The questions that drive my research revolve around tropical climate change
from the present to the beginning of the Holocene. Specific aspects we
are investigating are the relationships between both modern and historical
oceanic and climatic conditions. Currently, my research involves two major
projects using coral geochemical records (d18O, d13C, Sr/Ca, Mg/Ca) as
proxies for climate reconstruction. The first project involves samples
taken from Looe Key, Florida. We are addressing the reproducibility, reliability
and sensitivity between three overlapping records of Montastrea annularis.
One of the cores from this area extends back ~150 years and will provide
a backdrop for historical changes in this area.
The second project that I am working on involves assessing Holocene climate
variability from M. annularis corals taken from the Dry Tortugas, Florida.
These well-preserved corals will provide us with windows of climate information
spanning the Holocene. Specific time intervals that we will be focusing
on are the 8.2 kyr event and the Holocene thermal maximum.
Additionally, other Holocene work done by my colleagues on lake sediments
and marine cores in Florida and the Gulf of Mexico will provide a unique
opportunity for us to compare multi-proxy interpretations of climate manifestations
in the Gulf of Mexico.
Smith, J. M., T. M. Quinn, K. P. Helmle, and R. B. Halley (2006), Reproducibility
of geochemical and climatic signals in the Atlantic coral Montastraea
faveolata, Paleoceanography, 21, PA1010, doi:10.1029/2005PA001187 (download
Smith, J. M., T. M. Quinn, K. P. Helmle, and R. B. Halley (2006), Geochemical
signatures in a coral from Looe Key, Florida since 1837 A.D., submitted
to Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems (G3)
Eakin CM, Swart PK, Quinn TM, Helmle KP, Smith JM, Dodge RE. (2005). Application
of paleoclimatology to coral reef monitoring and management. Proceedings
of the 10th Annual International Coral Reef Symposium (in press).