Are you currently a UMW undergraduate majoring in one of our EESC majors? Are you curious about the climate and ocean? Do you want a hands-on learning experience that will give you a bump in either job or graduate school applications? If so, please contact me! I am always looking for students to either support my current research or tackle their own independent research questions under my mentorship. See below for examples of current research projects in my lab.

See expectations for research students in my lab.

Tropical Pacific Climate Variability

The tropical Pacific has a profound influence on global temperature and rainfall patterns, yet our understanding of natural climate variability in this region of the world is limited due to the scarcity of instrumental observations. I use the geochemistry of fossil corals to develop records of past climate and oceanic change, which can be used to investigate and characterize long-term natural climate variability in the tropics.

Relevant publications

Central Equatorial Pacific Warming and Freshening in the Twentieth Century: Insights From a Coral Ensemble Approach

Coral Oxygen Isotopic Records Capture the 2015/2016 El Niño Event in the Central Equatorial Pacific

Enhanced El Niño‐Southern Oscillation variability in recent decades

El Niño–Southern Oscillation complexity

A comparison of U/Th and rapid‐screen 14C dates from Line Island fossil corals

Climatic and biotic thresholds of coral-reef shutdown

Student Mentored Projects

Constraining the Mid-Holocene ENSO Minimum in the Central Pacific Using Geochemistry of a 5,000-year-old Porites Fossil Coral

Evaluating the fidelity of El Niño-Southern Oscillation reconstructions from Northern Line Islands Holocene-aged corals

Chesapeake Bay Climate Reconstruction

Rainfall patterns in the Chesapeake Bay region are expected to become more intense, leading to increased runoff and pollution as well as causing large swings in salinity in the Bay. I am interested in developing proxies from the Chesapeake Bay, such as the geochemistry from oyster shells, to reconstruct past changes in rainfall variability. My goal is to be able to quantify how changes in present-day rainfall is contributed by natural climate variability and anthropogenic climate change.

Student Mentored Projects

Schlerochronology and Oxygen-18 analysis of 18th century Crassostrea Virginica shells from the Chesapeake Bay: significance for archaeology and paleoclimate

Survey of Paired δ18O, δD and Salinity for the Chesapeake Bay and its Major Tributaries: Applications to Regional Paleohydrology

Water Isotopes

Stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen, δ18O and δD, are tracers of climatic changes within the hydrologic cycle, and thus are a potential link in the relationship between climate-influenced changes to the hydrologic cycle and modern and paleoenvironments. I am interested in assessing the changes in the local hydrologic cycle under continued greenhouse gas forcing, or climate change. The goal is to develop a long-term record of water isotopes from both rainwater and stream water from this region that can be used to track climate-related changes in the hydrologic cycle in the Chesapeake Bay region.

Student Mentored Projects

The Seasonality of Oxygen and Hydrogen Isotopes of Rain, Stream and Groundwater in Fredericksburg, VA

Additional Student Investigations

I frequently work with students on projects primarily driven by their own research interests. Here are a few examples of other projects students have completed under my mentorship.

Student Mentored Projects

Estimated 2020 CO2 Emission Reductions in Virginia’s Transportation Sector from COVID-19

The Legacy of Redlining on Urban Heat in Virginia Cities

Past Research

Propagation history of the Osaka-wan blind thrust, Japan, from trishear modeling

Challenges in Building Coastal Digital Elevation Models

Glacial‐interglacial size variability in the diatom Fragilariopsis kerguelensis: Possible iron/dust controls?

Paleosalinity history of middle Holocene lagoonal and lacustrine deposits in the Enriquillo Valley, Dominican Republic based on pore morphometrics and isotope geochemistry of ostracoda