Faculty News

Monday, June 1, 2015

Introducing new assistant professor, sedimentologist Kristin Bergmann, who studies rocks to understand the interplay between ancient environments and the rise of complex life.

Kristin Bergmann's multi-disciplinary research – sedimentology and stratigraphy, stable isotope geochemistry of carbonates including clumped isotope thermometry, and geobiology - focuses on reconstructing the record of environmental change from observations of sedimentary rocks spanning Precambrian to end-Ordovician time.

To date her work has focused on marine carbonate sedimentary rocks and fossils from sites that include locations in United States, Oman, and Svalbard. She analyzes these rocks using a variety of tools in order to better understand how the chemistry and climate of the oceans and atmosphere affected the evolution of complex life, from unicellular microbial communities to multicellular animal communities. Her research has multiple important components including placing constraints on the environmental change that provides a backdrop for early evolution but also quantifying the range of climatic conditions the earth system is capable of. Bergmann's research connects well with EAPS geobiology, paleo-climate, paleooceanography, and surface processes groups and will add a new component to our field-geology program.

In this interview Dr. Bergmann describes her work, shares her path to MIT and her excitement to be joining the EAPS faculty.

Introducing Sedimentologist - Kristin Bergmann Video credit: Helen Hill

Bergmann received a BA in geology from Carleton College in 2004, after which she spent three years teaching earth and life sciences at The Pennington School in New Jersey. From there she returned to graduate school at Caltech where she was supervised by Professors John Grotzinger, Woodward Fischer, and John Eiler.

Since graduating she has been a Junior Fellow with the Harvard Society of Fellows, working with Professors Andrew Knoll and Dave Johnston. She joins EAPS faculty in July 2015.