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Adam Maloof - Group

Akshay K. Mehra

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.

Ryan Manzuk, Graduate Student
I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and followed that with a two-year interlude as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guinea, West Africa. Broadly, I am interested in researching the interplay of climate, environment, and biological evolution during large-scale shifts of the global metazoan community. My study techniques involve developing novel methods to interrogate rock outcrops and fossil organisms to obtain physical and chemical data for the reconstruction of ancient organisms and their environments.


Stacey Edmonsond ’21 is studying the mineralogy and isotope geochemistry of short cores acquired from deeper waters around Bahamian islands. She is trying to determine to what extent sediments are exported from the shelf, and to what extent those sediments are altered by deep marine waters.

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 Lecturer at the University of St Andrews. 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).

Pingping Zhao *19 focused on distinguishing between local and global geochemical signals recorded in Cambrian carbonate rocks from Morocco, as well as developing an early Cambrian astrochronology.

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 Katz 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 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 graduated from Bates College and 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.

Disha Okhai served as lab manager for the Maloof and Schoene labs. Currently she is a Ph.D. student at Purdue with Professor Michael Eddy.


Alex Hager served as lab manager for the Maloof and Schoene labs. Currently he is a Ph.D. student in glaciology at University of Oregon.

Mike Eddy

Michael Eddy ’11 worked on trace element geochemistry of Moroccan early Cambrian rocks as part of his Princeton independent work. After a Ph.D. at MIT and a postdoc at Princeton, Mike is currently an Assistant Professor at Purdue.

Christine Chen ’13

Christine Chen 13 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.  After a Ph.D. at MIT, Christine is now a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech.

Andrew Budnick ’13

Andrew Budnick 13 received a bachelor's degree from Princeton in 2013. While at Princeton, he worked with Adam Maloof and Frederik Simons on a time series analysis of the Elatina tidal rhythmites. He now works as an exploration geologist for ExxonMobil in Houston.

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

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.

Alison Campion

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.

Adrian TasistroHart

Adrian Tasistro-Hart ’17 worked as a PEI summer intern in Namibia on Ediacaran-age Cloudina bearing microbial reefs. Next, he worked for 18 months as a technician in the Grinder Lab.  For his thesis, Adrian developed novel drone and modeling techniques to study orbital forcing of paleolake sedimentation across the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary in the Bolivian Altiplano. After a Masters at ETH-Zurich, Adrian is now a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


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.  Will's Junior Project studied “regelation calcite” and the subglacial carbon cycle.

Anna Erkalova ’18 worked as an isotope geochemistry lab assistant focussed on carbon and oxygen isotopes in Neoproterozoic carbonates from Ethiopia, and Carboniferous carbonates from England and Alaska.

Benjamin Getraer ’19 worked as an assistant in the Grinder Lab.  He worked on the technical design and implementation of automated mechanical elements of GIRI.  He also collected new imagery and made 3D measurements on objects as diverse as 545 million year old fossils and 3.5 billion year old crystals.

Mitch Mitchell ’19 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.

Celia Aranda Reina ’21 worked as a research assistant for the Maloof lab. Celia prepared rock samples for carbon and oxygen isotope measurements that she collected as a PEI intern from Cretaceos-Paleogene periplatformal carbonates of northern Spain.The aim of this research is to understand how environmental changes across the KT boundary may have influenced, or been influenced by the demise of the dinosaurs and the subsequent rise of mammals.

Emily Geyman ’19 did two field seasons in the Bahamas, and one in Western Australia to understand how changes in sea level and ocean water chemistry are recorded in modern carbonates.  Now Emily is doing a masters in Glaciology in Tromsø/Spitsbergen.

Alec Getraer ’19 examined the geometry and spatial scale of finely dissected river networks.  Using high-resolution drone-derived topographic data, he tested the hypothesis that the branching angles between streams could be sensitive to regional climate.

Ona Underwood ’21 investigated the series of events responsible for the last great extinction, which wiped dinosaurs off the face of Earth about 66 million years ago. Specifically, she is measuring magnetic susceptibility and mercury concentration from Cretaceous-Paleogene lake sediments from Bolivia that are thought to span this extinction.