THURE E CERLING portrait
  • Chair Department of Geology and Geophysics
  • Distinguished Professor, Biology
  • Distinguished Professor, Geology & Geophysics

Research Statement

My research is in geochemistry of processes occurring at near Earth's surface and the geological record of ecological change. My research includes the isotope physiology and diets of modern mammals as well as the history of diets of different mammalian lineages extending over millions of years. I am also interested in the geology of Old World paleoanthropologic sites, such as are found in the Turkana Basin in East Africa and other Rif Valley sites. I study modern soils, lakes, and ecosystems in an effort to apply isotope systematics to understand the evolution of ecosystems, monsoons, and the atmosphere over geological time scales. By using isotopes produced by cosmic rays in situ in rocks my research group studies the evolution of the landscapes over the last 1 million years. I am also involved in environmental studies, including the use of tritium and helium as hydrological tracers, and in understanding contaminant migration in surface or groundwaters.

Presentations

  • Environments of Human Evolution: The Isotope Evidence. King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Jeddah, Saudia Arabia. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 12/08/2015.
  • How hot is it, anyway? Temperatures of early hominid environments in East Africa. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Baltimore. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 11/02/2015.
  • NEXUS 1492: Diet change through time. Quai Branley Museum, Paris. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/08/2015.
  • Isoscapes of North America - Evolution of grazing, mixed feeding, and browsing in Africa over 4 Ma. Grasslands Workshop. Santa Fe Institute. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/01/2015.
  • IVORY: Isotope Verification Of Region and Year. Elephant Conservation Summit, Jackson Hole. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 09/29/2015.
  • Training program for research in hominin evolution. African Rift Valley Research Consortium. Cleveland. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 09/26/2015.
  • Isotopes in Wildlife Forensics - Migration and movement. Society for Wildlife Forensics Science. Missoula Montana. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 06/23/2015.
  • HAIR – History of Animals using Isotope Records. National Research Council. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 05/05/2015.
  • Environments of human evolution: the isotope evidence. UC Santa Cruz. . Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 05/2015.
  • Early hominin diets. National Academy of Sciences. Washington DC. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 04/26/2015.
  • Early hominin diets - the stable isotope evidence. National Museums of Kenya. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 03/12/2015.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • Argentina
  • Ethiopia
  • India
  • Kenya
  • Pakistan
  • South Africa

