Dr. Julia Reece

Jul 19, 2016

Dr. Reece was born in Bremen, a city in Northern Germany, known to many geoscientists because of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) core repository that is located at the University of Bremen.

Inspired by an Open Day at a German university that was geared towards female students in STEM fields, she decided early during high school that she wanted to study Earth Sciences. So she completed her B.S. and Diplom (M.S.) in geosciences at the University of Bremen in Germany. Growing up close to the North Sea, Dr. Reece was particularly interested in marine geology and geophysics.

During her undergraduate and graduate studies in Germany she went out to sea on three research expeditions with the R/V Meteor to offshore Costa Rica / Nicaragua, the R/V Polarstern to the Arctic Ocean (Svalbard), and the JOIDES Resolution to the Gulf of Mexico for IODP Expedition 308.

The latter changed her life. The day after she received her Diplom (M.S.) degree certificate she was on an airplane to the USA with no return ticket. She had decided to pursue a Ph.D. at the Pennsylvania State University with Dr. Flemings, who was one of the two co-chiefs on IODP Expedition 308 and actively recruited her to work with him. After her first year at PSU, she followed her Ph.D. advisor and transferred to The University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Ph.D. degree in geosciences in 2011.

During her Ph.D. studies, Dr. Reece worked on samples and data related to IODP Expedition 308, particularly stresses and pore pressures in the subsurface and compression and permeability behavior of mudstones.

After completing her Ph.D., Dr. Reece was a post-doc at the Bureau of Economic Geology at UT Austin. She studied mass transport behavior in the Barnett Shale. Dr. Reece then completed a second post-doc at Stanford University, studying fracture permeability during shear-slip in the Haynesville shale and matrix permeability in the Eagle Ford shale. Following this, Dr. Reece began working at Texas A&M University as an Assistant Professor in August 2014.

Her current research focuses on understanding the mechanics and flow behavior of mudstones as well as diagenesis in shale gas reservoirs. She built her own Sediment Mechanics laboratory in the department, in which her group employs a suite of laboratory techniques including sedimentological and geotechnical experimentation as well as microscale imaging techniques.

One research project, funded by the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, studies the effect of microbial activity on mechanical and flow behavior of mudstones. Other projects in development include studying interactions between mudstone matrix, pore fluid, and organics; determining deformation processes from micro- to macroscale and fracture analysis in the Eagle Ford formation; and understanding processes behind mechanical and chemical consolidation.

A future research project is the quantification of seismic strengthening within in the submarine landslide zone. Dr. Reece is also co-proponent on a multidisciplinary IODP full proposal to study the evolution of oceanic crust along a crustal flow-line of the slow-spreading Southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

During her free time, Dr. Reece loves to spend time with her 15-month old son Luca and husband Bobby and enjoys yoga, cooking, baking, and craft projects.