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Associate Professor Sarah Feakins (Earth Sciences)

Sarah_Feakins_3_PZZ Sarah Feakins joined the Department of Earth Sciences in 2008.  Her research is focused on reconstructing past climatic and terrestrial environmental change, including the environments in which our species evolved. Her lab work centers on teasing out the climatic, environmental and biological signals contained within organic molecules, specifically the waxy coating on plant leaves. These leaf waxes are preserved over millions of years in the sediments below lakes and oceans. Understanding how our environment responded to climate change in the past helps to assess our future. More information about her research is available at:

Recent publications include:

Feakins, S.J., Warny, S., DeConto, R. M., 2014. Snapshot of cooling and drying before onset of Antarctic Glaciation, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 404, 154-166.

Feakins, S.J., Ellsworth, P.V., Sternberg., L.D., 2013 Lignin methoxyl hydrogen isotope ratios in a coastal ecosystem, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 121, 54-66.

Feakins, S.J., 2013. Pollen-corrected leaf wax D/H reconstructions of northeast African hydrological changes during the late Miocene, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 374, 62-71.

Feakins, S.J., Levin, N.E., Liddy, H.M., Sieracki, A., Eglinton, T.I.,  Bonnefille, R., 2013. Northeast African vegetation change over 12 million years, Geology, 41, 295-298. open access article

Feakins, S.J., Rincon, M., Pinedo, P., 2013, Analytical challenges in the quantitative determination of 2H/1H ratios of methyl iodide, Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 27, 430-436.

Feakins, S.J., Warny, S. and Lee, J.E., 2012. Hydrologic cycling over Antarctica during the Middle Miocene warming, Nature Geoscience, doi:10.1038/NGEO1498.

Enjoy media coverage of Professor Feakins’ research:

NBC4 News Conference - TV interview on Governor Brown's declaration of drought in California, past droughts and future predictions.

The Economist - Grassed Up: A cherished theory about why people walk upright has just bitten the dust.

National Geographic - Warm Snap Turned Antarctica Green Around the Edges