The Quaternary Period, the most recent in Earth’s history, witnessed numerous climatic fluctuations, glaciations, sea-level changes, and shifts in organism distribution. These changes shaped our contemporary environments and strongly influenced human evolution. A knowledge of Quaternary events facilitates understanding of current environmental changes and may enable anticipation of future changes. Maine was particularly affected by Quaternary events because its landscape was shaped largely by glaciation and its biota was influenced strongly by climatic change.
Quaternary and Climate Studies commonly are interdisciplinary and thus require cooperation between several academic departments. To facilitate such cooperation, a Climate Change Institute, dedicated to teaching and research, was established at The University of Maine in 1972. The Institute is staffed by members of the Departments of Anthropology, Biological Sciences, Computer Science, Geological Sciences, School of Marine Sciences, and History. The Institute is not a formal academic department. Rather, it serves to organize and promote interdepartmental teaching and research related to Quaternary Studies.
The Master of Science in Quaternary and Climate Studies is offered. The program provides students with training in the archaeology, biology, climatology and/or geology of the Quaternary Period and contributes to an appreciation of the interaction of these fields towards a better understanding of Quaternary paleoclimatology, paleoecology, and prehistoric archaeology. Many of the courses pertinent to the Quaternary Period are listed under offerings by cooperating departments. Graduate thesis credits are arranged by the staff.
Research interests of staff members focus on historically oriented problems of the Quaternary Period. These interests overlap and complement each other to a degree which insures cooperation, and encourages interdisciplinary approaches and joint research projects. Graduate students may pursue interdisciplinary thesis projects and will be supervised jointly by several staff members. Although much Institute research is conducted in New England and adjacent Canada, projects are also current in the western and northeastern United States, Canada, India, Nepal, China, the Arctic, New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Chile, Antarctica, Peru, and Cuba.
Research assistantships are available on a competitive basis through both the Climate Change Institute and the Graduate School.
Daniel F. Belknap, Ph.D. (Delaware, 1979), Professor of Earth Sciences, Center for Marine Studies, Quaternary and Climate Studies, and Oceanography. Marine geology, quaternary stratigraphy, and sedimentology.
Harold W. Borns, Jr., Ph.D. (Boston University, 1959), Research Professor and Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences and Quaternary and Climate Studies. Quaternary and glacial geology.
Fei Chai, Ph.D. (Duke, 1995), Professor of Marine Sciences and Quaternary and Climate Studies. Ecosystem modeling, tropical oceanography, El Niño, ocean carbon cycle.
Sudarshan S. Chawathe, Ph.D. (Stanford, 1999), Associate Professor of Computer Science. Semistructured data, streaming data, peer-to-peer systems, autonomous environments, data exploration and mining, differencing, and change management.
George H. Denton, Ph.D. (Yale, 1965), Professor of Earth Sciences and Quaternary and Climate Studies. Paleoecology of lakes and glacial geology.
Ann Dieffenbacher-Krall, Ph.D. (Maine, 1998), Associate Research Professor of Quaternary and Climate Studies. Paleoecology.
James L. Fastook, Ph.D. (Maine, 1976), Professor of Computer Sciences. Numerical modeling of glaciers and ice sheets.
Ivan J. Fernandez, Ph.D. (Maine, 1981), Professor of Soil Science, Biogeochemistry and forest ecosystems.
Brenda Hall, Ph.D. (Maine, 1997), Professor of Earth Sciences and Quaternary and Climate Studies. Glacial geology, geomorphology, geochronology.
Gordon S. Hamilton, Ph.D. (University of Cambridge, 1992), Associate Research Professor of Quaternary and Climate Studies. Polar glaciology, climate change, remote sensing, and satellite geodesy.
Roger Hooke, (California Inst. of Tech., 1965), Research Professor of Earth Sciences and Quaternary and Climate Studies. Geomorphology and glaciology.
George L. Jacobson Jr., Ph.D. (Minnesota, 1975), Professor Emeritus of Plant Biology and Quaternary and Climate Studies. Paleoecology and plant ecology.
Shaleen Jain, Ph.D. (Utah State, 2001), Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Hydroclimatology, water resources engineering, climate variability and change, adaptive environmental management and decision making.
Alice Kelley, Ph.D. (Maine, 2006), Assistant Research Professor, Geoarchaeology, surficial geology, and geomorphology.
Joseph T. Kelley, Ph.D. (Lehigh, 1980), Professor of Earth Sciences. Marine geology, sea level change.
