I am a marine geologist who uses ocean sediments to understand how and why past climates have changed. I use geochemical proxies to explore African paleoclimate and vegetation changes since to explore links to mammalian evolution and adaptation, including human origins. I also work on tropical ocean temperature gradients, monsoonal paleoclimate, and signatures of abrupt climate change. I am the founding Director of the Center for Climate and Life, a donor-supported program funding Lamont scientists to pursue innovative, use-inspired basic research.
B.Sc. Geology, St. Lawrence University, cum laude, Honors in Geology, 1982
M.Sc. Oceanography, Graduate School of Oceanography University of Rhode Island, 1986
Ph.D., M. Phil. Geology, Columbia University. Thesis title: "Pliocene-Pleistocene Evolution of Tropical Aridity". Committee: Dr. William F. Ruddiman, advisor, Wally Broecker, Dennis Kent, Paul Olsen (1992). Sc. D. (hon. causa) St. Lawrence University (2009)