Finding Changing Landscapes Through a Microscope

Finding Changing Landscapes Through a Microscope

The word fossils typically conjures images of T-Rexes and trilobites. Pratigya Polissar thinks micro: A paleoclimatologist, he digs into old sediments and studies molecular fossils—the microscopic remains of plants and animals that can tell us a lot about what was living in a particular time period. His work has helped uncover the shifting pattern of the East Asian monsoon and its possible impacts on early Chinese societies, and the past record of drier times in America’s Pacific Northwest. And by looking back to what was thriving during a very warm period long ago, he’s looking into our future, as well.

In the latest in our video series about Earth Institute researchers, Polissar, an associate research professor at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Center for Climate and Life Fellow, talks about his work, and what inspired him to go into his field.

— Dave Funkhouser, Earth Institute. Video production by the Columbia News video team.