Publications

  • Cerling, T. E., Hoppe, K. A., Mosier, T. M., Still, C. J. & Cotton, J. M. (2016). Climate, CO2, and the history of North American grasses since the Last Glacial Maximum. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Vol. 2(3), e1501346-e1501346. Published, 2016.
  • Barnette, Janet E., Bowen, Gabriel J., Chesson, Lesley A., Ehleringer, James R., Remien, Christopher H., Shea, Patrick, Tipple, Brett J., West, Jason B. & Cerling, Thure E. (2016). Forensic Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry. Annual Reviews. Vol. 44(1), 175-206. Published, 2016.
  • Barnette, Janet E., Cerling, Thure E., Chesson, Lesley A., Ehleringer, James R. & Tipple, Brett J. (2015). The potential for application of ink stable isotope analysis in questioned document examination. Elsevier BV. Published, 2015.
  • Brennan, Sean R., Fernandez, Diego P., Zimmerman, Christian E., Cerling, Thure E., Brown, Randy J. & Wooller, Matthew J. (2015). Strontium isotopes in otoliths of a non-migratory fish (slimy sculpin): Implications for provenance studies. Elsevier BV. Vol. 149, 32-45. Published, 2015.
  • Bender, Richard L., Cerling, Thure E., Dufour, Darna L., Ehleringer, James R., Reina, Julio C., Sponheimer, Matt & Valenzuela, Luciano O. (2015). Stable isotopes (carbon, nitrogen, sulfur), diet, and anthropometry in urban Colombian women: Investigating socioeconomic differences: Stable Isotopes and Diet in Colombian Women. Wiley-Blackwell. , n/a-n/a. Published, 2015.
  • Isotopic ordering in eggshells reflects body temperatures and suggests differing thermophysiology in two Cretaceous dinosaurs. Nature Communications 6: article 8296. doi:10.1038/ncomms9296. Published, 10/2015.
  • Dietary changes of large herbivores in the Turkana Basin, Kenya from 4 to 1 million years ago. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112: 11467-11472. Published, 09/15/2015.
  • Carbon isotope ratios of human tooth enamel record the evidence of terrestrial resource consumption during the Jomon period, Japan, American Journal of Physical Anthropology 08/2015; DOI:10.1002/ajpa.22775. Published, 08/2015.
  • Isotopic composition of sheep wool records seasonality of climate and diet. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 29 (15): 1357-1369. Published, 06/30/2015.
  • On the environment of Aramis: Concerning comment and replies of August 2014. Current Anthropology 56: 445.. Published, 06/2015.
  • Strontium isotopes delineate fine-scale natal origins and migration histories of Pacific salmon. Science Advances doi:10.1126/sciadv.1400124. Published, 05/15/2015.
  • A new tooth wear-based dietary analysis method for Proboscidea (Mammalia). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2014.918546. Published, 04/21/2015.
  • Environments and livestock disease risk of early herders in the later Holocene of the Lake Victoria Basin, Kenya. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 11(112):3674–3679, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1423953112 . Published, 02/14/2015.
  • Blumenthal SA, KL Chritz, JM Rothman, TE Cerling, 2012, Detecting intra–annual dietary variability in wild mountain gorillas by stable isotope analysis of feces. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 109: 21277–21282. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1215782109. Published, 09/2012.
  • Hynek SA, BH Passey, JL Prado, FH Brown, TE Cerling, J Quade. 2012. Small mammal carbon isotope ecology across the Miocene–Pliocene boundary, northwestern Argentina. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 321–322: 177–188. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2011.12.038. Published, 06/2012.
  • Macharia AN, KT Uno, TE Cerling, FH Brown, 2012, Isotopically distinct modern carbonates in abandoned livestock corrals in Northern Kenya. Journal of Archaeological Science 39: 2198–2205. Published, 06/2012.
  • Valenzuela LO, LA Chesson, GJ Bowen, TE Cerling, JR Ehleringer, 2012. Dietary heterogeneity among western industrialized countries reflected in the stable isotope ratios of human hair. PLOS ONE. 10.1371/journal.pone.0034234. Published, 05/2012.
  • Tipple BJ, LA Chesson, BR Erkkila, TE Cerling, JR Ehleringer. 2012. B–HIVE: Beeswax Hydrogen Isotopes as Validation of Environment. Part II. Compound–specific hydrogen isotope analysis. Food Chemistry 134: 494–501. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.02.106. Published, 05/2012.
  • O'Grady SP, LO Valenzuela, CH Remien, LE Enright, MJ Jorgensen, JR Kaplan, JD Wagner, TE Cerling, JR Ehleringer, 2012, Hydrogen and oxygen isotope ratios in body water and hair: modeling isotope dynamics in nonhuman primates. American Journal of Primatology 74: 651–660. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22019. Published, 04/2012.
