Research Interests

Tropical 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 chemical composition of living and fossil corals to develop records of past climate and oceanic change, which can be use to investigate and characterize long-term natural climate variability in the tropics. 

Current Projects

  • Temperature and salinity variability in the central tropical Pacific during the Little Ice Age (1500-1800)
  • Pacific trade-wind strength across the 20th century

 

The average number of instrumental observations available
per month in the tropical Pacific between 1900-1970.

based on ICOADS 3.0, available athttp://icoads.noaa.gov/


 

X-ray image of a small fossil coral from Kiritimati Atoll.
Alternating dark and light banding represent the seasonal cycle

Proxy Development

An incredible wealth of environmental information is locked within the skeletons of living and fossil corals, making them powerful tool for studying the past. However, accessing and interpreting this information is not always straightforward. I’m interested in refining existing methodology, exploring new analytical techniques and proxies to develop more robust coral-based climate and environmental reconstructions

Current Projects

  • Reproducibility of coral proxies among coral colonies growing on the same reef
  • Extracting reliable climate records from diagenetically altered corals using SIMS
  • Coral Mn/Ca – a novel proxy for wind variability

Student Mentored Projects

  • A coral ensemble approach to reconstructing 20th century sea-surface temperature trends
  • Using Favia (sp.) corals to reconstruct climate