The integration of astrochronology and constrained optimization (CONOP) to resolve the history of the Southern Ocean during the Neogene

To improve the temporal resolution of geologic histories in deep time, I propose to integrate the global synthesis capabilities of constrained optimization (CONOP) with the geochronologically rich outputs of astrochronology. Method development will proceed using data from Neogene cores in the Southern Ocean as a case study. Although the best-constrained histories of this region are restricted to the Quaternary, modern warming will likely exceed the hottest climates of this era within centuries.

An “astroCONOP” method could provide useful insight into the behavior of the Antarctic ice sheet and the Southern Ocean during the warmer climates of the Pliocene and Miocene and could be a versatile tool throughout geologic time.


Inspired by a lifelong passion for ancient life and volunteer work at the Paleontological Research Institution in my home-town of Ithaca, NY, I was encouraged to pursue a career in the study of Earth history. I started with an undergraduate degree at SUNY Geneseo, where I took part in biostratigraphic research of Devonian strata in Mongolia under the direction of D. Jeffrey Over. I built on this experience with a Master’s Degree, advised by Carlton Brett at the University of Cincinnati, where I honed stratigraphic skills in a regional study of Silurian sedimentary units in Ohio, Kentucky, and New York. I was subsequently employed as a staff geologist for Chemostrat Inc., where I gained hands-on experience in the study of elemental geochemistry and its widespread applications to a variety of geological questions. I leveraged this experience into my current Ph.D. work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I am advised by Stephen Meyers. My research seeks to integrate several methods of timescale calibration to build better histories, focused particularly on Neogene climate and biotic change in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. With a Schlanger Fellowship, I look forward to devoting myself entirely to a goal of building tools for better resolution of geologic time in the Southern Ocean and beyond.