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Earth System Modeling Laboratory

Personnel: Anders Carlson, Ankur Desai, John Kutzbach, Zhengyu Liu, David Lorenz, Galen McKinley, Michael Notaro, Steve Vavrus, Dan Vimont

The Earth System Modeling group applies a variety of models to investigate the dynamics of the Earth’s atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere, including the following:

Paleoecology Laboratory

Personnel: Sara Hotchkiss, Marjeta Jeraj, Samantha Kaplan, Patricia Sanford, Jack Williams

Paleoecological work is a vital component of environmental research. It provides a long-term perspective on the development of and ranges and rates of change of ecosystems. It measures the resiliency or vulnerability of biota to natural and human-induced perturbations and provides baseline data necessary for documentation of anthropogenic impacts.

In the Paleoecology Laboratory, past environments are studied using fossil records preserved in lake and bog sediments. Researchers analyze pollen, charcoal, diatoms and other algae, cladocera and other zooplankton, and sediment chemistry, to determine changes in vegetation, fire history, limnology (trophic and pH history of freshwaters and estuaries), geomorphology, land use, and climate for sites throughout the world.

Students and researchers come to the lab seeking information to test their vegetation, climate and landscape models, to determine the past history of their study sites, to provide background for archaeological results, and to evaluate impacts from recent environmental and climatic changes by comparison with prehistoric evidence. A working relationship exists with several university facilities and departments, such as Botany, the State Herbarium, Geology, the Center for Limnology, Anthropology, Geography, the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Chemistry, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. The paleoecology lab offers unique interdisciplinary research support to students from those and other divisions of the university.

Archeoclimatology Laboratory

The Archeoclimatology Laboratory, under the direction of the late Professor Reid Bryson, developed and applied the Macroscale Climate Model (MCM) to research topics linking climates and cultures. The MCM can run on a personal computer, can be site specific, runs at high temporal resolution, includes databases of climate forcing (e.g. extensive records of global volcanic eruptions) and human cultures, and has extensive links with archeological researchers worldwide. Questions regarding this model and its use may be addressed to Dr. Robert Bryson, Dr. Linda Scott Cummings (, or Dr. Ed Hopkins (