Paleoceanography & Paleoclimatology

Paleoceanography deals with the physical, chemical, and biological evolution of the oceans throughout geologic history. Paleoclimatology examines the feedbacks between different planetary spheres (geosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere) and their influence on past climates. Understanding how terrestrial and oceanic realms operated in the past allows us to predict how Earth will respond to future climatic changes. Questions our faculty tackle include:a photo of a temperature anomaly graph, sediment core, a beach, and a ship sailing to represent the breadth of paleoceanography and paleoclimatology

  • What do fossil plankton tell us about past ocean conditions?
  • How much carbon is stored in wetlands and does the rate of carbon storage change through time?
  • How can we use isotopes to track major events in Earth’s climate and biosphere?
  • What do coralline algae tell us about past sea ice cover?
  • How do early diagenetic reactions affect bioavailability of trace elements needed for biological processes?
Faculty Areas of Interest
Bridget Bergquist metal geochemistry
Jörg Bollmann paleoceanography, geobiology, paleoecology
Daniel Gregory hydrothermal ore systems
Sarah Finkelstein climate science, paleoclimatology, paleoecology, micropaleontology, wetland biogeosciences
Jochen Halfar paleoclimatology, geobiology
Martin Head dinoflagellate cysts, marine palynology, late Cenozoic
Ulrich Wortmann marine geology, paleoceanography, carbon and sulfur cycling, geomicrobiology