Biology & Paleo Environment Events

For upcoming seminars, see our calendar here.

Current Seminar Organizers: Cassaundra Rose and Samuel Phelps 

Our new seminar day and time: Mondays at 12 pm, Comer Seminar Room


Monday November 17, 12 pm: Dr. Heather Graham, Postdoctoral Fellow, NASA/GSFC. Host: Pratigya Polissar.  

"Building a forest from the leaves: molecular and isotopic methods

for reconstructing forest structure of the past."


Dense closed-canopy forests are of enormous climatic and ecological significance but their geologic history is poorly understood since fossil assemblages rarely preserve features particular to these forests. We use biogeochemical and isotopic signatures preserved in fossil leaf tissue and leaf waxes to reconstruct the light environments of ancient forests.

Our study uses leaf tissue and leaf wax components (alkanes) from extant open- and closed-canopy forests in Maryland and Panamá and compares their biogeochemical characteristics with fossil leaves from Cretaceous and Paleocene Colombia. Our methods confirm the earliest example of a Neotropical closed-canopy forest and suggest drier conditions in Colombia’s past. Analysis of alkane concentrations in closed-canopy forest leaves finds much greater lipid production in humid understories and may indicate an adaptation by these plants for closed-canopy conditions.


  Future Talks:

  • SPECIAL SEMINAR: Wednesday August 27th @ 11:00 am, Comer Seminar Room, Dr. Fulvio Boatta, University of Palermo. Visiting scientist at LDEO. Host: Joaquim Goes  
  • Monday September 8, 12 pm: Dr. Chris Brierley, UCL. "Pliocene Tropical Dynamics." Host: Peter deMenocal.
  • Monday September 15, 12 pm: Jessica Moerman, PhD Student at Georgia Tech, "Improving tropical paleoclimate interpretations by monitoring modern water isotopes". Host: Maureen Raymo
  • Monday September 22, 12 pm: Sloan Coats, PhD Candidate LDEO
  • Monday September 29, 12 pm: Dr. Natalie Burls, Postdoctoral Associate, Yale, "A cloud albedo control on ocean temperature gradients and implications for early Pliocene warmth". Host: Heather Ford
  • Monday October 6, 12 pm: Dr. Carly Buchwald, WHOI. Host: Kim Popendorf "Nitrogen cycling in the primary and secondary nitrite maxima of the Costa Rica Upwelling Dome."
  • Monday October 13, 12 pm: Dr. Liz Corbett, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, LDEO. Host: Dorothy Peteet. "Quantifying the Microbial Utilization of Methanogenesis and Methane Loss from Northern Wetlands"
  • Monday October 20, 12 pm: Tammo Reichgelt, PhD student, University of Otago, New Zealand, "Seasonal climatic gradients of Early Miocene New Zealand". Host: Billy d'Andrea 
  • Monday October 27, 12 pm: Dr. Paola Moffa Sanchez, Postdoctoral fellow, Rutgers University. Host: Billy d'Andrea
  • Monday November 3, 12 pm: Dr. Kevin Uno, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, LDEO. Host: Peter deMenocal
  • Monday November 10, 12 pm: Dr. Bethany Jenkins, Associate Professor, University of Rhode Island. Hosts: Hugh Ducklow and Sonya Dyhrman. "Anaerobes getting their fix: a new source of nitrogen in estuarine sediments."
  • Monday November 17, 12 pm: Dr. Heather Graham, Postdoctoral Fellow, NASA/GSFC. Host: Pratigya Polissar.  
  • Monday November 24, 12 pm: Dr. Etienne Boucher, Professor, Department of Geography and GEOTOP, Université du Québec à Montréal. "Data-model fusion in dendroclimatology: general ideas, applications, and research perspectives." Host: Laia Andreu
  • Monday December  1, 12 pm: Dr. Dan Ohnemus, Postdoctoral Researcher, Bigelow Labs. "" Host: Kim Popendorf
  • Monday December  8, 12 pm: Dr. Alessio Rovere, MARUM & Dr. Daniel Harris, postdoctoral researcher at MARUM. Host: Maureen Raymo
  • End of Fall BPE Seminar Series -AGU Annual Meeting


Additional talks can be seen on the

google calendar.