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Climate Change Institute

Amy Kireta

PhD candidate

Amy Kireta

Contact Information


I am an aquatic ecologist and paleolimnologist studying current and past climate impacts on water quality in Lake Superior. I use diatoms, microscopic algae with siliceous (glass-like) cell walls which leave fossils in the lake sediment, as study organisms. My professional goals include increasing STEM education, data literacy, and understanding how humans understand and adapt to ecosystem shifts related to climate change.

Research interests

My ecological research consists of three parts: 1. Investigating the modern distribution patterns of diatoms in Lake Superior in relationship to climate; 2. Examining the paleolimnological record of Lake Superior sediment during the Medieval Climate Anomaly to better understand diatom response to modern warming; 3. Comparing resilience to climate change of two different-sized lakes: Lake Superior and a smaller laker on an island in Lake Superior. My social science research focuses on content, attitudes, and barriers of teaching climate topics in Maine middle and high schools. Using this information, I have worked with education experts to create climate data curriculum for use in classrooms.


  • Reavie, E.D., Kireta, A.R. (2015). Centric, araphid and eunotioid diatoms of the coastal Laurentian Great Lakes. Bibliotheca Diatomologica, J. Cramer, Berlin. 184 pp.
  • Chraïbi, V.L.S., Kireta, A.R., Reavie, E.D., Cai, M., Brown, T.N. (2014). A paleolimnological assessment of human impacts on Lake Superior. Journal of Great Lakes Research. 40(4): 886-897.
  • Kireta, A.R., Reavie, E.D., Sgro, G.V., Angradi, T.R., Bolgrien, D.W., Hill, B. H., Jicha, T.M. (2012). Assessing the condition of the Missouri, Ohio, and Upper Mississippi rivers (USA) using diatom-based indicators. Hydrobiologia 691(1): 171-188.
  • Kireta, A.R., Reavie, E.D., Sgro, G.V., Angradi, T.R., Bolgrien, D.W., Hill, B. H., Jicha, T.M. (2011). Planktonic and periphytic diatoms as indicators of human stress on great rivers of the United States: testing water quality and disturbance models. Ecological Indicators 13(1): 222-231.
  • Angradi, T.R., Bolgrien, D.W., Jicha, T.M., Pearson, M.S., Taylor, D.L., Moffett, M.F., Blockson, K.A., Walters, D.M., Elonen, C.M., Anderson, L.E., Lazorchak, J.M., Reavie, E.D., Kireta, A.R., Hill, B.H. (2011). An assessment of stressor extent and biological condition in the North American mid-continent Great Rivers (USA). Rivers Systems 19: 143-163.
  • Sgro, G.V., Reavie, E.D., Kireta, A.R., Angradi, T.R., Jicha, T.M., Bolgrien, D.W., Hill, B.H. (2010). Comparison of diatom-based indices of water quality of mid-continent (USA) Great Rivers. Environmental Indicators 5(1): 48-67.
  • Reavie, E.D., Sgro, G.V. Danz, N.P. Axler, R.P., Kireta, A.R., Kingston, J.C., Hollenhorst. T.P. (2008). Comparison of simple and multimetric diatom-based indices for Great Lakes coastline disturbance. Journal of Phycology 44: 787-802.
  • Kireta, A.R., Reavie, E.D., Danz, N.P., Axler, R.P., Sgro, G.V., Brown, T.N., and Hollenhorst, T.P. (2007). Coastal geomorphic and lake variability in the Laurentian Great Lakes: implications for a diatom-based monitoring tool. Journal of Great Lakes Research 33 (Special Issue 3): 136-153.
  • Sgro, G.V., Reavie, E.D., Kingston, J.C., Kireta, A.R., Ferguson, M.J., Danz, N.P., and Johansen, J.R. (2007). A diatom quality index from a diatom-based total phosphorus inference model. Environmental Bioindicators 2(1): 15-34.
  • Reavie, E.D., Axler, R.P., Sgro, G.V., Danz, N.P., Kingston, J.C., Kireta, A.R., Brown, T.N., and Hollenhorst, T.P. (2006). Diatom-based weighted-averaging models for Great Lakes coastal water quality: relationships to watershed characteristics. Journal of Great Lakes Research 32(2): 321-47.


  • 2010 to 2012 — $100,000.00 — A whole-lake assessment of long-term human impacts in Lake Superior. from Minnesota Sea Grant
  • 2015 — $850.00 — Degree-related grant to fund dissertation research expenses. from University of Maine Graduate Student Government
  • 2015 — $1,250.00 — Climate change and Great Lakes water quality: response to past and present warming. from Geological Society of America
  • 2015 — $1,000.00 — Promoting and advancing climate education in Maine middle and high schools. from University of Maine, Center for Undergraduate Research
  • 2016 — $1,875.00 — How climate change is affecting Lake Superior water quality. from Geological Society of America


M.S. Bowling Green State University 2001

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