos Springs, Texas. Report No. 12-01, Edwards Aquifer Authority, 147 pp.

 

Veni, George. 2012. Zuhuy ha: the role of water, caves, and karst in Maya culture. Invited speaker, Congreso Internacional de Espeleogía sobre Cuevas y Cenotes Mayas, Playa del Carmen, Mexico.


Recent Awards and Recognitions:

Acceptance in the Explorer's Club, November 2012.

Honorary Board Director, Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, June 2010.

Inclusion in the Texas Legacy Project, an interview archive of the Conservation History Association of Texas with “people who have shaped and continue to influence the protection of Texas natural resources.” February 2006.

Certificate of Appreciation from Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, for work on Proposition 3 Scientific Evaluation Team, identifying preferred areas for acquisition for protection of the Edwards Aquifer through $45 million bond, January 2003.

Outstanding Book in Speleology Award for co-editing Living with Karst: A Fragile Foundation; International Union of Speleology, 2001.

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Dr. Penelope Boston

NCKRI Academic Director (since 2002)
Director of the Cave and Karst Studies, New Mexico Tech (since 2002)
Professor, Cave & Karst Science Earth and Environmental Sciences Department
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (New Mexico Tech)
801 Leroy Place Socorro, New Mexico 87801 USA
Office: (575) 835-5657 Fax: (575) 835-6436
pboston@nmt.edu


Education:

Post-doctoral Fellowship – National Research Council, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA. 1986-1988.
PhD - Microbiology and Atmospheric Chemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO & NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) Advanced Studies Graduate Fellowship, Boulder, CO. 1985.
MS - Microbiology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO. 1981.
BS - Microbiology, geology, and psychology. University of Colorado, Boulder, CO. 1979.

Dr. Boston teaches cave and karst science, geomicrobiology, astrobiology, and global systems, and supervises a suite of graduate students working on various aspects of cave and karst science. Several of her research projects and students are funded by NCKRI. She founded and operated her own non-profit research institution, Complex Systems Research, Inc., for 14 years before joining NCKRI. She serves and has served as officer, advisor, and fellow of several national science organizations and journals. Her research ranges across cave, mine, and selected surface environments, focusing on geomicrobiology of the subsurface and other extreme environments. She applies her work in Earth extreme environments to astrobiological issues and the future search for microbial life on other planets, pioneering the idea that studying caves on other planets is a worthy objective of future missions. Dr. Boston is also working on mathematical modeling projects looking at micrometerological conditions in caves and the production of microbial distribution patterns in caves. She has authored over 130 scientific and popular papers, edited four volumes, and gives literally dozens of public presentations each year. Her work has appeared for many years in numerous national and international television, radio, and print media venues and documentaries.

Recent Papers and Publications:

Boston, P.J. 2010. Location, Location, Location! Lava caves on Mars for habitat, resources, and science. J. Cosmology 12:3957.

Northup, D.E., Snider, J.R., Spilde, M.N., Porter, M.L. van de Kamp, J.L., Boston, P.J., and Nyberg, A.M. 2010. Diversity of rock varnish bacterial communities from Black Canyon, New Mexico. J. Geophys. Res. – Biogeosci. 115:G02007.

Kuhlman, K.R., Behar, A.E., Jones, J., Boston, P.J., Antol, J., Hajos, G., Kelliher, W., Coleman, M., Crawford, R., Rothschild, L., Buehler, M., Bearman, G., and Wilson, D. 2010. Tumbleweed: A new paradigm for surveying Mars for in-situ resources. Earth and Space 2010.

Boston, P., Todd, P., Van de Camp, J., Northup, D., and Spilde, M. 2009. Mars simulation challenge experiments: Microorganisms from natural rock and cave communities. Grav. Space Biol. 22(2):39-43.

Melim, L.A., Liesheidt, R., Northup, D.E., Spilde, M.N., Boston, P. and Queen, J.M. 2009. A biosignature suite from cave pool precipitates, Cottonwood Cave, New Mexico. Astrobiology, 9(9):907-917.

Curry, M., Boston, P.J., Spilde, M.N., Baichtal, J., and Campbell, A. 2009. Cottonballs: A unique subaqueous moonmilk, and abundant subaerial moonmilk in Cataract Cave, Tongass National Forest, Alaska. International Journal of Speleology 38(2):111-128.

Snider, J.R., Goin, C., Miller, R.V., Boston, P.J. and Northup, D.E. 2009. Ultraviolet radiation sensitivity in cave bacteria: Evidence of adaptation to the subsurface? Int. J. Speleology 38(1):1-12.

Boston, P.J., Curnutt, J., Gomez, E., Schubert, K., Strader, B. 2009. Patterned growth in extreme environments. In, Proceedings of the Third IEEE International Conference on Space Mission Challenges for Information Technology, pages 221-226, EES Press.

