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Analysis of sediment cores

Research Achievements

Analysis of sediment cores

Sediment cores from the ocean floor in the Santa Barbara Basin provide high-resolution records of regional climate, intermediate and surface water processes, and seafloor oxygenation. Trainee Sarah Moffitt combines analysis of sediment cores with modern seafloor ecology and oceanography to construct records of paleoenvironmental change.

Moffitt found that during the most recent event of global-scale climate warming (16,000-10,900 years before the present), severely hypoxic waters were less than 300 meters from the ocean surface. The rapid expansion of hypoxic waters dramatically impacted oxygen-dependent seafloor communities, revealing that regional seafloor community ecology is tightly correlated to global climate events.

Moffitt's work underscores the extreme capacity for the expansion of low-oxygen waters during events of global warming, and the important role that global climate plays in affecting seafloor ecosystems.