Pliocene Arctic climate and ecosystems
My research into Pliocene climate focuses on the application of light stable isotopic and dendrochronologic techniques to exceptionally well preserved fossil material in order to reconstruct Pliocene Arctic climates. This work is ongoing as part of the PoLAR-FIT working group. I have worked on fossil forest deposits on Ellesmere Island (Csank et al. 2011a; 2011b; Fletcher et al. 2019) and returned to that site in 2016 to collect additional samples. I have also worked on Bylot Island (Csank et al. 2013) and visited Prince Patrick Island in 2017.
For media coverage of some of my earlier work see:
Arctic nearing greenhouse gas tipping point
Ancient fossils hold clues for predicting future climate change, scientists report
Arctic fossils provide clues to future climate
Arctic Climate May Be More Sensitive to Warming Than Thought, Says New Study
Storm Tracks in the Pacific Northwest
The trajectory of incoming storms from the Pacific Ocean influences precipitation patterns in the western United States, shaping drought and flood events. In this project, we are using seasonally resolved tree-ring data (based on earlywood and latewood widths, δ18O, and δ13C) and weekly precipitation isotope sampling at nearby sites to reconstruct storm-track position and moisture delivery pathways to the U.S. Pacific Northwest.
Empire, Trees & Climate in the Atlantic
As part of a collaborative project with a research team consisting of historians and archeologists to in the area of critical physical geography we are using a mixed methods approach, using dendro-provenancing, customs records and historical documentation to establish where wood from historic structures in Bermuda came from, if not local. In partnership with the National Museum of Bermuda and the Bermuda department of Conservation Services I also have a MS student (Jehren Boehm) working to see if it is possible to develop a chronology from Bermuda cedar and if so what such a chronology can tell us about past climate of Bermuda.
Isotopic response to spruce beetle and competition in SW Alaska
Recent wide spread tree mortality in SW Alaska as a result of spruce beetle outbreak is a concern of forest managers and climate scientists alike. carbon and oxygen isotope ratios of tree rings from both live and dead trees were used to assess whether trees were already under stress as a result of drought conditions prior to beetle attack. We published the results of this study in 2016 and are currently working on a follow-up study to assess whether competition in Alaskan forests can alter the physiological response of trees to climate.