I am currently an Assistant Professor at Yale University. My research focuses on using innovative stable isotope techniques to look at the interactions between the land, ocean, and atmosphere. Currently, I use triple oxygen isotope values of carbonates, silicates, phosphates, and water to answer questions about paleoclimate and paleoenvironments.
- How can we better quantify and understand changes in O2 and CO2 cycling in the biogeochemical record?
- How has previous climate states affected life and what does that mean for current populations during anthropogenic driven climate change?
- How well do we understand when rocks preserve paleoclimate information?
Marine Climate Proxies
Geochemical records agree that sea surface temperatures (SSTs) fluctuate over time; however, the magnitude of fluctuation varies between proxies. Some biologically precipitated minerals suggest that SSTs could have exceeded 40 °C. This temperature is difficult to reconcile with the fact that modern, multicellular marine life generally does not live about ~35 °C. This leads to questions regarding the habitability and adaptability of marine organisms to increasing SSTs both in the past and future.
Terrestrial Climate Proxies
The oxygen isotope composition of meteoric water is more variable than marine water, limiting the ability to use traditional oxygen isotope thermometry in continental settings. However, understanding how continental climate has changed in the past is imperative to understanding population and environmental response to climate perturbations. A large portion of my research direction will focus on expanding existing and developing new continental climate proxies to understand past hydrological changes such as evaporation, humidity, and precipitation patterns.
Quantifying Diagenesis and Fluid-Rock Interactions
Both of the themes above rely on the rock record preserving initial precipitation conditions for accurate paleoclimate interpretations. Identifying when a signal is diagenetic vs. pristine can be difficult. A better understanding of the triple oxygen isotope composition of pore waters will allow triple oxygen isotope values to be a critical tracer of fluid-rock interaction. Analyzing more than carbonate phase in a sample can help 'see-through' the diagenesis and provides information on initial precipitation conditions.