Grads & Postdocs


Dr. William Daniels is a postdoctoral fellow 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:

 Dr. Robin Dawson is a postdoctoral research associate at UMass working with Stephen J. Burns and Isla S. Castañeda on understanding the paleoclimate of Madagascar and the evolution of the Indian Ocean Monsoon during the Pleistocene and Holocene. Robin is using stable isotopes as well as organic geochemistry (molecular fossils) from speleothems and lake sediments to characterize vegetation change, precipitation, and temperature fluctuations in the past. She also works closely with anthropologists who are studying whether megafauna extinctions in Madagascar were driven by climate or human activity. Learn more about Robin’s research here:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Becky-Smith-photo-290x290.pngRebecca Smith is a PhD 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.