Naisha Sylvestre ’25


Molecular Biology

Project Title

Metal Isotopes in Ancient Carbonates

Certificate(s): Global Health and Health Policy, Latin American Studies

My project’s objective was to gather data on the isotopic carbon and oxygen content of ancient carbonate samples across time and ocean depth. This isotopic data will allow us to infer whether differences in sample composition are due to local processes of rock formation or more indicative of global paleoclimate. The carbonate rocks studied may preserve information from ancient surface environments about their local climate and ecosystems, and thus may serve as proxy archives of paleoclimate at various times in the ancient past. I analyzed ancient carbonate samples from a region in the Pacific Ocean by first using imaging techniques to identify each sample’s composition and then performing mass spectroscopy to determine isotopic composition and concentration. Using isotopic records in this manner is somewhat new in the field, and I enjoyed getting to work with people at the cutting edge of paleoclimate research. I learned many lab skills including experimental design and how to operate seminal technology such as automatic ion chromatography and mass spectroscopy machines. I will utilize the skills I developed in my junior independent work, senior thesis and beyond Princeton.

Internship Year


Project Category

Climate and Environmental Science


Higgins Lab, Department of Geosciences, Princeton University - Princeton, New Jersey


John Higgins, Professor of Geosciences; Matthew Nadeau, Ph.D. candidate, Geosciences