Boston, P.J., Summers-Engel, A., Barton, H.A., Northup, D.E., Curry, M.C., and Spilde, M.N. 2009. Geomicrobiology of Caves. In, A. N. and M.V. Palmer, eds., Caves and Karst of the USA. Nat. Speleo. Soc. Press, Huntsville, AL. pp. 403-410.

Melim, L.A., Northup, D.E., Spilde, M.N., Jones, B., Boston, P.J., and Bixby, R.J., 2008. Reticulated filaments in cave pool speleothems: Microbe or mineral? Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, v. 70, p. 135-141.

Recent Awards and Recognitions:

NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts External Council, Mar 2011-Present
NSS (National Speleological Society) – Science Award, Aug. 2010
NASA Advisory Council, Planetary Protection Subcommittee - 2008- Present
AME (Association of Mars Explorers) – President, 2006-2008
NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts Fellow (NIAC) – Bestowed, May, 2000

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Dianne Joop

NCKRI Education Director (since 2009)
National Cave and Karst Research Institute
400-1 Cascades Avenue, Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220-6215 USA
Office: (575) 887-3640 Fax: (575) 887-5523
djoop@nckri.org


Education:

Bachelor of Arts, Theatre, University of Kentucky, 1993
Master of Arts, Science and History Education, Union College, 2006  

Ms. Joop is an experienced educator in formal and informal techniques, with her focus on caves, karst, science, and math. Before transitioning into education, she spent nearly a decade in theatrical and television production experience with Kentucky Educational Television, the state of Florida, Discovery Channel, among others. In 2001, Ms. Joop stepped on a submerged can in an underground stream and took a nasty fall, and declared at that moment to make a difference in the world’s understanding of caves as important and vulnerable resources. She began teaching in a private school while working on her M.A. in science and history education at Union College. She joined the National Speleological Society (NSS) and began assisting with and developing cave education programs. In 2006, Ms. Joop held an internship with the National Association of Geoscience Teachers pilot Geoscience Teacher in the Park program at Mammoth Cave National Park. In her spare time, while teaching science, math and theater full time for public and private schools, she assisted with cave and karst education programs and workshops with Union College Outdoors, the American Cave Conservation Association, and Western Kentucky University.

 

Recent Papers and Publications:

Land, Lewis, George Veni, and Dianne Joop. 2013. Evaluation of Cave and Karst Programs and Issues at US National Parks. National Cave and Karst Research Institute Report of Investigation 4, Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Joop, Dianne, Mark Joop, and Michael Hernandez. 2013. iCaverns: Interpretation, there's and app for that! NCKRI Symposium 3: Proceedings of the 20th National Cave and Karst Management Symposium, Lewis Land and Mark Joop, eds. National Cave and Karst Research Institute, Carlsbad, New Mexico, pp. 101-104.

Joop, Dianne and Michael Hernandez. 2013. iCaverns: Promoting cave and karst understanding and stewardship via smart device applications.16th International Congress of Speleology Proceedings, Michal Filippi and Pavel Bosák (eds.), Brno, Czech Republic, pp. 241-243.

 

Recent Awards and Recognitions:

Excellence in Teaching, Campbellsville University, 2006

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Suzanna Langowski

NCKRI Advancement Director (since 2012)
National Cave and Karst Research Institute
400-1 Cascades Avenue, Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220-6215 USA
Office: (575) 628-2702 Fax: (575) 887-5523
slangowski@nckri.org


Education:

Bachelor of Science, Anthropology, University of New Mexico, 1988
Master of Arts, Anthropolgy, University of Illinois, 1993  

Ms. Langowski began her professional career as an archaeologist studying human adaptations during the Pleistocene in Europe. Her PhD research took her to Ukraine, where she spent two years on excavation projects in Crimean caves with the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Prior to joining NCKRI, Ms. Langowski served as a principal investigator at the US Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratory as a Cultural Resources Program Manager at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Her successful record of obtaining funding for research, preservation, and collections management activities in an environment increasing competition for limited funds is testimony to her dedication to ensuring that precious natural and cultural resources are protected, understood, and enjoyed. Ms. Langowski has held chair and board positions for several organizations, including the Military Family Member Scholarship Fund and the Community Assistance Program of the Fort Leavenworth Spouses' Club. She is also a member of national level organizations such as the Association of Fundraising Professionals /New Mexico Chapter and the National Speleological Society.

Recent Awards and Recognitions:

Department of the Army's Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, Decebmer 2012.

