Project Overview

Antarctic Paleoclimate Records

Faculty Sponsor

Amy Leventer (




Projects in the Antarctic Micropaleontology Lab focus on reconstructing climate change in Antarctica and the southern Indian Ocean. The Antarctic is one of the most rapidly warming regions on the planet. Our data provide a paleo-perspective on modern change, helping scientists understand how and why this region has an amplified response to warming. Much of our work addresses oceanographic change during the last deglaciation, as a model for the deglaciation that is happening today. We also work on material from more ancient warm periods in Earth’s history, including sediments collected from a lake that lies above the Antarctic continent, but beneath the ice sheet. Sediments in this lake record a much warmer period of time when this region was the site of open marine waters instead of a thick ice sheet. We will be working with a couple of different siliceous microfossil groups, including diatoms, silicoflagellates and ebridians. Each student will have their own project and their own responsibilities, in addition to the day-to-day lab work that we all will share. Students will learn how to process sediment samples, prepare quantitative slides for microscopy, and develop taxonomic skills in microfossil identification. Students will acquire microfossil assemblage and abundance data that they will use to reconstruct climatic and oceanographic history for specific regions of Antarctica.

Student Qualifications

Experience with microscope work.
Coursework in Geology and/or Biology.

Number of Student Researchers

2-3 students

Project Length

8 weeks

Applications open on 01/03/2021 and close on 03/22/2021

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (