Julie Brigham-Grette

Geosciences Graduate Program Director
Quaternary/glacial geology
arctic paleoenvironments
Dept. Head Office: 243 Morrill 2; Faculty Office: 247 Morrill 2
Dept. Head Office: (413) 577-2270; Faculty Office: (413) 545-4840
PhD 1985 University of Colorado
Research Interests: 

My research interests are focused on the stratigraphy, sedimentology, and chronology of geologic systems that record the climate evolution and sea level history of the Arctic since the mid-Pliocene. Most of my research program is aimed at documenting the global context of paleoenvironmental change across “Beringia”, i.e., the Bering Land Bridge, stretching across the western Arctic from Alaska and the Yukon into NE Russia including the adjacent marginal seas. Starting 3 decades ago with fieldwork on the sea level history and glacial stratigraphy of vast Arctic coastal plains and coastal environments in comparison with regional alpine glaciation, I am now focused on the integration of records from marine and lacustrine systems. Since 1991, my group has participated in nine field expeditions to remote regions of Arctic Russia and I was co-chief scientist in 2002 of an expedition on the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy, taking sediment cores from the Bering and Chukchi Seas. I am the US Chief Scientist of the El’gygytgyn Lake Scientific Drilling project, a $10M multinational field program leading to the first unprecedented recovery in 2009 of a 3.6 Myr record of paleoclimate from the terrestrial Arctic. This work involves collaborators in Germany, Russian and Austria but includes Rob DeConto, Steve Burns, Laurie Brown and Isla Castenada, here at home. At all levels we aim to blend proxy records with modeling efforts where possible. In collaboration with Steve Petsch, Brigham-Grette is also PI on a grant to develop sea ice proxies and records of paleoceanography across the Arctic-Pacific gateway. Since 2005, I have collaborated with colleagues at Bates, Mt Holyoke, and Hampshire colleges along side Northern Illinois University with the effective implementation of an REU program on Svalbard tidewater glaciers and lake systems. At home, I maintain an interest in the late Pleistocene paleoclimatic history and drainage record of Glacial Lake Hitchcock and the Holocene evolution of the Connecticut River. Exploring ahead, I have future interests in IODP/ICDP drilling in the Bering Strait and at the margins of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.