My research primarily centers on understanding the mechanisms and impacts of climate and environmental change. I use an interdisciplinary approach and a variety of techniques to study past climate changes, human-environment interactions, vegetation assemblages, and disturbance regimes. My work focuses on lakes and relies heavily on the analysis of lake sediments, which serve as a window to the past and provide context for modern environmental changes and possible analogues for future conditions.
Current Research Projects
Fire, Vegetation, and Climate History in Western Colorado
My students are analyzing sediment from four lakes near Crested Butte, Colorado to reconstruct environmental conditions over the past 10,000 years. Thanks to the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and the homeowners at Nicholson Lake for their help with fieldwork.
Fire Dynamics of the South Carolina Coastal Plain
In collaboration with Dr. Chad Lane at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Berry student Chelsea Anderson and I are using macroscopic charcoal to reconstruct Holocene fire dynamics at Clear Pond, South Carolina.
Late-Quaternary Environmental Change in the Mountains of West Virginia
My lab is partnering with Mitzy Schaney at West Virginia University to study peat cores from Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge in the mountains of West Virginia. Using a multiple proxy approach, we will create an 18,000-year record of vegetation, fire, and climate.
Spatial Variation in Compound-Specific Carbon and Hydrogen Isotopes
In collaboration with Dr. Chad Lane at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and Dr. Sally Horn at the University of Tennessee, I am analyzing n-alkanes to assess spatial variation and sedimentation processes and the impacts of prehistoric agriculture from Laguna Zoncho, a small lake in Costa Rica.
Vegetation and Fire History of the Central Willamette Valley
I am working with Dr. Megan Walsh at Central Washington University and former student Thomas Laird (Willamette University) to reconstruct pre- and post-settlement fire and vegetation regimes outside Salem, Oregon using a sediment core from Clear Lake, Oregon.
Disjunctions in Western Hemisphere Mammals
I used GIS to identify and quantify disjunctions in mammals.