2011-2012 Schlanger Fellow – Tali Babila

Tali Babila

Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey


Assessing the Phase Relationship of Temperature and pCO2 during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum








The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) occurring ~55.8 Ma is defined by a negative carbon isotope (δ13C) excursion (CIE) representing a large injection of carbon into the ocean atmosphere reservoirs. Associated with the CIE is a fairly uniform increase of global temperatures suggesting a greenhouse gas induced warming. The mechanism for the carbon release is unknown. However, it is hypothesized that the warming preceded the CIE possibly triggering the dissociation of methane hydrates and release of carbon into the atmosphere. To determine the sequence of environmental and climatic changes at the onset of the CIE we propose to reconstruct sea surface temperature (SST) and atmospheric pCO2 at ODP Leg 174AX Bass River using a novel multi-proxy approach using paired Mg/Ca, B/Ca, Li/Ca and boron isotopes in planktonic foraminifera.




I grew up in Venice Beach, California and in high school I took a Marine Science course that sparked my interest in pursuing Oceanography as a career. I received my B.S degree in Marine Geology from the University of Miami. During my time at UM, I was inspired by the pioneer paleoceanographic work of Cesare Emilani. I am currently pursuing my PhD at the Institute of Marine & Coastal Sciences at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in the chemical oceanography group. My PhD research focuses on the calibration of boron/calcium ratios in surface dwelling foraminifera to reconstruct seawater pH. As a Schlanger Fellow I will use boron-based proxies through the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum in New Jersey ODP cores under the supervision of Dr. Yair Rosenthal, my advisor, and Drs. Ken Miller and Jim Wright. In my spare time I enjoy yoga, camping, hiking, and traveling.