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, the 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, Computer Science, History, and the School of Earth and Climate Sciences, School of Biology and Ecology, and School of Marine Sciences. The Institute is not a formal academic department. Rather, it is a research unit and serves to organize and promote interdepartmental teaching and research related to Quaternary and Climate Studies.
The Climate Change Institute offers a Master of Science degree in Quaternary and Climate Studies. The program provides students with training in the anthropology/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.
The Certificate of Interdisciplinary Climate Studies is a three-course sequence that addresses the needs and interests of graduate students both in CCI as well as those in programs outside of CCI. Currently, many graduate students in CCI obtain degrees in our affiliated departments; they have requested a way to distinguish their climate expertise on their diploma. In addition, there are many graduate students outside of CCI who have expressed an interest in developing interdisciplinary climate expertise.
The certificate benefits current graduate students in CCI by providing formal recognition of their interdisciplinary climate training.
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.
Katherine Allen, Ph.D. (Columbia, 2013), Assistant Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences. Paleoceanography.
Daniel F. Belknap, Ph.D. (Delaware, 1979), Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences, Center for Marine Studies, Quaternary and Climate Studies, and Oceanography. Marine geology, quaternary stratigraphy, and sedimentology.
Sean Birkel, Ph.D. (Maine, 2010), Research Assistant Professor of Earth and Climate Science. Climatology.
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.
Jacquelyn Gill, Ph.D. (Wisconsin, 2012), Associate Professor of Paleoecology and Plant Ecology. Paleoecology, biogeography, vegetation, extinction, climate change, plant-herbivore interactions.
Brenda Hall, Ph.D. (Maine, 1997), Professor of Earth Sciences and Quaternary and Climate Studies. Glacial geology, geomorphology, geochronology.
Cindy Isenhour, Ph.D. (Kentucky, 2010), Associate Professor of Anthropology. Climate policy, embodied energy, consumption.
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), 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), Associate 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 and Climate Sciences. Paleoclimate, glaciology, geochemistry.
Andrei Kurbatov, Ph.D. (SUNY Buffalo, 2001), Associate Research Professor of Quaternary and Climate Studies. Explosive volcanism, tephrachronology, glaciochemistry.
Bradfield Lyon, Ph.D. (MIT, 1991), Associate Research Professor of Earth and Climate Studies. Climate analysis, climate extremes, climate change, impacts of climate variations.
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.
Brian Olsen, Ph.D. (Virginia Tech, 2007), Associate Professor of Biology and Ecology. Evolutionary ecology and ornithology.
Aaron Putnam, Ph.D. (Maine, 2010), Associate Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences. Glacial geomorphology and geochronology, climate dynamics.
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), 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.
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.
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.