Graduate Students

Sasha Leidman
Advisor: Åsa Rennermalm
Degree: Ph.D.
Office: Lucy Stone Hall, Room B-257
Research Interests: glaciology, polar sciences, hydrology, geomorphology, remote sensing



I study how melting on the Greenland Ice Sheet affects how much sunlight the ice can absorb. Increased melting on the surface of the ice caused by climate change increases the number of dark surfaces, resulting in even more sunlight absorption and melting. I study this potential domino effect at two locations on the ice sheet. In the upper regions, I drill shallow ice cores looking for layers of dark, refrozen melt-water in the snow. In lower regions, I wade through streams flowing over the ice taking velocity, brightness, and GPS measurements to determine how these rivers will change their shape in warming climates.

Previous Degrees:

  • B.S., Geology, University of California, Davis



  • Rennermalm, Å. K., Smith, L. C., Hamman, A. C., As, D. V., Leidman, S. Z., Cooper, M. G., Cooley, S. W., Pitcher, L. H., and Hubbard, L. (Submitted 2017). Greenland ice sheet outflow from a small ice margin drainage basin, 2008-2016. Annals of Glaciology.
  • Mackey, T., Sumner, D. Y., Hawes, I., Leidman, S. Z., Andersen, D., and Jungblut, A. (Submitted 2017). Stromatolite records of changing primary productivity in perennially icecovered Lake Joyce, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Biogeochemistry.
  • Castendyk, D. N., Obryk, M. K., Leidman, S. Z., Gooseff, M., and Hawes, I. (2016). Lake Vanda: A sentinel for climate change in the McMurdo Sound Region of Antarctica. Global and Planetary Change, 144, pp.213-227.
  • Mackey, T.J., Sumner, D.Y., Hawes, I., Jungblut, A.D., Lawrence, J., Leidman, S.Z., and Allen, B. (2017). Increased mud deposition reduces stromatolite complexity. Geology, 45(7), pp.663-666.


  • Leidman, S. Z. and Burrows, R. (2014). Updated Condition of Denali National Park Glaciers: A Detailed Look at Changes in Glacier Extent and Ice Loss on the Kahiltna and East Fork Toklat Glaciers. NPS Natural Resources Technical Report.


  • Winner of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Award (2018)
  • Winner of the CUAHSI Pathfinder Fellowship (2018)
  • Nominee for the AAG National Geography Bowl (2018)
  • Second Prize in the AAG Middle States Student Poster Competition (2018)
  • Recipient of the RS Tarr AAG Cryosphere Group Award (2017)
  • Recipient of the UC Davis Provost Undergraduate Fellowship (2014)
  • Finalist for the Mars Arctic 365 Program (2014)
  • Recipient of the Thomas W. Todd Scholarship (2013)


  • President/Founder of the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists Project Group on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (2017–2018)
  • Member of the APECS International Council (2017–2018)
  • Faculty Member for the Juneau Icefield Research Program (2018)
  • Guest Lecturer for Rutgers FIGS Seminar on Hydrology (2018), Rutgers Spatial Data Analysis (2017), and Earth Systems (2016)
  • Board Member of the AAG Cryosphere Group (2017–2018)
  • President of the Rutgers Geography Graduate Project (2017–2018)
  • President of the UC Davis Wilderness Medicine Club (2010–2014)

Curriculum Vitae