Research Interests

My broad research interest is the interplay between humans, climate change, and local ecosystems. Broadly, my research seeks to answer questions about how humans adapted to climate change, how ecosystems responded to human pressures, and how climate change impacted the local ecosystems on which humans rely. My geographic regions of interest include coastal South America, Central Asia, Northwest Africa, and the Mediterranean.

My current research centers around three major themes:

Theme 1 – Paleoclimatology

My research in paleoclimatology has primarily focused on reconstruction of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) during the last 2 millennia through the use of the stable oxygen isotopes in marine mollusc shells. My dissertation research focused on the calibration and application of Patella candei and Phorcus atratus as novel paleotemperature archives in the Canary Islands as an avenue to study the impacts of the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) and Little Ice Age (LIA) on the low-latitude eastern North Atlantic region.

Current research questions include:

What were the signals of the MCA and LIA in the low-latitude eastern North Atlantic? How did seasonality change through these climate intervals? How did climate impact coastal marine and terrestrial ecosystems? How did the strength and structure of coastal upwelling change through time? What are the applications and limitations of shell midden sclerochronology as a high-resolution proxy for past environmental conditions?

Theme 2 – Geoarchaeology

My research in geoarchaeology focuses on the application of geophysical and geochemical analyses to material retrieved from arcaheological deposits. To this end I have conducted body size diminution studies to assess ecological consequences of coastal resource harvesting through time. I have also assessed the scale and structure of time averaging within archaeological deposits to determine possible changes in depositional patterns through time.

Current research questions include:

How did aboriginal shellfishing practices change through time? How did human groups respond to climate variability in the past? What impact did human groups have on their local ecosystems? How does cultural structure interplay with resource acquisition strategies.

Theme 3 – Radiocarbon Methods and Applications

My radiocarbon research has focused on verifying the reproducibility and accuracy of carbonate-target AMS dates through comparison with graphite-target AMS dates. This research has been applied to several marine molluscan taxa, including Phorcus atratus and Patella candei. I am also interested in how radiocarbon can be used to trace changes in coastal marine ecosystems.

Current research questions include:

What is the offset between carbonate-target AMS and graphite-target AMS, and does this offset stay consistent across taxa? How can radiocarbon be used to assess changes in upwelling? What are new applications of radiocarbon dating to constrain the origin and structure of archaeological and naturally occurring shellfish deposits?