Akshay K. Mehra, Ph.D. Student
Having studied architecture as an undergraduate, I am interested in the spatial nature of geology and aim to develop novel techniques for interrogating geologic records. Much of my work to date has focused on using spatial tools and methodologies (including remote sensing) to address human rights violations. Since 2012, I have worked on the development of the Grinding, Imaging and Reconstruction Instrument [GIRI] at the Princeton Grinder Lab. My initial research will utilize GIRI to produce accurate reconstructions and scientific visualizations of ancient life from fossils embedded in various samples.
Bolton Howes, Graduate Student
Prior to Princeton, I received my bachelor's degree from Macalester College and my master's degree from the University of Georgia. My current research interests center around understanding transitions from icehouse to greenhouse conditions in Earth's history. I am particularly interested in how sedimentary and biological systems react to these climate transitions and will use physical stratigraphic and geochemical data combined with numerical modeling to decipher their response.
Alex Hager, Lab Manager
I graduated from Colorado College with a degree in geology in 2015, and am now the lab manager for Adam Maloof and Blair Schoene. My undergraduate thesis employed radiogenic dating of zircons, as well as carbon and oxygen stable isotope geochemistry, to develop a stratigraphy and geochronology of Permian–Jurassic strata in southeastern Colorado. In the long term, I am interested in studying abrupt anthropogenic climate change, particularly in regard to its affect on the cryosphere and sea level.
Adrian Tasistro-Hart ’17 worked as a PEI summer intern in Namibia on Ediacaran-age Cloudina bearing microbial reefs. Next, Adrian worked for 18 months as a technician in the Grinder Lab. Adrian is also working on dendritic river networks. Recently, Adrian was awarded the Newton Family Scholar “super thesis” award from the Princeton Environmental Institute to research orbital forcing of paleolake sedimentation across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in the Bolivian Altiplano.
Emily Geyman ’19 is working on a project to understand how changes in sea level and ocean water chemistry are recorded in modern carbonates on the Great Bahama Bank. Emily is especially interested in how chemicals and isotopes change from the open ocean to the restricted, shallow-water environments where carbonates form most rapidly.
Benjamin Getraer ’19 is working as an assistant in the Grinder Lab. He is working on the technical design and implementation of automated mechanical elements of GIRI. He also is collecting new imagery and making 3D measurements on objects as diverse as 545 million year old fossils and 3.5 billion year old crystals.
Previous Group Members
Nick Swanson-Hysell *11 currently is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth & Planetary Science at UC Berkeley. Before that, Nick was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Rock Magnetism (University of Minnesota) under the supervision of Josh Feinberg. Nick also served as a visiting faculty member at Carleton College and taught Sedimentology. Nick graduated from Princeton in September 2011 with a thesis entitled: "Stratigraphic Records of Paleogeography, Climate and Ocean Chemistry from Two Late Proterozoic Basins" - PhD Thesis.
Catherine Rose *12 currently is a Professor at Trinity College Dublin. Before that she was a Steve Fossett Postdoctoral Fellow at Washington University, collaborating with David Fike. Catherine graduated from Princeton in May 2012 with a thesis entitled "Comings and Goings of the end-Cryogenian ice sheet: A stratigraphic study of the pre-, syn-, and post-glacial deposits, South Australia" - PhD Thesis.
Jon Husson *14 currently is an Assistant Professor at the University of Victoria School of Earth and Ocean Sciences. Before that, Jon was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin, collaborating with Shanan Peters on Macrostrat, a geospatial database of rock occurrence, and the text and data mining initiative GeoDeepDive. Jon graduated from Princeton in September 2014 with a thesis entitled “Constraining Timing and Origin of Unusual Carbon Cycle Dynamics in the Terminal Proterozoic and Middle Paleozoic Eons.”
Blake Dyer *15 is a postdoctoral research scientist working at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. While at Princeton, Blake completed a Ph.D. thesis that combined extensive field work, isotopic measurements, and numerical models to deconvolve local and global stratigraphic expressions of sea level during the Late Paleozoic Ice Age (331-260 million years ago). Blake stayed at Princeton for a short postdoctoral stint working on new analytical tools that harness the spatial distribution modern sediments to infer sea level change from ancient stratigraphic sequences. Currently, Blake works with carbonate rocks from the Bahamas to improve our understanding of sea level and climate during the last interglacial (MIS 5e).
Bob Kopp is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences at Rutgers University, serves as the Associate Director of the Rutgers Energy Institute, and is an associate member of the graduate faculty of the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. Prior to his appointment at Rutgers, Bob served as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Policy and International Affairs. From 2007-2009, Bob was a STEP Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton with Michael Oppenheimer and Adam Maloof. During that time, Bob and Adam published papers on sea level during the last interglacial period, magnetization of Holocene platformal carbonates in the Bahamas, and Paleocene-Eocene boundary climate and ocean geochemical change recorded in marine sediments from the Atlantic margin of the US.
Kevin Lewis currently is an assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University, and a PI Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. While a Hess Postdoctoral fellow at Princeton, Kevin used the stratigraphic records exposed on planetary bodies to understand their geologic history. In order to do that effectively, Kevin studied cyclic stratigraphic records on Earth such as the Eocene Green River Formation of the western United States, which records the evolution of a number of large lacustrine basins over several million years. The goal of this research was to investigate the causes of repetitive fluctuations in depositional conditions through time, which have been suggested to result from changes in the Earth's orbital (Milankovitch) parameters. Our study involved the synthesis of remote sensing data and field observations to quantitatively evaluate this hypothesis by applying spectral techniques to the recovered stratigraphic signals.
