Biology & Paleo Environment Events

For upcoming seminars, see our calendar here.

Current Seminar Managers: Cassaundra Rose and Samuel Phelps 

Time and Location: Mondays at 12 pm, Comer Seminar Room

March 9th: Dr. Carling Hay, Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University. Host: Maureen Raymo.

"Understanding the Present by Revisiting the Past:

Fingerprinting the Sources of Global Sea-Level Rise."


Sea-level records – whether they span ancient climatic events or just the last century - provide crucial insight into the stability of ice sheets and glaciers in response to global warming. However, a suite of processes that imprint significant geographic variability onto local observations complicates any effort to use sea-level measurements to constrain ice mass fluctuations. This variability arises from a variety of sources, including sea-level changes due to: glacial isostatic adjustments (GIA) related to past ice age surface mass loading; thermal expansion of the ocean; dynamic effects linked to ocean circulation changes; and ongoing melting of grounded ice sheets and glaciers. In regard to the latter, the signals from individual sources of meltwater have come to be known as sea-level fingerprints.

In this talk I will demonstrate how the concept of sea level fingerprinting has become a powerful tool for estimating global mean sea-level (GMSL) changes (or, equivalently, ice mass changes) that occurred during both past interglacials and as a result of modern climate change. In the case of the 20th century, I will introduce and apply two probabilistic techniques that combine information from tide gauge measurements with physics-based modeling of the processes responsible for sea-level change to revisit (and revise) past estimates of the rate of change and acceleration in GMSL. I will also describe how these new insights may have a significant impact on a longstanding debate regarding the projections of GMSL to the end of the current century.

Spring 2015:

  • February 2nd: Postponed due to winter storm
  • February 9th: Dr. Todd Sowers, Senior Scientist EESI, Penn State. Host: Pratigya Polissar. "Methane Isotope Records Spanning the last 160kyr: Correlations and Conundrums."
  • SPECIAL SEMINAR February 13th @ 1 pm: Dr. Matt Bekker, Brigham Young University. Host: Brendan Buckley. "Lessons from Centennial- and Millennial-length Reconstructions of Northern Utah’s Hydroclimate from Tree Rings."
  • February 16th: open
  • February 23rd: Dr. Lidya Tarhan, Postdoctoral Researcher, Yale University. Host: Cassaundra Rose. "Protracted Development of Bioturbation through the Early Paleozoic."
  • March 2nd, 2 pm: Dr. Christa Farmer, Hofstra. Host: Mike Kaplan. “Learning from the Impacts of Superstorm Sandy: Paleotempestology on Long Island.”
  • March 9th: Dr. Carling Hay, Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University. Host: Maureen Raymo. "Revisiting the Past: Fingerprinting the Sources of 20th Century Global Sea-Level Rise."
  • March 16th: open/Spring Break
  • March 23rd: Dr. Ailene Ettinger, Putnam Fellow, The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. Host: Ben Cook
  • March 30th: Dr. Steven Smriga, MIT. Host: Andrew Juhl. "Dissecting the Phycosphere: Upscaling Bacterial Consumption Near Individual Diatoms."
  • April 6th: Dr. Jodi Young, Postdoctoral Researcher, Princeton University. Host: Kim Popendorf. "Physiological mechanisms supporting high net primary productivity in the Western Antarctic Peninsula."
  • April 13th, 2 pm: Dr. Mrinalini Nikrad, Postdoc, Rutgers. Host: Jeff Bowman. Bacterial abundance and activity in polar marine and soil environments.
  • April 20th: Dr. Senji Lin, UConn. Host: Joaquim Goes. "Energy and nutrient strategies in dinoflagellates."
  • SPECIAL SEMINAR April 20th, 2:30 pm: Dr. Aldo Shemesh, Weizmann Institute. Host: Yoni Goldsmith.
  • April 27th: Dr. Jennifer Stanford, Drexel University. Host: Andy Juhl.
  • SPECIAL SEMINAR May 1st @ 12:15 pm: Dr. Steven Meyers. Host: Maureen Raymo
  • May 4th: Dr. Suni Shah Walter, Harvard University. Host: Kim Popendorf.
  • May 11th: open
  • May 18th: Dr. Brad Linsley, LDEO. American Samoa coral record of S. Pacific climate
  • June 1st: open

Additional talks can be seen on the

google calendar.