Commander’s Award for Public Service, Fort Campbell, 2011

Keeper of the Flame, Ordnance Corps Association, 2011

Commander’s Award for Public Service, Fort Leavenworth, 2009

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Dr. Lewis Land

NCKRI Karst Hydrogeologist (since 2002)
NCKRI Liaison with the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (2002)
National Cave and Karst Research Institute
400-1 Cascades Avenue, Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220-6215 USA
Office: (575) 887-5508 Fax: (575) 887-5523
lland@nckri.org


Education:

Ph.D., Geology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1999
Master of Science, Geology, University of Oklahoma, 1993
Bachelor of Science, Geology, University of Oklahoma, 1981  

Dr. Land focuses his research on regional investigations of karstic aquifers and associated phenomena in southern New Mexico. He is NCKRI’s lead geophysical investigator. Prior to his career as a hydrogeologist, he spent eight years in the petroleum industry exploring for new oil reserves in the Mid-Continent and Rocky Mountain regions of the U.S., and offshore West Africa. His doctoral research included submersible investigations of submarine sinkholes in the Straits of Florida. Before coming to work for NCKRI and NMBGMR in 2002, Dr. Land spent two years with the North Carolina Division of Water Resources conducting geophysical surveys of aquifers beneath the coastal plain of North Carolina. He has served on several graduate student committees at New Mexico Tech, and is an adjunct faculty member in the NMT Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. He is a Past-President of the New Mexico Geological Society (NMGS), and served for five years on the NMGS Executive Committee.  

Recent Papers and Publications:

Land, L. & Huff, G. F., 2010, Multi-tracer investigation of groundwater residence time in a karstic aquifer: Bitter Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico, USA: Hydrogeology Journal, v. 18, p. 455-472.

Land, L., 2009, Anthropogenic sinkholes in the Delaware Basin Region: West Texas and southeastern New Mexico: West Texas Geological Society Bulletin, v. 48, p. 10-22.

Land, L., 2009, The impact of hypogenic processes on water resources in the arid southwest: Examples from the lower Pecos region of New Mexico,USA, in Stafford, K. W., Land, L. & Veni, G. (eds.), Advances in Hypogene Karst Studies, National Cave & Karst Research Institute Symposium no.1, p. 149-156.

Stafford, K. W., Land, L. & Veni, G. (eds.), 2009, Advances in Hypogene Karst Studies, National Cave & Karst Research Institute Symposium no.1, Carlsbad, National Cave & Karst Research Institute, 182 p.

Land, L. & Burger, P., 2008, Rapid recharge events in a karstic aquifer: An example from Lake of the White Roses, Lechuguilla Cave, NM, in Yuhr, L., Alexander, Jr., E. C. & Beck, B., eds., Proceedings of the Eleventh Multidisciplinary Conference on Sinkholes and the Engineering and Environmental Impacts of Karst, Tallahassee, Florida: ASCE Geotechnical Special Publication no. 183, p. 396-403.

Stafford, K., Land, L., & Klimchouk, A., 2008, Hypogenic speleogenesis within Seven Rivers evaporites: Coffee Cave, Eddy County, New Mexico: Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, v. 70, p. 47-61.

Land, L. & Newton, B. T., 2008, Seasonal and long-term variations in hydraulic head in a karstic aquifer: Roswell Artesian Basin, New Mexico: Journal of the American Water Resources Association, v. 44, p. 175-191.

Land, L., Lueth, V., Raatz, B., Boston, P., & Love, D. (eds.), 2006, Caves and Karst of Southeastern New Mexico: New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook 57, 344 p.

Davis, D. & Land, L., 2006, Recently discovered passages in Fort Stanton Cave, New Mexico, and implications for speleogenesis and regional geomorphic processes in the northern Sacramento Mountains, in Land, L., Lueth, V., Raatz, B., Boston, P., & Love, D. (eds.), Caves and Karst of Southeastern New Mexico: New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook 57, p. 219-226.

Land, L., Lautier, J., Wilson, N., Chianese, G., & Webb, S., 2004, Geophysical Monitoring and Evaluation of Coastal Plain Aquifers: Ground Water, v. 42, p. 59-67.

Recent Awards and Recognitions:

Renewed appointment to adjunct professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences Dept., NMT.

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Debbie Herr

NCKRI Administrative Coordinator (since 2008)
National Cave and Karst Research Institute
400-1 Cascades Avenue, Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220-6215 USA
Office: (575) 887-5518 Fax: (575) 887-5523
dherr@nckri.org


Education:

Associate’s Degree, Secretarial Administration, New Mexico State University at Carlsbad, 1990.  

Ms. Herr directs, coordinates, and, as needed, conducts NCKRI’s administrative operations. She oversees the Institute’s financial accounts, lays out and edits Institute publications, manages all supplies and equipping of NCKRI Headquarters, coordinates with the Headquarters Construction Team, and directs and advises NCKRI staff on administrative issues. Before joining NCKRI, Ms. Herr spent 11½ years in the Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, Municipal School District as a secretary and musical accompanist.  

Recent Papers and Publications:

International Union of Speleology Bulletin, 52(2), 2010, layout and technical editor

NCKRI 2009-2010 Annual Report, editor

NCKRI 2008-2009 Annual Report, editor

NCKRI 2007-2008 Annual Report, editor

NCKRI 2006-2007 Annual Report, editor

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