Steven D. Emslie


Department of Biology & Marine Biology University of North Carolina Wilmington

Ph.D., University of Florida, 1987
M.S., Northern Arizona University, 1982

M.A., University of Colorado, 1977



Emslie, S. D. and J. I. Mead. 2023. Two new late Quaternary avifaunas from the east-central Great Basin with the description of a new species of Falco. Western North American Naturalist 83: 33-50.


Mead, J. I., S. L. Swift, H. Gregory McDonald, and S. D. Emslie. 2023. First Shasta ground sloth (Nothrotheriops; Xenarthra) from the eastern Great Basin, Nevada. Western North American Naturalist 83: 269-276.


Zheng, Z. Q., J. Jin, Y. G. Nie, J. H. Hao, Y. L. Xue, C. Liu, Y. Y. Chen, S. D. Emslie, and X. D. Liu. 2023. Historical population changes of Adélie penguins in the Ross Sea region, Antarctica, and its climatic forcings. Quaternary Science Reviews 318:


Mead, J. I., S. D. Emslie and D. J. Meltzer. 2023. Late Pleistocene herpetofauna from two caves in the Upper Gunnison Basin, Colorado. Western North American Naturalist 83: 413-426.


Michelson, C. I., M. J. Polito, M. B. Wunder, S. D. Emslie, M. D. McCarthy, W. P. Patterson, and K. W. McMahon. 2023. Late Holocene climate change shifted Southern Ocean biogeochemical cycling and predator trophic dynamics. Limnology and Oceanography


Zheng, Z., Wang, X., Jin, J., Hao, J., Nie, Y., Chen, X., Mou, J., Emslie, S. D., and Liu, X. 2022. Fraction distribution and dynamic cycling of phosphorus in lacustrine sediment at Inexpressible Island, Antarctica. Environment International 164: 107228.


Vijande-Vila, Eduardo et al. (+ 18 co-authors). 2022. At the beginnings of the funerary megalithism at Campo De Hockey necropolis. Scientific Reports 12:


Ericson, P., M. Irestedt, D. Zuccon, P. Larsson, Jean-Luc Tison, S. D. Emslie, A. Götherström, J. P. Hume, L. Werdelin, Y. Qu. 2022. A 14,000-year-old avian genome sheds light on the punctuated evolution of a Pleistocene vulture. Communications Biology 5:


Muñoz-Abril, L. C. A. Valle, Juan José Alava, S. E. Janssen, E. M. Sunderland, F. Rubianes-Landázuri, and S. D. Emslie. 2022. Elevated Mercury concentrations and isotope signatures (N, C, Hg) in yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) from the Galápagos Marine Reserve and waters off Ecuador. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry:


Emslie, S. D., A. Maria Silva, A. Valera et al. (+10 other authors). 2021. The use and abuse of cinnabar in Late Neolithic and Copper Age Iberia. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology.


McKenzie, A. C., A. M. Silvestro, L. J. Marti, and S. D. Emslie. 2021. Intraspecific variation in mercury, δ15N, and δ13C among three Adélie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) populations in the northern Antarctic Peninsula region. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry:


Jin, J., X. Chen, L. Xu, Y. Nie, X. Wang, H. Huang, S. D. Emslie, and X. Liu. 2021. Chronology and paleoclimatic implications of lacustrine sediments at Inexpressible Island, Ross Sea, Antarctica. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 576:


Ciriani, Y., M. A. Juáres, M. Mercedes Santos, and S. D. Emslie. 2021.  Stable isotope analysis of Multiple tissues from chick carcasses of three pygoscelid penguins in Antarctica. Marine Ornithology 49: 9-17.


Emslie, S. 2020. Ancient Adélie penguin colony revealed by snowmelt at Cape Irizar, Ross Sea, Antarctica. Geology,


Zarn, A.M., C. A. Valle, D. J. Anderson, R. Brasso, W.D. Fetzner, and S. D. Emslie. 2020.  Stable isotope and mercury analyses of the Galápagos Islands seabird community. Marine Ornithology 48: 71-80.


Emslie, S.D., M. Romero, M. Juáres, and M. Argota. 2019. Holocene occupation history of pygoscelid penguins at Stranger Point, King George (25 de Mayo) Island, northern Antarctic Peninsula. The Holocene.


Emslie, S. D. and D. J. Meltzer. 2019. Late Quaternary vertebrates from the Upper Gunnison Basin, Colorado, and small-mammal community resilience to climate change since the Last Glacial Maximum. Quaternary Research DOI:


Kristan, A. K., S. D. Emslie, and W. P. Patterson. 2019. Stable isotope analyses of ancient and modern Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) mummies from the Ross Sea region, Antarctica. Polar Biology 42: 1183-1192.


Emslie, S. D., A. Alderman, A. McKenzie, R. Brasso, A. Taylor, M. Molina Moreno, O. Cambra, A. González, A. Maria Silva, A. Valera, L. García Sanjuán, and E. Vijande Vila.  2019. Mercury in archaeological human bone: biogenic or diagenetic? Journal of Archaeological Science.


Emslie, S. D., Ashley McKenzie, and William P. Patterson. 2018.  The rise and fall of an ancient Adélie Penguin ‘supercolony’ at Cape Adare, Antarctica. Royal Society Open Science 5: 172032 (

Smykla, J., E. Szarek-Gwiazda, M. Drewnik, W. Knap, and S. D. Emslie.  2018. Natural variability of major and trace elements in non-ornithogenic Gelisols at Edmonson Point, northern Victoria Land, Antarctica. Polish Polar Research 39: 19-50. doi 10.1515/popore-2018-0001

Emslie, S. D., A. McKenzie, L. J. Marti, and M. Santos. 2017. Recent Occupation by Adélie Penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) at Hope Bay and Seymour Island and the ‘Northern Enigma’ in the Antarctic Peninsula. Polar Biology DOI 10.1007/s00300-017-2170-8.


Yang, L., L. Sun, S. D. Emslie, T. Huang, Y. Gao, W. Yang, Z. Chu, and Y. Wang. 2017.  Oceanographic mechanisms and penguin population increases during the Little Ice Age in the southern Ross Sea, Antarctica. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 481: 136-142.


Newtoff, K. N. and S. D. Emslie.  2017.  Mercury exposure and diet in Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) in North Carolina, USA.  Waterbirds 40: 50-57.

Polito, M. J., R. L. Brasso, W. Z. Trivelpiece, N. Karnovsky, W. P. Patterson, and S. D. Emslie. 2016. Differing foraging strategies influence mercury (Hg) exposure in an Antarctic penguin community. Environmental Pollution 218: 196-206.

Emslie, S. D., R. Brasso, W. Patterson, A. C. Valera, A. McKenzie, A. M. Silva, J. D. Gleason, and J. D. Blum.  2015. Chronic mercury exposure in Late Neolithic/Chalcolithic populations in Portugal from the cultural use of cinnabar.  Scientific Reports 5: doi:10.1038/srep14679.

Reynard, L., D. Meltzer, S. D. Emslie, and N. Tuross.  2015.  Stable isotopes in yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris) fossils reveal environmental stability in the Late Quaternary of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Quaternary Research 83: 345-354.

Emslie, S. D., L. Coats, and E. Oleksy.  2015.  Packrat middens and the Holocene Paleohistory of Colorado piñon (Pinus edulis) in Western Colorado.  Journal of Biogeography 42: 565-574.

Emslie, S. D., M. J. Polito, R. Brasso, W. P. Patterson and L. Sun.  2014.  Ornithogenic soils and the paleoecology of pygoscelid penguins in Antarctica.  Quaternary International 352: 4-15.

Clucas, G. V., M. J. Dunn, G. Dyke, S. D. Emslie, R. Naveen, M. J. Polito, O. G. Pybus, A. D. Rogers, and T. Hart.  2014. A reversal of fortunes: climate change ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ in Antarctic Peninsula penguins. Scientific Reports 4: 5024 | DOI: 10.1038/srep05024

Polito, M. J., C. S. Reiss, W. Z. Trivelpiece, W. P. Patterson, and S. D. Emslie. 2013. Stable isotopes identify an ontogenetic niche expansion in Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) from the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica.  Marine Biology 160: 1311-1323.

Liu, Xiaodong, Y. Nie, L. Sun, and S. D. Emslie.  2013.  Eco-environmental implications of elemental and carbon isotope distributions in ornithogenic sediments from the Ross Sea region, Antarctica.  Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 117: 99-114.

Emslie, S. D., M. J. Polito, and W. P. Patterson.  2013.  Stable isotope analysis of ancient and modern Gentoo Penguin egg membrane and the krill surplus hypothesis in Antarctica.  Antarctic Science 25: 213-218.

Brasso, Rebecka L., Michael J. Polito, Heather J. Lynch, R. Naveen, and Steven D. Emslie.  2012.  Penguin eggshell membranes reflect homogeneity of mercury in the marine food web surrounding the Antarctic Peninsula. Science of the Total Enviornment 439: 165-171.

Jackson, D. G.1, S. D. Emslie, and M. van Tuinen.  2012.  Genome skimming identifies polymorphism in tern populations and species. BMC Research Notes 5: 1-11.

