Skip to contentSkip to site navigation
Earth Science
2021 Project Proposal

Lessons of Climate and Ocean Change from the Warm Geologic Past

Laura Haynes (Earth Science)

Project Type - B - Flexible:  It will be in-person if we are allowed to have URSI students on campus, but it will become a remote project if not.

What role did the ocean play in climate change in the ancient past? In this project, we will use sediment cores collected from a recent deep-sea drilling expedition to investigate the evolution of climate and ocean chemistry during the Eocene period (57-40 million years ago). During this time, Earth experienced an overall warm climate alongside rapid warming events; crocodiles swam at the poles and rainforests blanketed Antarctica. Understanding how climate and life operated in a warmer world is a central question in Earth science today. This project will constrain how the Southern Pacific Ocean (close to Antarctica) responded to and controlled Eocene climate change. To do this, we will use tiny marine fossils called foraminifera as our indicators. Foraminifera are small marine protists that make calcium carbonate shells, similar to corals. The species assemblages and geochemistry of these shells yields insight into climate and ecosystem changes over time. Research tasks will include general characterization of marine sediments, processing of marine sediments to isolate fossils, determination of fossil preservation and species composition, and geochemical analysis. This project will involve coordination with an international group of researchers working to characterize these newly recovered ocean sediments.

Prerequisites: ESCI 151 or another Introductory course in Earth Science or Environmental Studies.

How should students express interest in this project?  To apply for this position, please email me with a short statement (~100-150 words, or a few sentences) of how this project fits into your interests and goals. Upon receiving your email, I will reach out to set up an appointment for us to discuss the project.

This is an 8-week project running from June 7 – July 31