  • Marchetti DW, SA Hynek, TE Cerling, 2012, Gravel–capped benches above northern tributaries of the Escalante River, south–central Utah. Geosphere 8: 835–853. doi:10.1130/GES00772.1. Published, 03/2012.
  • Podlesak DW, Bowen GJ, O'Grady S, Cerling TE, Ehleringer JR, 2012, δ2H and δ18O of human body water: a GIS model to distinguish residents from non-residents in the contiguous USA. Isotopes in environmental and health studies 48: 259-279. Published, 01/2012.
  • Chesson LA, LO Valenzuela, GJ Bowen, TE Cerling, JR Ehleringer, 2011. Consistent predictable patterns in the hydrogen and oxygen stable isotope ratios of animal proteins consumed by modern humans in the USA. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 25: 3713–3722. DOI: 10.1002/rcm.5283. Published, 01/2012.
  • Levin NE, EJ Zipser, TE Cerling, 2009, Isotopic composition of waters from Ethiopia and Kenya: Insights into moisture sources for eastern Africa. Journal of Geophysical Research 114: D23306, doi:10.1029/2009JD012166. Published, 2009.
  • Ehleringer JR, AH Thompson, D Podlesak, GJ Bowen, TE Cerling, T Park, P Dostie, H Schwarcz, 2009, A framework for the incorporation of isotopes and isoscapes in geospatial forensic application. In: (Editors JB West, GJ Bowen, KP Tu, TE Dawson) Isoscapes: Understanding movement, pattern and process on Earth through isotope mapping. Springer-Verlag. p. 357-388. Published, 2009.
  • Hobson KA, R Barnett-Johnson, TE Cerling, 2009, Using isoscapes to track animal migration. In: (Editors JB West, GJ Bowen, KP Tu, TE Dawson) Isoscapes: Understanding movement, pattern and process on Earth through isotope mapping. Springer-Verlag. p. 273-298. Published, 2009.
  • Chesson LA, DW Podlesak, BR Erkkila, TE Cerling, JR Ehleringer, 2009, Isotopic consequences of consumer food choice: hydrogen and oxygen stable isotope ratios in foods from fast food restaurants versus supermarkets. Food Chemistry. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2009.07.046. Published, 2009.
  • Cerling TE, G Wittemyer, JR Ehleringer, CH Remien, I Douglas-Hamilton, 2009, History of Animals using Isotope Records (HAIR): A 6-year dietary history of one family of African elephants. Proc. National Acad. Sci., 106: 8093-8100; doi:10.1073/pnas.0902192106. Published, 2009.
  • Yeakel JD, Patterson BD, Fox-Dobbs K, Okumura MM, Cerling TE, Moore JW, Koch PL, Dominy NJ, 2009, Cooperation and individuality among man-eating lions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 106: 19040–19043. doi 10.1073 pnas.0905309106. Published, 2009.
  • Sponheimer M, D Codron, BH Passey, DJ de Ruiter, TE Cerling, JA Lee-Thorp, 2009, Using carbon isotopes to track dietary change in modern, historical, and ancient primates. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 140: 661-670. Published, 2009.
  • Chesson LA, DW Podlesak, TE Cerling JR Ehleringer, 2009, Evaluating uncertainty in the calculation of non-exchangeable hydrogen fractions within organic materials. Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 23: 1275–1280. DOI: 10.1002/rcm.4000187. Published, 2009.
  • Bowen GJ, JR Ehleringer, L Chesson, A Thompson, D Podlesak, TE Cerling, 2009, Dietary and physiological controls on the hydrogen and oxygen isotope ratios of hair from mid-20th century indigenous populations. American Jour. Phys. Anthro. 139: 494–504. Published, 2009.
  • Prideaux GJ, LK Ayliffe, LRG DeSantis, BW Schubert, PF Murray, MK Gagan, TE Cerling, 2009, Extinction implications of a saltbush diet in a giant Pleistocene kangaroo. Proceeding of the National Academy of Science. 106:11646-11650. doi:10.1073/pnas.0900956106. Published, 2009.
  • Wittemyer, G, TE Cerling, I Douglas-Hamilton, 2009, Establishing longitudinal diet chronologies from isotopic profiles in serially collected animal tissues: An example using tail hairs from African elephants. Chemical Geology 267 (2009) 3–11. doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2008.08.010. Published, 2009.
  • Passey BH, LK Ayliffe, A Kaakinen, Z Zhaoqun, Z Yanming, Z Liping, TE Cerling, & M Fortelius, 2009, Strengthened East Asian summer monsoons during a period of high-latitude warmth? Isotopic evidence from Mio-Pliocene fossil mammals and soil carbonates from northern China. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 277: 443-452. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2008.11.008. Published, 2009.
  • Chesson LA, JR Ehleringer, TE Cerling, 2009, American fast food isn't all-corn based. Proc. National Acad. Sci. 106: E8. doi 10.1073 pnas.0811787106. Published, 2009.