Last week I successfully defended my dissertation! My Ph.D. work at Penn State has focused on improving geochemical tools for reconstructing past wildfires, and specifically, applying these methods in the Neogene. This work has improved our understanding of the relationships between fire, climate, and grassland ecology.
Photo Credit Julia Carr
At the defense, I chose to talk about of my work in Pliocene Australia. It was a very eerie feeling to give a talk on paleofire in Australia while the country was experiencing some of the most severe fires on record. Understanding how changing climate impacts fire in the Earth system has very real implications for the communities effected by these disasters. I am so fortunate to have the support of family, friends, and colleagues both at the defense and over the course of the last 5 years. Now time to work on getting those chapters published!