Joining the Group

Welcome!!  I am always interested in recruiting new lab members which is part of the UM IsoPaleoLab research group.

Understanding triple oxygen isotope variation in different systems, in application to questions about paleoclimate and paleoenvironmental change, is a big focus of my research program right now.  This work is broad and there are many ways to pursue it, in both modern and ancient systems. Many projects involve a combination of lab work and field work. And I’m open to ideas for other projects that don’t involve triple oxygen isotopes but I will prioritize those that take advantage of existing research expertise or analytical capabilities in the lab. 

The University of Michigan is a unique place to to this work given the facilities in the IsoPaleoLab and the number of groups working with isotopes to tackle on paleoclimate problems right now (see faculty Ben Passey, Sierra Petersen, Julia Cole, Nathan Sheldon, Chris Poulsen, Kacey Lohmann), in addition to a strong groups in paleontology, paleobiology, and geobiology. As part of this work I also collaborate with Drew Gronewold to understand how we can use the combination of isotopic and hydrologic approaches to constrain water balance in ancient and modern systems. Students benefit from interactions among these groups.

Examples of two active research projects:

  1. The ecology and landscapes of Pliocene hominins in the Afar region, Ethiopia. This project focuses on understanding how and why some landscapes in the Afar rift supported diverse hominin populations while others did not. This work is part of a large inter-disciplinary and multi-institution project that will focus on comparing the geology, climate, environment and ecology at Woranso-Mille to Hadar.
  2. Dual clumped isotopes and triple oxygen isotopes in speleothems, with applications to paleoclimate in both the western US and the Peruvian Andes. This work is in collaboration with Ben Passey. See the IsoPaleoLab page for more information about this project.

Potential Grad Students

The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences has an extremely strong graduate program. To get a sense for what UM EARTH grad students do, check out the department’s Twitter and Instagram accounts and a list of grad student publications.  It’s a particularly exciting place for anyone interested in paleoclimate and stable isotope geochemistry, given the depth of expertise among the faculty and their groups. The UM EARTH grad students have a strong community. You can see some of their activities on the GeoClub webpage.

If you’re interested in the UM EARTH graduate program and in joining my group, take a look at the departmental website that has information on the application process. Before contacting me, I encourage you to read my advice about grad school, contacting potential advisors, and considering programs.

Applications for Fall admission are due in early January – see tips about applying to grad school on our departmental page.

Potential grad students who come from under-represented groups or who do active work to make science more inclusive should apply the Michigan Earth’s Fall Preview event. Applications are due each year in late August.

Postdoc positions

I encourage any potential postdocs to seek external funding like the NSF Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowship (proposals due in late October or early November depending on the year) or the NOAA Climate & Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship Program with an application deadline in January.

There are also three different University of Michigan postdoctoral fellowships that you might consider: the Michigan Society of Fellows, the President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, and the LSA Collegiate Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. All are very competitive but each has a different scope. The applications for these UM fellowships are due in the Fall, but successful applicants will start to develop their applications with UM faculty well in advance.

UM undergrads

Iso Paleo Lab has a strong record of including undergrads in our research and the operation of the lab. If you are a UM undergrad interested in research, please send me (Naomi) an email with your resume or CV and articulating your interests and we can see if there’s a way to involve you. However, do note that the best way to get involved in the lab is to take a class with me first (and be an engaged student in that class!). I am specifically looking to recruit UM Earth Camp and M-STEM students so if you are involved in either of these programs, please get in contact and we can also work on making your work part of UROP.