My research in the Pearson Lab at Harvard lies at the intersection of chemistry, geology, and biology. I study the carbon isotopic signatures of marine phytoplankton. These signatures are preserved in marine sediments through geologic time and are used to reconstruct information about past environments, including long-term histories of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.
Through a combination of experimental geobiology and modeling approaches, I aim to better understand this signal and what it can reveal about carbon cycling through time. I use a highly-controlled chemostat culture system to experiment with modern phytoplankton and measure their carbon isotope signatures. The primary goal of my research is to shed light on the biological mechanisms underpinning carbon isotope fractionation in phytoplankton.
Fields of Interest: Organic Geochemistry, Carbon Cycle, Paleoclimate, Geobiology