Nie, Y., Xiaodong Liu, Liguang Sun, and Steven D. Emslie.  2012.  Effect of penguin and seal excrement on mercury distribution in sediments from the Ross Sea region, East Antarctica. Science of the Total Environment 433: 132-140.

McLean, B. and S. D. Emslie.  2012.  Stable isotopes reflect the ecological stability of two high-elevation mammals from the late Quaternary of Colorado. Quaternary Research 77: 408-417.

Winder, V., A. K. Michaelis, and S. D. Emslie.  2012.  Winter survivorship and site fidelity of Nelson’s, Saltmarsh, and Seaside Sparrows in North Carolina.  Condor 114: 421-429.  

Vasil, C. A., M. J. Polito, W. P. Patterson, and S. D. Emslie.  2012.  Wanted: dead or alive? Isotopic analysis (δ13C and δ15N) of Pygoscelis penguin chick tissues supports opportunistic sampling.  Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 26: 487-493. 

Winder, V. and S. D. Emslie. 2012.  Mercury in Nelson’s Sparrow subspecies at breeding sites. PLoS ONE 7 (2): e32257.

Winder, V., A. K. Michaelis, and S. D. Emslie. 2012. Understanding associations between nitrogen and carbon isotopes and mercury in three Ammodramus sparrows. Science of the Total Environment 419: 54–59.   

Jackson, D. G., S. D. Emslie, and M. van Tuinen.  2012.  Genome skimming identifies polymorphism in tern populations and species. BMC Research Notes 5: 1-11.

Polito, M. J., W. Z. Trivelpiece, N. J. Karnovsky, E. Ng, W. P. Patterson, and S. D. Emslie.  2011.  Integrating stomach content and stable isotope analyses to quantify the diets of pygoscelid penguins.  PLoS ONE 6: 1-10.    

Zavalaga, C. B., S. D. Emslie, F. A. Estela, M. S. Muller, G. Dell’Omo, and D. J. Anderson.  2012.  Overnight foraging trips by chick-rearing Nazca boobies Sula granti and the risk of attack by predatory fish. Ibis 154: 61-73.

Polito, M. J., S. Abel, C. R. Tobias, and S. D. Emslie.  2011.  Dietary isotopic discrimination in gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) feathers.  Polar Biology 34: 1057-1063.

Smykla, J., B. Krzewicka, K. Wilk, S. Emslie, and L. Śliwa.  2011. Additions to the lichen flora of Victoria Land, Antarctica. Polish Polar Research 32: 123-138. 

Emslie, S.D., K. Baumann, and M. van Tuinen. 2011.  Late Holocene occupation of Gentoo Penguins (Pygoscelis papua) at Byers Peninsula, Livingston Island, Antarctica.  Polar Biology 34: 283-290.

Winder, V. L. and S. D. Emslie.  2011.  Mercury in breeding and wintering Nelson’s Sparrows (Ammodramus nelsoni).  Ecotoxicology 20: 218-225.

Polito, M. J., Heather J. Lynch, Ron Naveen, and Steven D. Emslie.  2011. Stable isotopes reveal regional heterogeneity in the pre-breeding distribution and diets of sympatrically breeding Pygoscelis penguins.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 421: 265-277.

Verleyen, E., D. Hodgson, K. Sabbe, G. Marshall, H. Cremer, S. Emslie et al.  2011.  Post-glacial regional climate variability along the East Antarctic coastal margin – evidence from shallow marine and coastal terrestrial records.  Earth-Science Reviews 104: 199-212.

Morgan, Gary and S. D. Emslie.  2010.  Tropical and western influences in vertebrate faunas from the Pliocene and Pleistocene of Florida.  Quaternary International 217: 143-158.

Emslie, S. D. and W. P. Patterson.  2007.  Abrupt recent shift in d13C and d15N values in Adélie Penguin eggshell in Antarctica.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104: 11666-11669.

Zavalaga, C., S. Benvenuti, L. Dall'Antonia, and S. D. Emslie.  2007.  Diving behavior of Blue-footed Boobies Sula nebouxii in northern Peru in relation to sex, body size and prey type.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 336: 291-303.

Emslie, S. D., L. Coats, and K. Licht.  2007.  A 45000-year record of Adélie Penguins and climate change in the Ross Sea, Antarctica.  Geology 35: 61-64.

Emslie, S. D.  2007.  Fossil passerines from the early Pliocene of Kansas and the evolution of songbirds in North America.  Auk 124: 85-95.

Fox-Dobbs, K., T. A. Stidham, G. J. Bowen, S. D. Emslie, and P. L. Koch.  2006.  Dietary controls on extinction versus survival among avian megafauna in the late Pleistocene.  Geology 34: 685-688.

Aygen, Deniz and S. D. Emslie.  2006.  Royal Tern (Sterna maxima) chick diet at Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia.  Waterbirds 29: 395-400.

Brasso, Rebecka and S. Emslie.  2006.  Two new late Pleistocene avifaunas from New Mexico.  Condor 108: 721-730.

Emslie, S. D., M. Stiger, and E. Wambach.  2005.  Packrat middens and late Holocene environmental change in southwestern Colorado.  Southwestern Naturalist 50: 209-215.

Emslie, S. D. and E. J. Woehler.  2005.  A 9000-year record of Adélie Penguin occupation and diet in the Windmill Islands, East Antarctica.  Antarctic Science 17: 56-66.

Stucchi, M. and S. D. Emslie.  2005.  A new condor (Ciconiiformes, Vulturidae) from the late Miocene/early Pliocene Pisco Formation, Peru.  Condor 107: 107-113.

Emslie, S. D.  2004.  The ecology and paleohistory of pygoscelid penguins in the Antarctic Peninsula.  Pp. 222-232, in Antarctic Challenges: Historical and Current Perspectives on Otto Nordenskjöld’s Antarctic Expedition 1901-1903 (A. Elzinga, T. Nordin, D.Turner, and U. Wråkberg, Eds.).  Royal Society of Arts and Sciences, Göteborg, Sweden.

Emslie, S. D.  2004.  The early and middle Pleistocene avifauna from Porcupine Cave, Colorado.  In: Early and Middle Pleistocene Biodiversity and Environmental Change: the Porcupine Cave Fauna from Colorado (A. D. Barnosky, Ed.).  Univ. of California Press, Berkeley.

Barnosky, A. D., C. J. Bell, S. D. Emslie, H. T. Goodwin, J. I. Mead, C. A. Repenning, E.Scott, and A. B. Shabel.  2004.  Exceptional record of mid-Pleistocene vertebrates helps differentiate climatic from anthropogenic ecosystem perturbations.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101: 9297-9302.

Ainley, D. G., G. Ballard, S. D. Emslie, W. R. Fraser, P. R. Wilson, and E. J. Woehler.  2003.  Adélie penguins and climate change.  Letter to Editor.  Science 300: 429. 

Emslie, S. D., P. Ritchie, and D. Lambert.  2003.  Late-Holocene penguin occupation and diet at King George Island, Antarctic Peninsula.  American Geophysical Union, Antarctic Research Series 79: 171-180.

Emslie, S. D., P. A. Berkman, D. G. Ainley, L. Coats, and M. Polito.  2003.  Late-Holocene initiation of ice-free ecosystems in the southern Ross Sea, Antarctica.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 262: 19-25.

Emslie, S. D. and C. Guerra Correa.  2003.  A new species of penguin (Speniscidae: Spheniscus) and other birds from the late Miocene/early Pliocene of Chile.  Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 116: 308-316.

Suarez, W. and S. D. Emslie.  2003.  New fossil material with a redescription of the extinct condor Gymnogyps varonai (Arredondo 1971) (Aves: Vulturidae) from the Quaternary of Cuba.  Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 116: 29-37.

Wambach, E. and S. D. Emslie.  2003.  Seasonal and annual variation in the diet of breeding, known-age Royal Terns in North Carolina.  Wilson Bulletin 115: 448-454.

Emslie, S. D. and J. D. McDaniel.  2002.  Adélie penguin diet and climate change during the middle to late Holocene in northern Marguerite Bay, Antarctic Peninsula.  Polar Biology 25: 222-229. 

McDaniel, J. D. and S. D. Emslie.  2002.  Fluctuations in Adélie penguin prey size in the mid to late Holocene, northern Marguerite Bay, Antarctic Peninsula.  Polar Biology 25: 618-623. 

Polito, M., S. D. Emslie, and W. Walker.  2002.  A 1000-yr record of Adélie penguin diet in the southern Ross Sea, Antarctica.  Antarctic Science 14: 337-332.

Emslie, S. D.  2002.  Fossil shrews (Insectivora: Soricidae) from the late Pleistocene of Colorado.  Southwestern Naturalist 47: 62-69.

Emslie, S. D.  2001.  Radiocarbon dates from abandoned penguin colonies in the Antarctic Peninsula region.  Antarctic Science 13: 289-295.  

Maness, T. and S. D. Emslie.  2001.  An analysis of possible genotoxic exposure in adult and juvenile Royal Terns (Sterna maxima) in North Carolina.  Waterbirds 24: 352-360.

McGinnis, T. and S. D. Emslie.  2001.  The foraging ecology of Royal and Sandwich Terns in North Carolina.  Waterbirds 24: 361-370.

Collins, P. W., N. F. R. Snyder, and S. D. Emslie.  2000.  Faunal remains in California Condor nest caves.  Condor 102: 222-227.