Dorothy M. Peteet

Adjunct Senior Research Scientist
Dorothy M. Peteet
Adjunct Senior Research Scientist
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
115 Geochemistry
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000


(845) 642-5702


(845) 365-8154

Fields of interest: 

Paleoclimate, paleoecology, climate modeling, wetland carbon storage, palynology.

Research Statement: 

In the face of a rapidly changing climate today, we can turn to the landscapes around us as well as their historical archives to give us the best possible hints of the magnitude and rapidity of past climate shifts, and their relevance for our future. Our group utilizes field trips to wetlands (salt marshes, fresh marshes, bogs, fens, and swamps) to combine the study of modern plant ecology with retrieval of long sediment cores.

Our research includes travel to Siberia, Alaska, southeastern US, and Easter Island as well as the Hudson River marshes, Black Rock Forest, NY and upland nearby lakes. From these cores we analyze pollen, spores, and plant and animal macrofossils. We are particularly interested in abrupt climate change and patterns of droughts and floods as well as warm intervals and recent coolings such as the Little Ice Age.

Patterns and rates of plant migration are documented using our macrofossil studies in combination with pollen stratigraphy. We target disturbances such as land use change and fire at the local and regional level. Carbon sequestration in wetlands is a more recent focus, with changes in sequestration linked to climate change. Global climate modeling (GCM) at GISS is utilized to understand mechanisms and causes of climatic change.

List of Degrees from highest to lowest
New York University
Master of Science
New York University
Bachelor of Arts
Duke University

Primary Discipline: 

Secondary Discipline: 

Other Disciplines: 

Selected Publications:
Responses of an arctic landscape to Lateglacial and early Holocene climatic changes: the importance of moisture, Mann, D. H.; Peteet, D. M.; Reanier, R. E.; Kunz, M. L. Quaternary Science Reviews Apr, Volume: 21, Issue: 8-9 p.: 997-1021 (2002) Pii S0277-3791(01)00116-0
Sensitivity and rapidity of vegetational response to abrupt climate change, Peteet, D. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Feb 15, Volume: 97, Issue: 4 p.: 1359-1361 (2000)
Late-glacial to early Holocene climate changes from a central Appalachian pollen and macrofossil record, Kneller, M.; Peteet, D. Quaternary Research Mar, Volume: 51, Issue: 2 p.: 133-147 (1999)