Patricia A. Beddows

Patricia A. Beddows

Assistant Chair
Assistant Professor of Instruction
Director, Environmental Field School
Email: patricia at
Location: Tech F295/F296

Ph.D. University of Bristol
M.Sc. McMaster University
B.A. McMaster University

Curriculum Vitae | Research Website


Karstified carbonate terrains and caves, their scientific study and socio-economic management:

  • Hydrogeology, geochemistry, geomorphology, and sedimentology

  • Paleoenvironmental records of sea level, climate change, and landscape evolution from sediments, speleothems, and fluid inclusions in speleothems.

Applied research includes water resource management, remote mapping of hydrological resources, biological interactions at the ecosystem to the bacterial level, geo-archaeology, and water born contaminant and disease vectors.

Field research experience includes:

  • Neo-tropical coastlines and large-scale carbonate platforms, such as the Yucatan, Florida and Bahamas

  • Tracing water and contaminant flows using environmental and introduced tracers

  • Glaciated and mantled karst of Ontario, New York state, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri

  • Alpine karst of the Pacific North West including Vancouver Island and the Rockies.


EARTH 102: Voyages of Discovery
EARTH 102: Global Warming - The Scientific Evidence
ENVR SC 201 / CIV ENV 201: Earth - A Habitable Planet
EARTH 360: Instrumentation and Field Methods
EARTH 519: Responsible Conduct of Research
Yucatan Field Trip - Experiential Field Excursion

Selected Publications

Beddows, P.A., Mandic, M., Ford, D.C., Schwarcz, H.P. (2016) Oxygen and hydrogen isotopic variations between adjacent drips in three caves at increasing elevation in a temperate coastal rainforest, Vancouver Island, Canada. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 172:370-386. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2015.08.017

Beddows, P.A., Glover, J., Rissolo, D., Carter, A., Goodman, B., Jaijel, R., Smith D. (2016) Proyecto Costa Escondida: Recent interdisciplinary research in search of freshwater along the North Coast of Quintana Roo, Mexico. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews – Water. 3(5):749-761. DOI: 10.1002/wat2.1161

Chatters, J.D. Kennett, D.J., Asmerom, Y., Kemp, B.M., Polyak, V., Nava Blank, A., Beddows, P.A., Reinhardt, E., Arroyo-Cabrales, J., Bolnick, D.A., Malhi, R.S., Culleton, B., Luna Erreguerena, P., Rissolo, D., Morell-Hart, S., Stafford, T.W. (2014) Late Pleistocene human skeleton and mtDNA from Mexico links Paleoamericans and modern Native Americans.  Science. 344(6185):750-754. DOI: 10.1126/science.1252619

Torres-Talamante, O., Alcocer, J., Beddows, P.A., Escobar-Briones, E., Lugo, A. (2011) The key role of the chemolimnion in meromictic cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Hydrobiologia. doi:10.1007/s10750-011-0746-9

Metcalfe, C., Beddows, P.A., Gold Bouchot, G., Metcalfe, T., Li, H., Van Lavieren, H. (2011) Contaminants in the coastal karst aquifer systems along the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Environmental Pollution. 159(4):991-997.

van Hengstum, P.J., Reinhardt, E.G., Beddows, P.A., Gabriel, J. (2010) Linkages between Holocene paleoclimate and paleohydrogeology preserved in a Yucatan underwater cave. Quaternary Science Reviews. 29(19-20):2788-2798. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.06.034

van Hengstum, P.J., Reinhardt, E.G., Beddows, P.A., Schwarcz, H.P., Gabriel, J.J. (2009) Foraminifera and testate amoebae (thecamoebians) in an anchialine cave: Surface distributions from Aktun Ha (Carwash) cave system, Mexico. Limnology and Oceanography. doi:54: 391-396.

Gabriel, J.J., Reinhardt, E.G., Peros, M.C., Davidson, D.E., van Hengstum, P.J., Beddows, P.A.(2009) Palaeoenvironmental evolution of Cenote Aktun Ha (Carwash) on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico and its response to Holocene sea level rise. Journal of Paleolimnology. 42(2):199-213. doi:10.1007/s10933-00809271-x

Ufnar, D., Gröcke, D.R., Beddows, P.A. (2008) Paleo-evaporation rates from positive linear covariant trends in pedogenic calcite. Chemical Geology. 256(1-2):46-51, doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2008.07.022.

van Hengstum, P.J., Reinhardt, E.G., Beddows, P.A., Huang, R.J., Gabriel, J.J. (2008) Thecamoebians (testate amoebae) and foraminifera from three anchialine cenotes in Mexico: Low salinity (1.5-4.5 psu) faunal transitions. Journal of Foraminiferal Research. 38(4):305-317.

Zhang, R., Schwarcz, H.P., Ford, D.C., Serefiddin-Schroeder, F., Beddows, P.A. (2008) Absolute palaeotemperature record from 10 to 6 ka inferred from fluid inclusion D/H ratios of a stalagmite from Vancouver Island. British Columbia. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta. 72(4):1014-1026, doi:10.1016/j.gca.2007.12.002.

Beddows, P.A., Smart, P.L., Whitaker, F.F., Smith, S.L. (2007) Decoupled fresh-saline groundwater circulation of a coastal carbonate aquifer: Spatial patterns of temperature and specific electrical conductivity. Journal of Hydrology. 346(1-2): 18-32, doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2007.08.013. 

Beddows, P.A. Blanchon, P., Escobar, E., Torres-Talamante, O. (2007) Los cenotes de la península de Yucatán. Arqueología Mexicana, 16(83):32-35 (In Spanish)

Smart, P.L., Beddows, P.A., Doerr, S., Smith, S.L., Whitaker, F.F. (2006) Cave development on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Geological Society of America Special Paper 404: Perspectives on Karst Geomorphology, Hydrology, & Geochemistry, 105-128, doi:10.1130/2006. 2404(10).

Beddows, P.A. (2003) Yucatán Phreas, Mexico. In Gunn, J. (ed) Encyclopaedia of Cave and Karst Science, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, New York, USA. 794-796.

Worthington, S., Ford, D.C. & Beddows, P.A. (2000) Porosity and permeability enhancement in unconfined carbonate aquifers as a result of solution. In Klimchouk, A. Ford, D., Palmer, A. & Dreybrodt, W.(eds) Speleogenesis: Evolution of Karst Aquifers, Cave Books, St Louis 463-471. ISBN 978-1-57958-399-6.

Research Interests

  • Karst and Caves
  • Carbonate Geology
  • Quaternary Science
  • Hydrogeochemistry

Patricia A. Beddows Photos

Manual coring in coastal sediments at the maritime Maya port city of Vista Alegre.

Intersection of karst and urban infrastructure in the town of Tulum, southern Mexico.

Installing custom built instruments to the bottom of Bahamian blue holes to observe the hydrological and sedimentological impacts of hurricanes.

Discharge measurement - an immersive learning experience!

PhD Candidate Emliano Monroy Rios draws yet another geological section in quarry in the Yucatan Peninsula, in order to better understand the chemostrat.

The EARTH 360 practicum course where students build lab and field monitoring instrumentation.

Secondary carbonate precipitates in caves in a wide variety of forms.  Water flowing down surfaces will pond on small irregularities, creating rim stone dams and further ponding water.  Inside the dams, rounded "cave pearls" can acrete.

Admiring the eroded dissolution surfaces of finely bedded limestones in Schoharie county, New York State.

April 3, 2017