Laura Peterson

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Chemistry
Valders 372H
[email protected]
Faculty website


Research Related to Sustainability

  • Publication: Tzanova, A., T.D. Herbert, and L.C. Peterson, 2015. Cooling Mediterranean sea surface temperatures during the Late Miocene provide a climate context for evolutionary transitions in Africa and Eurasia, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 419, p. 71-80, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.03.016.
  • Publication: Herbert, T.D., G. Ng, and L.C. Peterson, 2015. Evolution of Mediterranean sea surface temperatures 3.5-1.5 Ma: Regional and hemispheric influences, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 409, p. 307-318, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2014.10.006.
  • Conference presentation: Peterson, L.C., K.T. Lawrence, R. Caballero-Gill, T.D. Herbert, *J. Seidenstein, *H. Miller, *D. Hovey, and *K. Huska, 2014. Spectral and secular evolution of northern and southern hemisphere climate records from the Pliocene to the present. Multiproxy approach to the reconstruction of the Pliocene Climate, Barcelona, Spain, September 2014.
  • Co-authored study: Fedorov, A.V., Burls, N.J., Lawrence, K.T., & Peterson, L.C., “Tightly linked zonal and meridional sea surface temperature gradients over the past five million years,” published in Nature Geoscience 8, 975 (2015).
  • Herbert, T. D., Lawrence, K. T., Tzanova, A., Peterson, L. C., Caballero-Gill, R., & Kelly, C. S. (2016). Late Miocene global cooling and the rise of modern ecosystems. Nature Geoscience (9), 843–847.
  • Paideia Texts and Issues lecture (March 2016) titled Back to the Future: Understanding the Anthropocene.

Student/Faculty Collaborative Research Projects

  • 2010: Plio-Pleistocene sea surface temperature evolution in the southwest Pacific. Student collaborator: Christopher Schaupp
  • 2014: Southern Hemisphere Processes and Global Climate Change: The Evolution of Miocene Surface Ocean Conditions in the Southern Hemisphere. Student collaborator: Travis Houle
  • 2014: Potential Evolutionary Adaptation of a Key Phytoplankton Species to Ocean Acidification. Student collaborators:  Travis Houle and John Hadish.
  • 2015: Sea surface temperature evolution in the southern Pacific Ocean over the last 5 million years: Implications for local climate processes in the distant geologic past and in the not-so-distant future? Student collaborator: Lucia Holte

Courses Related to Sustainability

ENVS-134: Environmental Geology
ENVS-175: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
ENVS-310: Earth: Evolution of Habitable Planet
PAID-450: Food and Environment