Peter O. Koons, Ph.D., (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, 1983), Professor of Earth Sciences. Geodynamics.
Karl Kreutz, Ph.D. (New Hampshire, 1998), Professor of Earth Sciences and Quaternary and Climate Studies. Isotope geochemistry, climate and environmental variability.
Andrei Kurbatov, Ph.D. (SUNY Buffalo, 2001), Assistant Research Professor of Quaternary and Climate Studies. Explosive volcanism, tephrachronology, glaciochemistry.
Kirk A. Maasch, Ph.D. (Yale, 1989), Professor of Earth Sciences and Quaternary and Climate Studies. Theory of climate.
Paul Andrew Mayewski, Ph.D. (Ohio State, 1973), honorary Ph.D. (Stockholm University, 2000), Director and Professor, Climate Change Institute and Professor of Earth Sciences. Climate change and atmospheric chemistry.
Steve A. Norton, Ph.D. (Harvard, 1967), Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences and Quaternary and Climate Studies. Paleolimnology, environmental chemistry, isotope geochemistry.
Costanza Ocampo-Raeder, Ph.D. (Stanford, 2006), Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Ecological Anthropology.
Brian Olsen, Ph.D. (Virginia Tech, 2007), Assistant Professor of Biology and Ecology. Evolutionary ecology and ornithology.
Michael Peterson, Ph.D. (Northwestern, 1994), Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Biological-physical interactions.
Brian Robinson, Ph.D. (Brown, 2001), Associate Professor of Anthropology and Quaternary and Climate Studies. Prehistoric archaeology, Northeastern United States, paleoindians.
Paul “Jim” Roscoe, Ph.D. (Rochester, 1983), Professor of Anthropology. Anthropology of climate change, warfare, social and political evolution.
Daniel H. Sandweiss, Ph.D. (Cornell, 1989), Professor of Anthropology and Quaternary and Climate Studies. Prehistoric and historic archaeology, coastal adaptations, climate change.
David Sanger, Ph.D. (Washington, 1967), Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Quaternary and Climate Studies. Prehistoric archaeology, coastal adaptations, hunter-gatherers.
Jasmine Saros, Ph.D. (Lehigh University, 1999), Associate Professor of Biological Sciences and Quaternary and Climate Studies. Paleoecology.
Molly Schauffler, Ph.D. (Maine, 2003), Assistant Research Professor of Quaternary and Climate Studies. Paleoecology, environmental science education.
Kristin Sobolik, Ph.D. (Texas A&M, 1991), Professor of Anthropology and Quaternary and Climate Studies. Archaeology, paleonutrition, desertic adaptations.
Marcella H. Sorg, Ph.D. (The Ohio State University, 1979), Research Associate Professor in the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, Department of Anthropology , and Climate Change Institute. Adjunct Professor of Anthropology and Consultant to the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in Maine. Forensic Anthropology, taphonomy of human remains.
Catherine F. West, Ph.D. (Washington, 2009), Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Quaternary and Climate Studies. Archaeology, historical ecology, Zooarchaeology, coastal ecosystems, Arctic.
Gregory Zaro, Ph.D. (New Mexico, 2005), Associate Professor of Anthropology and Quaternary and Climate Studies. Archaeology, historical ecology, agricultural intensification, urbanism, Mesoamerica, Andes, Eastern Adriatic.
Robert W. Kates, Ph.D. (University of Chicago, 1962), Presidential Professor of Sustainability Science. Sustainability transition, global and local climate change, prevalence and persistence of hunger, long-term population dynamics, theory of the human environment, sustainability science.
David Keefer, Ph.D., (Stanford, 1977), Adjunct Research Professor. Earthquake-induced landslides, geomorphology and hillslope processes, Quaternary Geology, Engineering Geology, Geoarchaeology.
Bruce Smith, Ph.D. (Michigan, 1973), Curator, North American Archaeology, Senior Research Scientist, Archaeobiology Program, National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C. Archaeobiology, domestication, niche construction, archaeology.
J. Curt Stager, Ph.D. (Duke University, 1985), Professor, Natural Sciences, Paul Smith’s College, NY. Tropical climate changes of the last millennium.
Melinda Zeder, Ph.D. (Michigan, 1985), Curator of Old World Archaeology and Archaeozoology, Senior Research Scientist, Archaeobiology Program, National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C. Domestication, agricultural origins, archaeozoology, Near Eastern archaeology.
Nancy Bertler, Ph.D., Assistant Research Professor, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine