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Dr. Andrea Dutton, Department of Geological Sciences – Past Sea Level Change
Email: adutton@ufl.edu

Andrea Dutton is a carbonate geochemist with particular interest in paleoclimate and paleo sea level applications. She is an Assistant Professor in UF’s Department of Geological Sciences. She teaches courses in isotope geochemistry, oceanography, geochemical oceanography, and marine sciences. She is also a co-leader of PALSEA, an international working group funded by PAGES/WUN to explore the geologic record for empirical constraints on future sea level rise. More information can be found at: http://web.geology.ufl.edu/a_dutton.html

Goals of the Sea Level component of the project- Evaluate the magnitude and timing of past sea level change in Florida and the broader region, including the Caribbean, to assess rates of sea level rise and patterns of inundation. 

The specifics of the scope of the final project will be developed by the student in collaboration with the interdisciplinary team, but may include aspects such as:

(1) Compile existing data on timing and position of sea level based on paleoshoreline features within a GIS framework to better constrain the geographic variance in contemporaneous sea level markers.
(2) Identify spatio-temporal gaps in existing data and develop field-based data collection campaigns to span these gaps.
(3) Explore the potential for applying the existing (compiled) and new dataset to glacio-hydro-isostatic modeling of the region to better quantify isostatic effects on past, present, and future sea level change in the region.
(4) Employ glacio-hydro-isostatic modeling to better constrain rates of karstification of the Florida peninsula associated with dynamic changes in past sea level position.

This work will draw upon the rich sediment record of past sea level position in Florida and the Caribbean in collaboration with students and faculty of the WIGF as well as researchers from other institutions. The project will entail a combination of field-based and laboratory-based research.  Studying past rates of sea level change during previous warm periods with similar ice sheet configurations is instructive to understand the future potential for gradual versus dynamic ice sheet collapse scenarios.  Florida’s coastlines contain a vast archive of previous sea level oscillations, including that of the last interglacial period (~125,000 years ago) when global sea level was ~6 to 9 meters higher.  Understanding the dynamics of ice sheets and sea level during these previous warm periods is critical to developing sound projections for future sea level behavior.