Geoscience Education


Office: 116 Mitchell Hall
Phone: (919) 966-4516
E-mail: mfplenge@unc.edu


Education

Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin, 2012
M.T. and B.S., University of Virginia, 2005


Research Interests

-Geomicrobiology

-Aqueous Geochemistry

-Geoscience Education

My dissertation work focused on the role microorganisms play in biogeochemical cycling, specifically carbon cycling, in a high-altitude hydrothermal field in northern Chile. My post-dissertation research focuses primarily on environmental applications for geomicrobiology; for example, the release of sediment-bound arsenic caused by microbial attenuation of a diesel spill in an unconfined aquifer in Irving, TX.

I do not have an active research program at the moment, though I am happy to consult with undergraduate or graduate students on independent research projects relevant to my field.

My current research endeavors focus on geoscience education and pedagogy, specifically exploring how skill based learning objectives and active teaching techniques impact student outcomes, including content knowledge and student attitudes towards geoscience.


Select Research Publications

Plenge, M.F., Engel, A.S., Omelon, C.R., and Bennett, P.C., 2016.  Thermophilic Archaeal Diversity and Methanogenesis from El Tatio Geyser Field, Chile.  Geomicrobiology Journal, V.34, p. 220-230.