Studying Environmental Change over the Past 15,000 Years

We study geologic evidence of past environmental dynamics to evaluate processes involved in current and future climate changes.
What is the Shuman Lab?
The Shuman Lab in the Department of Geology & Geophysics at the University of Wyoming focuses on the role of climate in past ecosystem and hydrologic changes. Graduate students working on research projects in the lab can obtain Master’s degrees or Ph.D.s in Geology or Ecology. Undergraduates and high-school students also participate in our field- and lab-based research, which generally uses lake sedimentary records to evaluate how climate change and its impacts over the past 15,000 years. 
Ecological Paleoclimatology
Paleoclimatology diagnoses the patterns and processes of climate change over a wide range of time scales from years to eons, and the field of paleoecology examines ecological processes over similar periods. Ecological paleoclimatology bridges the two disciplines to specifically examine the role of past climate change in past ecological dynamics. Over centuries and longer time scales, and from landscapes to hemispheres, climate acts as a dominant pace setter of ecological change. Understanding ecology – including human ecology – at such scales requires detailed knowledge about the history of temperature, precipitation, and other climate variables. Our work in ecological paleoclimatology focuses on reconstructing past climates to test hypotheses about the patterns of ecological response. Because water plays a particularly important role in many systems, and poses important challenges for the future, we often focus on case studies centered on water.
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