Ongoing domestic research

Another focus of research in the PSL is on the interactions between human, climate and landscape dynamics in North America during the Pleistocene and Holocene.

In the southwestern United States, lake sediment records of hydroclimate and environmental variability are being developed from drought-sensitive New Mexico and Arizona. In the mid-continental United States, we are working to reconstruct late Glacial and Holocene hydroclimate variability using paired oxygen isotope records from hydrologically open and closed lake systems.

We are also developing flood histories and records of American Indian land use and site occupation using sediment archives from floodplain lakes on the Ohio and Illinois Rivers that are also adjacent to Mississippian archeological sites.

As we work abroad, we don't forget to match our data with research here in the U.S.

Holocene Paleoclimates

PSL research in the midcontinental US has a two primary foci. The first is to reconstruct hydroclimate changes using a paired lake approach that utilizes hydrologically open and closed lake systems. Isotopic variability in precipitation over the midcontinental US is affected by a variety of processes, including variations in the seasonality of moisture sources, temperature and the amount affect. By utilizing isotopic systems that reflect the isotopic composition of precipitation and those that also incorporate evaporation, we are isolating changes in local effective moisture and using quantitative modeling to constrain past hydroclimate variation.

Late Holocene Climate-Human-Land Use Dynamics

The second thrust of Midwestern PSL research is to understand the interaction between paleo-American Indian populations, climate and land use prior to and after European contact. For this work the PSL is collaborating with a team of (geo)archaeologists from IUPUI and IU-Bloomington. Complete lake sediment archives have been collected from multiple floodplain lakes along the Ohio and Illinois Rivers that are adjacent to known archaeological sites, such as the Kincaid Mounds.

NSF REU Collaboration

As part of the late Holocene geoarchological research, the PSL and Dr. Bird mentored 9 NSF REU students participating in the Angle Mounds REU based at IUPUI.

Get involved

There are always openings in the PSL. Whether you are looking to work in research for a few semesters, or want to purse a Ph.D. program, the PSL has you covered.

Undergraduate research opportunities

Research opportunities are currently available for undergraduate students interested in participating in ongoing paleoclimate research right here in Indiana and beyond. Contact Dr. Bird directly to inquire about what opportunities are available.

Working in a lab as a research assistant allows you to gain some great experience and serious credentials that will help you in your future career path. As a research assistant in the PSL, you will gain hands-on research experience, collaborate with a professor who is an expert in her field, and get to know other professors and graduate students at IUPUI through joint lab meetings.

Learn more about undergraduate degrees in earth sciences

Graduate research opportunities

The PSL is currently seeking applicants that wish to pursue to work in a paleoclimatology research lab in the Department of Earth Sciences at IUPUI. The student will work on NSF funded research that could take them to places all over the world! Before, we have explored places such as Midwest U.S., Tibet, Peru, Colombia, and more.

The research will include extensive fieldwork in addition to a variety of laboratory and analytical activities. Familiarity with sediment cores, physical sedimentology and isotope geochemistry is desired, but not essential. Those seeking a M.Sc. are particularly encouraged to apply. Interested candidates should send their C.V. directly to Dr. Broxton Bird. Please contact Dr. Bird with any questions about the positions.

Learn more about the Applied Earth Sciences Ph.D. program