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School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment

Climate Change

Studies of modern and ancient climate change using a variety of biotic and geochemical proxies preserved in marine, lacustrine and terrestrial records. Also examination of the effects of climate change on biotic and abiotic systems, and human social adaptation to those disruptions. Faculty are actively involved in research on paleooceanography, paleoclimatology, and biological and societal responses to climate change in areas all around the globe.

Climate Change Faculty


David Barbeau

Associate Professor, SEOE. Clastic sedimentology, tectonics and sedimentation, basin analysis, thermochronology, sediment provenance, and tectonics of the southern Andes and Antarctica.

Monica Barra

Monica Barra

Monica Barra completed her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York in 2018. Additionally, she holds a masters degree in American Studies from Rutgers University and a bachelors degree in Urban Studies and Literature from the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies at the University of Redlands. Monica joined the University of South Carolina in 2018 as an assistant professor in the area of Race and Environment at the School of the Earth, Ocean, and Environment with a joint appointment in the Department of Anthropology.


Claudia Benitez-Nelson

Biogeochemical cycling and export fluxes of nutrients. Global climate change in past and present day environments. Utilization of cosmogenic and uranium series radioisotopes to study ecological processes. Development of new analytical techniques.


Ronald Benner

My research focuses on the carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous cycles in aquatic environments, from wetlands to the open ocean. Experimental approaches are used to characterize biogeochemical processes and the roles of microorganisms as key players in the production and transformation of organic matter. Geochemical approaches are used to integrate processes over space and time.


Carol Boggs

We focus on evolutionary, functional and behavioral ecology, with applications to conservation and environmental issues. The major question is how environmental change and variation affect life history traits, population structure and dynamics, and species interactions over ecological and evolutionary time. Environments vary on multiple spatial and temporal scales. Additionally, both the abiotic and biotic components of the environment may vary, for example in cases of species' invasions.

Annie Bourbonnais

Annie Bourbonnais

Marine biogeochemistry, Marine nitrogen cycle, Nitrogen and carbon stable isotopes, Molecular microbial ecology, Dissolved gases (N 2 , O 2 , Ar) as tracers of oceanic physical and biological processes, Trace gas production (N 2 O) in marine environments, Chemosynthetic deep-sea ecosystems, Oxygen minimum zones.


Subrahmanyam Bulusu

My research is in Remote Sensing, Satellite Oceanography, Physical Oceanography and Air-Sea Interaction. My research has focused on the use of Satellite Remote Sensing for studying ocean circulation utilizing both active microwave sensors (altimeters, scatterometers, imagers) and passive optical sensors (ocean color and sea-surface-temperature), as well as in the combination of passive/active (radiometer/radar) instruments.

David Fuente

David Fuente

 Dr. Fuente's research is situated at the intersection of infrastructure planning, environmental policy, and international development and focuses specifically on the provision of water and sanitaiton services in low- and middle-income countries. Trained as an environmental economist, urban planner, and environmental scientist, Dr. Fuente has conducted extensive fieldwork in East Africa (Kenya), the Middle East (Egypt), and South Asia (India). His research has been supported by the World Bank, USAID, the SIDA-funded Environment for Development Initiative, and the Global Development Network.

Dean Hardy

Dean Hardy

Dean holds his Ph.D. in Integrative Conservation and Geography, M.S. in Ecology, and B.S. in Marine Sciences. As a broadly trained geographer, he applies an integrative approach to work across multiple ways of knowing socio-environmental challenges. He draws on political ecology, hazards geography, environmental justice studies, and critical race theory to examine landscapes as socio-natural assemblages.

Nick Peng

Nick Peng

Microbes interact among themselves and with the physical world. They respond to environmental changes in ways that shape the physical world in turn. I develop, apply, and integrate novel methods in microbial ecology and geochemistry to study these intricate relationships found in marine environments.


Dwayne Porter

Dr. Porter’s research interests include exploring and expanding the increasingly important roles that technology and technological innovations play in monitoring, assessing, modeling and managing our coastal environmental resources and associated environmental and public health issues. Dr. Porter focuses on the use of the tools of Geographic Information Sciences (GISciences) to develop and apply spatial models to study the impacts of anthropogenic and physiographic influences to coastal resources.  


Jennifer R. Pournelle

Millennial-scale urban sustainability and complex societies, studied through: landscape archaeology, anthropological archaeology, archaeology of the Middle East, cultural ecology, historical ecology, as they relate to wetland environments. Interpreting and relating air photography and satellite imagery to other paleoenvironmental data, toward reconstructing past landscapes.

Katherine Ryker

Katherine Ryker

Dr. Ryker explores connections between reformed classroom practices, student learning, teaching beliefs and the implementation of inquiry-based labs in introductory geoscience lectures and labs. Her research interests also include online educational resources, professional development, and student learning strategies and engagement in large introductory courses. She is part of a team looking at the connection between teaching beliefs and practices for geoscience faculty members at a variety of institutions across the country.


Lori Ziolkowski

Bioavailability of Arctic soils, Biogeochemistry of darkening glacier surfaces, Environmental controls of hydrocarbon degradation


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.