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Coral paleoclimate  |  Climate Science  |  GIS  |  Data Visualization 


Thanks for checking out my website! I am a Climate Scientist and recently defended my PhD at the University of Arizona, where I worked with Dr. Diane Thompson in the Tropical Climate and Coral Reefs Lab. For my research, I analyze the geochemistry of coral skeletons from the equatorial Pacific to piece together past climate variability. I am interested in working with climate and geographic information systems (GIS) data. I am passionate about finding ways to visualize data in the most understandable, aesthetically-pleasing, and intuitive ways. 

Graduate work:

I helped develop a new coral-based proxy for trade-wind behavior, the manganese-to-calcium ratio (Mn/Ca) of the skeleton. First, I identified the mechanism behind how this coral proxy works (i.e., how wind patterns translate to changes in coral Mn/Ca), which constitutes Chapter 1 of my dissertation. Second, I investigated how the crystal structure of coral aragonite may influence the trace elements it incorporates as a function of changes in the coral's environment (Chapter 2), which was the topic of my fellowship in the Mineral Sciences Department of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, where I worked with Dr. Gabriela Farfan.  I applied this coral Mn/Ca proxy to a suite of coral records from across the equatorial Pacific to develop a composite coral-based wind reconstruction that extends the observational wind record by about a century (Chapter 3). Finally, I identified and compared the temporal variability of trade winds in the Western Equatorial Pacific according to this new coral-based composite record, wind observations, zonal wind reanalysis data, simulated wind data (AMIP, piControl), and future projections by utilization spectral estimation techniques (Chapter 4). This project is extremely interdisciplinary, and has given me the opportunity to conduct field work and lab work, and analyze climate model products. 

Data visualization:

Throughout my PhD, my favorite moments were those spent making site maps and figures for my manuscripts. I love the challenge of finding the best way to communicate data and a specific message or argument via a visualization. For this reason, I also completed a Professional GIS Technology Certificate at UA to learn how to use ArcGIS Pro to effectively visualize geospatial data. You can check out some examples of my work in my Portfolio. Since then, I have continued to develop my expertise and style by creating maps and data visualizations, and enjoy completing GIS-related tasks for various organizations on a volunteer basis.  I hope to continue applying my passion for data visualization and GIS to climate change/sustainability-focused work throughout my career. 

Photograph taken by Bess Koffman.
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