Student Vignettes

Michelle Guitard

About my research

My research focuses on reconstructing the history of the Antarctic Ice Sheet on through the Pleistocene (last 2.5 million years). I am specifically interested in outlet glaciers systems in East Antarctica: how they evolved, how they responded to climate and oceanic forcing, and the timescales on which they fluctuate. To answer these questions, I utilize marine sediment cores collected on the Antarctic continental margin and Southern Ocean. Sediment cores preserve lithological and geochemical signals from which we can reconstruct regional environmental conditions, including ice shelf extent and sea surface temperature. To reconstruct these variables, I apply various inorganic and organic geochemical tools, including organic biomarkers, cosmogenic nuclides, and trace metals. My research requires both analytical lab work and shipboard work. To date, I have been on three Antarctic research expeditions: two to the Antarctic Peninsula/Scotia Sea and one to the Sabrina Coast, East Antarctica.


I initially enrolled in the College of Marine Science as a Masters student because I was interested in working with Dr. Amelia Shevenell. I was so happy with the research I was doing that I continued on to a Ph.D. Through the college and associated organizations, I was able to apply for funding that has allowed me to work on my dissertation without any lingering financial burden. Being able to focus on my research instead of on money has allowed me to make the most of my time at CMS.

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