Investigating Past Climate

A team of UB students and alums collecting a lake sediment core on western Greenland, summer 2016. We use sediment cores like these to study how climate changed in the past.

Students will research climate change in the Arctic and East Asia employing organic "biomarkers" as proxies for hydroclimate and temperature in lacustrine, marine and loess archives.

Project is Not Currently Available

This project is not being offered for the current term. Please check back next semester for updates.

Project description

The goal of this research is to understand climate (temperature and precipitation) of the past several hundred thousand years ranging from orbital (hundreds of kyr) to decadal timescales. This research focuses on two sensitive regions: the Arctic and East Asia. We employ organic geochemical “biomarkers” as proxies for hydroclimate and temperature in lacustrine, marine and loess archives.

Project outcome

This project will culminate in a written scientific report that may be submitted for publication to a peer-reviewed scientific journal. It can also culminate in a research poster presentation at a scientific conference.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment Longer than a semester; 6-9 months
Start time Spring, Summer
In-person, remote, or hybrid?
Level of collaboration individual student project, likely in collaboration with a graduate student
Benefits Academic Credit, Salary/Stipend, Volunteer
Who is eligible Students with strong communication and organizational skills, interest in geology, chemistry, and climate change, interest in working in a chemistry lab
Goldwater and the National Science Foundation

Students participating in this project might be interested in and eligible for the Goldwater Scholarship and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Connect with the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships to learn more.

Project mentor

Elizabeth Thomas

Assistant Professor


126 Cooke Hall

Phone: (716) 645-4329


Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

  • Attend lab safety training 
  • Contact faculty mentor to discuss project availability and goals.