Ryan Ewing was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton in 2009-2010. While here, Ryan helped develop the aeolian curriculum and field trips for GEO 370/570 Sedimentology. He also drew on his expertise studying sand dunes on Earth and Mars, and began a project studying aeolian sediments deposited during the Marinoan glaciation 640 million years ago. Ryan currently is an assistant professor at Texas A&M.
Claire Calmet spent a semester as a postdoc at Princeton in 2009. Initially trained as a population geneticist, and deeply interested in all aspects of Earth and Life History, she participated in the 3D modeling of pre-Marinoan fossils, and performed geochemical analyses on sediments from the Cryogenian period. Claire currently is working at a publishing house in Paris, France editing Earth and Life Science textbooks.
Amandine Katz - Amandine was a visiting M.S. student in Spring 2012 that studied the δ18O record of changing sea surface temperature and ice volume during the Late Paleozoic Ice Age. Specifically, she separated phosphate from the apatite teeth of ancient eel-like fish (conodonts) for the δ18O analyses, and she studied δ18O variability at very high temporal resolution, with up to 25 samples per shallowing-upward carbonate parasequence thought to define a glacial-interglacial cycle. She also studied the lateral variability of δ18O as carbonate lithofacies change on lengthscales of 0.1-10 km within individual carbonate parasequences.
Cristi Proistosescu ’09 - Cristi graduated from the Princeton Physics department in 2009. His senior thesis was published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Cristi finished his Ph.D. at Harvard University with Peter Huybers and currently is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington.
Laura Poppick - After graduating from Bates College, Laura spent 2010-2011 at Princeton as the lab manager for Blair Schoene and Adam Maloof. Currently she is a graduate student in the science writing program at UC Santa Cruz and an intern at Live Science.
Michael Eddy ’11 is currently a postdoctoral fellow with Blair Schoene at Princeton University. He finished his Ph.D. with Professor Sam Bowring at MIT. During his time at Princeton, he studied the trace element chemostratigraphy of several early Cambrian carbonate sections in Morocco as part of a Junior Paper. Specifically, he focused on temporal variations in redox sensitive trace elements as a proxy for changing oxygen levels in the Cambrian ocean. His junior paper was published in GSA Bulletin.
Christine Chen ’13 currently is a Ph.D. student at MIT. At Princeton, she studied the 565 million year old Wonoka Formation paleo-submarine canyons of South Australia for her junior thesis. For her senior thesis, she mapped transgressive Bonneville shoreline sequences from around Great Salt Lake, Utah. Next, she modeled the relative contribution of laurentide ice load and local lake load to explain nuanced shoreline geometry. It turned out that the size and shape of Bonneville basin is a direct constraint on the size and shape of the Laurentide ice sheet. Her junior paper is published in the American Journal of Science, and her Senior thesis is published in Quaternary Science Reviews.
Charlotte Conner '14 conducted a Junior thesis focused on the forensic geoarchaeology of the materials used to build the ancient city of Marion (7th-4th century BCE) in Polis Chrysochous, Cyprus. Specifically, she used a combination of trace elements δ13C and δ18O to fingerprint specific building materials and link them to ancient quarries in Cyprus and abroad.
Sarah Bluher ’14 currently is a Ph.D. student at Cornell University. She conducted her senior thesis on the stratigraphy, geochemistry and geochronology of Siluro-Devonian carbonate beds in upstate New York. Specifically, she studied temporal and spatial gradients in the trace element and stable isotope composition of shells preserved in ash bound limestones. Her senior thesis is published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
Anna van Brummen '16 used a combination of hand-held and drone-derived images, and total station surveying of late Cambrian stromatolite beds to determine how the spatial distribution of stromatolite size, shape, and laminations relates to paleoenvironment. Her field areas were near Saratoga Springs, NY and northern New Jersey.
Ali Campion ’16 was awarded the Newton Family Scholar “super thesis” award from the Princeton Environmental Institute to research the Late Paleozoic Ice Age (~300 million years ago) as an analogue to the Plio-Pleistocene ice age that we are in now. In her first summer of field work, Ali spent two months in Great Britain studying the paleotropical stratigraphic record of waxing and waning ice sheets. Next she travelled to Spain to use physical and isotope stratigraphy, combined with biostratigraphy and U-Pb geochronology to understand how the amplitude and frequency of ancient ice volume changes compare to those of the modern climate system. Her senior thesis is in review in Geology. Currently Ali works for Kimetirca, a company that researches methods to increase the efficiency of spending in the international development sector.
Ray Bartolucci '17 worked as a PEI summer intern in Namibia on Ediacaran-age Cloudina bearing microbial reefs. He then spent six months working in the Grinder Lab as a machinist.
Mitch Mitchell ’17 conducted a Junior Project in the Grinder Lab reconstructing 3D models of putative pseudomorphs after gypsum from the Archaean Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa.
Will van Cleve ’17 worked as a 2015 PEI summer intern in the Canadian Rockies on Cloudina and Namacalathus fossils buried within stromatolite bioherms of the Byng Formation on Salient Mountain. Now he is working on his Junior Project studying “regelation calcite” and the subglacial carbon cycle.