Ancient Climates and Ecosystems Research Group

The Ancient Climates and Ecosystems research group in the Department of Earth Sciences focuses on understanding the patterns and mechanisms behind changes in past climate and ecosystems. Our collective work spans timescales from a few thousand to several billions of years, settings from terrestrial to aquatic to marine, and illustrates how the Earth system works over the range of extremes in Earth surface evolution. Insights contribute to an improved understanding of processes relevant to current rates of global environmental and biospheric change.

Our faculty and graduate students hold a regular weekly seminar, known as ‘PaleoX’, where we discuss ongoing research by group members and guests, and newly published papers, across the range of paleoclimatology, -ecology, -limnology, -oceanography, -biology... Discussions, like our group, are highly interdisciplinary, wide-ranging in scope, and bring together many different perspectives. We meet regularly on Thursdays at 11 AM in rm 333C, and interested participants are welcome to join us.

Faculty members in the Ancient Climates and Ecosystems research group are listed below. Click on a name to learn more about their work and how to get in touch if you’d like to pursue undergraduate or graduate research!

Tripti Bhattacharya - large-scale climate dynamics on paleoclimatic timescales, and reconstructions of past climates from organic geochemical techniques

Melissa Chipman - Holocene climatic and ecological changes in Arctic systems using microfossils, isotopes, and charcoal from lake sediments, as well as remote sensing

Greg Hoke - interactions between tectonics, climate, and landscape history using stratigraphic relations, stable isotopes and cosmogenic nuclides

Linda Ivany - relationships between environment, ecology, and evolution; paleoseasonality and life history evolution using stable isotopes of accretionary carbonate fossils

Christopher Junium - biogeochemical cycles over Earth history; novel laboratory advances for measuring carbon and nitrogen isotopes in very small samples

Zunli Lu - Earth history of oxygen and the iProxy

Cathryn Newton - modern and ancient biodiversity and mass extinction, Triassic evolution and paleobiogeography, deep-sea coral communities

Christopher Scholz -records of past climates on the continents, and especially the continental tropics using a variety of techniques including scientific drilling and reflection seismic imaging. Ancillary work includes the tectonic evolution of extensional basins and studies of large rift lake systems

Bruce Wilkinson - global rock cycling, geographic and temporal patterns (or lack thereof) in geologic maps, stratigraphic sections, and other large datasets