The Levy Lab at UT-Austin

Polar, Alpine, and Planetary Research

How and why are polar and alpine landscapes changing?

How is climate change affecting polar ecosystems and human populations?

Why do the poles matter for people who live in the temperate zone?

Was Mars ever “warm and wet”?

My research aims to answer these kinds of questions by focusing on understanding the structure, origins, and future responses of polar and alpine landscapes to changing climate conditions using satellite observations, embedded sensor networks, and laboratory analyses of sediments, water, and ice. This wide range of technical approaches is synthesized into a probe of surface composition, climate history, and future response using remote sensing and GIS analyses. By combining geological, ecological, remote-sensing, and climatological tools, my research program also works to advance the fundamental geoscience that underlies geomorphology, paleoclimatology, and planetary exploration.

The team is always looking for enthusiastic students who are keen on exploring Earth's polar regions and Mars. I am currently working with several UT undergraduate students on research projects and will be recruiting graduate research associates soon. Feel free to contact me with questions.

Background and Education


I am a geomorphologist and field geologist by training, but have additional training in biogeochemical cycling, climate, ecological processes, and planetary science.

Ph.D. - Brown University - Dept. of Geological Sciences - 2009
Sc.M. - Brown University - Dept. of Geological Sciences - 2006
B.S. - Univ. of Chicago - Dept. of Geophysical Sciences - 2004


I blog about field research, planetary science, and science policy at Cold Dirt.

Contact Details

Dr. Joseph Levy
UT Institute for Geophysics
JJ Pickle Research Campus Bldg. 196
10100 Burnet Rd. (R2200)
Austin, TX 78758