New Paper Update: Subannual D47 reconstructs Last Interglacial climate and d18Owater variability in Bermuda

Sliced Cittarium pica, showing location of high resolution d18Ocarb drilling (green) and seasonally-targetted D47 drilling (red)

Jade’s first paper is now published in the journal Paleooceanography and Paleoclimatology. Congrats Jade! In this work, Jade analyzed fossil shells of the species Cittarium pica, a large gastropod known as the Indian Top Shell. She sampled these shells along their spiral growth direction to reconstruct ocean temperatures and oxygen isotopic compositions (seawater d18O) throughout a few years of their lifetime. These shells date from the Last Interglacial (LIG) interval (~125,000 years ago), a period when global climate was 1-2 degrees warmer and sea levels were 6-9m higher. Despite overall global warmth, we found Bermuda was actually slightly cooler during the LIG, consistent with other records from the region. We also found unexpectedly high variability in d18Oseawater, which we linked to freshwater discharge from an underground aquifer into the near coastal areas.


Sierra awarded the Sloan Research Fellowship

SCIPP Lab is excited to announce that Sierra has been selected as a 2021 Sloan Research Fellowship.

Paraphrasing from the Sloan website…

The Sloan Research Fellowship seeks to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise. These two-year, $75,000 fellowships are awarded yearly to 128 researchers in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field. Their achievements and potential place them among the next generation of scientific leaders in the U.S. and Canada. 

Sierra plans to use the funds to push forward our paleo-seasonality projects in the Pliocene and elsewhere.

Department Announcement

UM Record Article

SCIPP Lab reopens following 2+ month hiatus

Today we gained access to our research lab for the first time since we shutdown in March.

We are very glad to be selected as one of the buildings for the “pilot phase” of reopening at U of M. The group, department, and university have done a great job making the working environment safe through PPE, cleaning and air circulation procedures, limiting personnel, and maintaining social distancing. Lots of safety plans submitted!

Only Ashling, our lab manager, is allowed in at the moment and she will begin working to turn on our machines and get them back to operational. We are crossing our fingers for a smooth reopening, with everything working well.

Serena and Steve graduate!

Congratulations to our SCIPP group graduates! Senior thesis student Steve Wedel finished his undergraduate degree in Geology and Serena Scholz completed her master’s degree with a very impressive master’s thesis (one paper published, another nearly submitted).

Although the in-person graduation ceremonies were canceled due to COVID-19, we are still so proud of you guys! Sad to see you go, but excited to see the next steps in your bright futures!

New Paper Update: Tropical Seasonality in the Miocene

Serena’s first paper was just published in Geology! She measured the oxygen isotopic composition of modern and fossil gastropod shells of the genus Turritella at high (subannual) resolution. In tropical settings, temperature doesn’t vary too much throughout the year, so the large seasonal variations in d18Ocarbonate were therefore attributable to changes in d18Oseawater, which she linked to on-shore precipitation. This indicated that there was a high seasonality of precipitation at the sample site (Guajira Peninsula, Colombia), which is today an extremely arid environment. She suggested that the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ICTZ), a band of high precipiation, could have extended to a more northerly position during the warm Miocene and been the source of this increased precipitation seasonality.

Congrats Serena on your first paper!


Link to Paper

New Paper Update: Synthesis of Paleosol Clumped Isotope Data

Julia Kelson (collaborator and now postdoc in the SCIPP group) published a compilation study of all published paleosol clumped isotope data to investigate whether any patterns could emerge regarding seasonal timing of formation or temperature biases. She updated older data using the Brand/IUPAC parameters and culled out early data that didn’t meet current data collection standards.

She found that paleosol carbonates tend to show a warm season bias, and calculated d18Owater values are related to d18Oprecipiation values from the season of carbonate formation.



Link to Paper

SCIPP Lab closes for COVID-19

Today we shut down our two mass spectrometers and turned off and unplugged all our smaller equipment. All U of M research labs are shutting down as the university and state shift to a new “work from home” normal to combat this growing health crisis. Although as lab scientists we are always hoping to be gathering new data, this comes at an okay time for our group, following a big data collection push in January and February. Everyone has data to process, analyze, interpret, and write up. We hope to be back in the lab, collecting new data, as soon as is safe. For now, see everyone on video!