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Earth History

From crystals to climate: New ‘gold standard’ timeline connects volcanic eruptions to climate change

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - 12:00pm

Princeton University researchers may have rewritten the history of the Columbia River Flood Basalts, a set of ancient eruptions so voluminous that it could bury the continental United States to a depth of 80 feet. Most geologists believed that the eruptions took almost 2 million years, but graduate student Jennifer Kasbohm — who was supported by a PEI Walbridge Graduate Award — and PEI associated faculty Blair Schoene reported in Science Advances that they may have happened more than twice as fast.

PEI Faculty Seminar: "3 Million Years of Global Climate Change Captured in Ice Cores"

Michael Bender, Professor of Geosciences, Emeritus, and Senior Geoscientist, presented, "3 Million Years of Global Climate Change Captured in Ice Cores," at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 3. Bender was the third speaker in the Spring 2018 PEI Faculty Seminar Series.

Historians to climate researchers: "Let's talk"

Publish Date: 
Monday, March 19, 2018 - 12:30pm

History can tell us a lot about environmental upheaval, according to Princeton history professor and PEI associated faculty John Haldon and alumnus Lee Mordechai. What is missing in today’s debate about climate change is using what we know about how past societies handled environmental stresses to help inform our own situation.

Princeton geologists solve fossil mystery by creating 3-D ‘virtual tour’ through rock

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 12:15pm

With an industrial grinder and a super-high-resolution camera, PEI associated faculty Adam Maloof, a Princeton associate professor of geosciences, and graduate student Akshay Mehra can deconstruct rock samples and create three-dimensional digital versions that scientists can look at from any angle. In addition, they have developed software that allows the computer to segment images and isolate objects without human bias.

Theory suggests root efficiency, independence drove global spread of flora

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 1:00pm

Researchers from Princeton University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences suggest that plants were able to spread worldwide thanks to root adaptations that allowed them to become more efficient and independent. As plant species spread from their nutrient-rich tropical origins, roots became thinner so they could more efficiently explore poor soils for nutrients, and they shed their reliance on symbiotic fungi. The researchers report that root diameter and reliance on fungi most consistently characterize the plant communities across entire biomes such as deserts, savannas and temperate forests.

Farms, petroculture and the Environmental Nexus: Four new environmental studies courses and ENV 200 for Spring 2018

Publish Date: 
Monday, December 4, 2017 - 12:00pm

Four new environmental studies courses and the popular "Environmental Nexus" class are among the many Spring 2018 classes from PEI's Certificate Program in Environmental Studies. Registration begins Dec. 6.

When Corals Met Algae: Symbiotic Relationship Crucial to Reef Survival Dates to the Triassic

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, November 2, 2016 - 2:30pm

The mutually beneficial relationship between algae and modern corals — which provides algae with shelter, gives coral reefs their colors and supplies both organisms with nutrients — began more than 210 million years ago, according to a new study by an international team of scientists including researchers from Princeton University.

Ice Cores Reveal a Slow Decline in Atmospheric Oxygen Over the Last 800,000 Years

Publish Date: 
Friday, September 23, 2016 - 1:45pm

Princeton University researchers have compiled 30 years of data to construct the first ice core-based record of atmospheric oxygen concentrations spanning the past 800,000 years, according to a paper published today in the journalScience.

PEI Hosts Fifth Annual Discovery Day

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - 10:00am

The Princeton Environmental Institute hosted its 5th Annual Discovery Day on Thursday, May 4th. Discovery Day is a multidisciplinary poster session celebrating undergraduate senior thesis research on environmental issues. Sixty-five (65) students from 16 academic departments showcased their work, which was mentored by 47 faculty advisers.

Drilling Down: Trees Offer Clues to Past Climate

Publish Date: 
Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 1:00pm

There are more clues to the past lurking beneath a tree's bark than just rings to count.

Hunting down that evidence starts with a simple boring device, as demonstrated recently along Washington Road on the Princeton University campus as 15 graduate students, researchers and junior faculty, guided by instructors, extracted a long, thin piece of a conifer's core during a workshop on dendroclimatology — the science of determining past climates from trees.

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