Welcome!  I am an organic and isotope geochemist who studies the history of our Earth through the rocks and sediments that accumulate on land, in lakes and at the bottom of the ocean.  I am an associate research professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.

My research centers around the history of Earth’s climate, flora and fauna that is locked inside ocean, lake and terrestrial sediments.  As human activity increasingly affects our planet and the Anthropocene is recognizable as a stratigraphic epoch, Earth’s geologic history has never been more relevant.  Why has climate changed in the past?  How sensitive is the earth system to perturbation? What are the tipping points in the Earth system?  These are the fundamental questions my research seeks to answer through studies of the elemental, molecular and isotopic composition of sediment archives.  I am particularly focused on the geologic history of the water cycle and the application of novel isotopic approaches to understanding this history.  Much of this research uses the organic components of sediments and their molecular and isotopic character.

I am also interested in the application of organic geochemistry to solve novel problems in geology and the development of new instrumentation for isotopic analyses.

Check out detailed descriptions of these and other projects, a description of our laboratory facilitesthe  people I work with and the Organic Geochemistry Research Group at Lamont.

Research Opportunities!
I am currently seeking graduate students (and possibly post-docs) for two projects:

1.  Late Quaternary evolution of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation.

2. The geologic record of earthquakes from the thermal maturity of fault-zone organic matter.

Additional information about these projects can be found on my Research page.  If you are interested in these or other projects please contact me.


Curriculum Vitae

RESEARCH INTERESTS

Paleoclimatology, Paleoaltimetry, Organic Geochemistry, Isotope Geochemistry

EDUCATION

  • 2005 Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Geosciences.
  • 1999 M.S., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Geosciences.
  • 1995 B.A., Hampshire College (Massachusetts), Geology and Environmental Science.


ACADEMIC APPOINTMENTS

  • 2014–present Lamont Associate Research Professor, Division of Biology and Paleo Environment, LDEO of Columbia University
  • 2010–2014 Lamont Assistant Research Professor, Division of Biology and Paleo Environment, LDEO of Columbia University
  • 2010–2013 Research Associate, Department of Earth & Planetary Science, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • 2009–2010 Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Earth & Planetary Science, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • 2005–2008 Postdoctoral Fellow, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) , Department of Geosciences, The Pennsylvania State University
  • 2002–2005 Research Associate, Department of Geosciences, The Pennsylvania State University
  • 1996–2002 Graduate Student Research Assistant, Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Contact Information:
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University
Division of Biology and Paleo Environment
Geoscience Building, Room 210
61 Route 9W
Palisades, NY 10964, USA
phone: (845) 365-8400 (office)
polissar-at-ldeo.columbia.edu


Sampling the Champlain Thrust fault for thermal maturity measurements.