Grads & Postdocs

 Postdoctoral Scholars

Will Daniels is a Postdoc in the UMass Biogeochemistry Lab. His research interests include limnology, molecular paleoclimatology, isotope geochemistry, and human-environment interactions. He works on aquatic systems from Rhode Island to the US Great Lakes to the Arctic. In the Biogeochemistry Lab, Will’s current focus is on the application of branched GDGT and leaf wax biomarker proxies in the Lake El’Gygytgyn sedimentary record in effort to understand the ancient Siberian environment during the mid-Pliocene warm period and during the multiple super-interglacials thought to have occurred at Lake E. The mid-Pliocene warm period (~3 million years ago) was the last time atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations were as high as they are today, and so the MPWP serves as a critical analog for understanding future climate change. Learn more about Will’s research here:

 Graduate Students

Helen Habicht  is a PhD student in the Geosciences department of UMass Amherst. She recently completed her Master’s degree using organic geochemical proxies to examine the expression of the Mid- Brunhes Event, a climatic transition occurring ~430 ka, in the Lake El’gygytgyn sediment record. Her primary research interest is the use of organic biomarkers, such as – alkanes and branched GDGTs to reconstruct climatic variability during the Mid- to Late- Pleistocene. She is particularly interested in the study of past climatic warm periods (interglacials), the expression of these periods in the Arctic, and the use of this paleoclimate data to understand current and future climate change. Learn more about Helen’s research on Research Gate  or follow her on Twitter.

Dan Miller is a PhD student in the Geosciences Department at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, and is a fellow of the Northeast Climate Science Center. He recently received his Masters of Science focusing on a paleoclimate reconstruction of extreme events using biomarkers from the sedimentary record of Basin Pond, Fayette, Maine, USA, and is currently working on the extension of that record (in particular the fire history) over the past millennium. Dan’s broader interests include understanding the variability of extreme events in the Northeastern U.S., if and how climate change is driving changes in these events, and their societal, economic, and ecosystem impacts on the region into the future.

Rebecca Smith is a MSc student in the Geosciences Department at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. She is investigating this Plio-Pleistocene history of the Indonesian Throughflow from IODP Site U1463. She is using multiple organic geochemical temperature proxies to examine how changes in the Indonesian Throughflow have varied over time and their resulting influence on the hydroclimate of continental Australia.

Boyang Zhao is a PhD student in the Geosciences Department at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. His research interests lie in utilizing organic geochemical proxies to examine the climate of southwest Greenland to better understand the environments in which Norse settlers to Greenland lived. He is also interested in proxy validation and calibration, and is using modern vegetation, soil, surface sediment and sediment trap samples to investigate how climate signals are recorded in the sedimentary record.