Biology & Paleo Environment Events

Current BPE seminar organizing committee: Lorelei CurtinFrancesco MuschitielloJan-Erik Tesdal

Time and Location: Mondays at 1 pm, Comer Seminar Room


Next seminar:

02/27/17: Pratigya Polissar, LDEO

"The Boring Millions? Vegetation, Atmospheric CO2, and Climate Revolutions of the Late Miocene" 


During the late Miocene (11-5 Ma), global ice volume and deep ocean temperatures appear to be relatively unchanging. These “boring millions” suggest stasis of the climate system with the expectation of only moderate global changes in climate, CO2 and vegetation. However, during this time tropical ecosystems underwent profound changes and surface ocean temperatures declined dramatically. When did these changes occur, what drove them, and what role if any did atmospheric carbon dioxide levels play? I will address these questions through new observations of the onset, pace and geographic extent of vegetation transformations and hydrologic changes reconstructed from molecular biomarkers. I will also present preliminary reconstructions of atmospheric CO2 levels from algal remains that correct for known but previously unaccounted for biases. The likely culprits for the defining vegetation events during the Miocene epoch were a combination of changing temperature, atmospheric CO2 levels, and the distribution of rainfall – all parameters being altered today due to greenhouse warming. Understanding the nature and cause of Miocene vegetation and climate change can provide a useful template for understanding and predicting how ecosystems and climate may be reshaped in the near future.


Spring 2017:

Date Speaker Title
Jan 23rd Gerry Rustic Means and Extremes: ENSO variability over the last 1000 (and 100,000) years from individual foraminifera
Jan 30th Karina Shäfer Methane and carbon dioxide dynamics in mitigated and non-mitigated urban tidal wetlands
Feb 6th Joshua Spodek Leadership, Science, Climate, and Human Behavior
Feb 13th no talk  
Feb 20th Senjie Lin SEND (sex, energy, nutrients, defense): a power toolkit for dinoflagellates to thrive
Feb 27th Pratigya Polissar The Boring Millions? Vegetation, Atmospheric CO2, and Climate Revolutions of the Late Miocene
Mar 6th Jennifer Marlon  
Mar 13th Sam Phelps Dissertation Proposal
Mar 20th Katie Snell Hot and high times in the western US: Paleoclimate and Paleoelevation, 80 Ma to Present
Mar 27th Hilary Palevsky  
Apr 3rd Andrew Griffith  
Apr 10th Matt Harke  
Apr 17th Kyle Frischkorn  
Apr 24th Jennifer Hertzberg  
May 5th Pam McElwee  
May 8th Jennifer Cherrier