Paleoenvironmental Change Research Group

Contact Info:

Dr. Chad Lane

Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences

Phone: (910) 962-3466 Fax: (910) 962-3490


Research Projects

Current Projects

I am always looking for good graduate and undergraduate students interested in working on research projects. If you are interested in any of the projects listed below or have an idea for a related (or unrelated!) project, please feel free to contact me.

Developing a Network of n-Alkane Hydrogen Isotope Records in Costa Rica to Elucidate Drivers and Impacts of Holocene Droughts (NSF-GSS 1660185)

This project will address patterns and drivers of past droughts and their effects on humans and the biosphere. The researchers will analyze lake-sediment cores to develop records of precipitation variability associated with past shifts in major drivers of atmospheric circulation that influenced the broader circum-Caribbean region, including the U.S. Gulf Coast. The precipitation records will be compared to evidence of past human activity and biomass burning in lake watersheds, to explore local consequences of regional shifts in atmospheric drivers. The work will form the foundation for an expanded network of precipitation reconstructions across the region that will allow examination of processes at a larger spatial scale and of additional drivers. This project is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Sally Horn (University of Tennessee) and Doug Gamble (UNCW).

Project Website

Revisiting the Paleoenvironmental Records Stored in North Carolina's Mysterious Carolina Bays

Were they created by aliens? Was it a meteor? I don't really care (well actually I do and do know), but what I really care about is that they all seem to be filled with some really old mud. Several of these elliptical lakes were cored by some of the greats in paleolimnological history like David Frey, Donald Whitehead, and William Watts back in the 50's, 60's, and 70's who documented extraordinary changes in pollen assemblages associated with climate change spanning glacial to interglacial periods. Our goal is to now apply some of the cool new proxy techniques that have developed since that time to see if we can't detect more subtle changes in climate, vegetation, and fire history including isotopic and charcoal analyses.


Past Projects and Publications

Atmospheric ethanol source determiniation via stable carbon isotope analysis Felix et al. 2019

Sourcing organic mattter contributions to a South American lagoon Bergamino et al. 2018

Effects of fertilizaiton on switchgrass production and soil carbon and nitrogen cycling Li et al. 2018

Paleolimnological records of vegetation, climate, and fire from Jones and Singletary Lake (Carolina Bays) Spencer et al. 2017; Lane et al. 2018

Climate and environmental change in coastal Portugal Taylor et al. 2018

Modern n-alkane abundances and isotopic values in vegetaiton of a gymnosperm-dominated ecosystem Lane 2017

Confirmation of tropical strom deposits using stable oxygen isotope analyses of ostracods Lane et al. 2017; LeBlanc et al. 2017

Climate and fire history from Wolf Lake, Adirondacks, New York Stager et al. 2017

Evidence of minimal pre-aging of alkanes in a small tropical watershed Lane et al. 2016

Bioluminescence in Mangrove Lagoon, St. Croix Reidhaar et al. 2016

Sedimentary evidence of mid-Holocene aridity from a North Carolina wetland Tanner et al. 2015

The Terminal Classic Drought (TCD) in the Caribbean Antilles Lane et al. 2014

Paleoenvironmental history of bioluminescent Laguna Grande, Puerto Rico Lane et al. 2013

Climatic control on biomass burning in the Americas after AD 1500 Power et al. 2013

Nutrient impacts on heterotrophic biofilm processing of dissolved organic carbon Lane et al. 2013

Temperature impacts on carbon metabolism in boreal forest soils Li et al. 2012;Ziegler et al. 2013;Li et al. 2013

Little Ice Age climate in the mid-elevations of the Dominican Republic Lane et al. 2011

Compound-specific isotope analysis of lake sediments from Lago de las Morrenas, Costa Rica Lane et al. 2011; Lane and Horn 2013

Modern maize pollen deposition in Wisconsin lake sediments Lane et al. 2010

Bulk and compound-specific carbon isotope analysis of marsh plants and sediments Tanner et al. 2010

Natural and anthropogenic environmental change in the Dominican Republic Lane et al. 2009

Detection and analysis of prehistoric maize agriculture using bulk stable carbon isotope analysis of lake and swamp sediments Lane et al. 2004; Lane et al 2008; Lane et al. 2009

Pollen evidence of prehistoric maize agriculture in the Dominican Republic Lane et al. 2008

Applicability of Rapaport's Rule to tree species in North America Lane 2007

Laboratory production of charcoal specimens from vouchered plant samples Orvis et al. 2005