Justin Lawrence

Graduate Student

Georgia Institute of Technology

My research focuses on robotic exploration below Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf (RIS), one of the largest remaining unexplored environments on Earth. The RIS serves as an analog system for processes, and potentially ecosystems, that may be applicable to other ocean worlds in our solar system, like Europa or Enceladus.

Through data collected in the field via both hand-deployed and AUV/ROV mounted sensors I hope to better constrain ice-ocean interactions at the base of the shelf, ocean column structure, and the ecosystem gradient across the 1000 km from the open ocean to the deep, dark grounding zone. I work with several water parameters including temperature, salinity, currents, dissolved oxygen, pH, reduction/oxidation potential, dissolved organic matter, and turbidity. We additionally collect sonar and visual imagery. Through improved understanding of these processes beneath the Ross we hope to better inform the search for life on other worlds.

Originally from New York, I graduated from Boston College in 2013 (BS environmental geoscience) and worked in sustainable finance for a few years before coming to GT in 2016. Our current project is RISE UP, and here are a few prior efforts: