Dr. Sarah Ivory
College: Earth and Mineral Sciences
Address: 511 Deike Building
Terrestrial Paleoecology Lab
I use plant fossils to reconstruct ancient vegetation throughout the tropics. The analysis of fossil pollen alongside sedimentary indicators can tell us about how climate shaped past environments and how terrestrial ecosystems have changed over time.
This project focuses on a sedimentary section from an ancient lake in Ethiopia where the earliest known fossil from our own genus, Homo, was discovered. We are going to reconstruct the ancient environment and vegetation conditions leading up to and contemporaneous with the appearance of this early human. The work will involve analysis of the mineralogical properties of these lake sediments through smear slide analysis, measurements of magnetic properties, and elemental composition. Further, the student will work closely and collaborate with scientists using fossil pollen to reconstruct vegetation to put together a detailed picture of environmental change.