Photo of Allison Jacobel
Office
McCardell Bicentennial Hall 426
Tel
(802) 443-3093
Email
ajacobel@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Monday 2-4p and Friday 1:30-2:30. Please email Prof. Jacobel for a link to the zoom room, or to set up an alternative time to meet.

My teaching guides students as they explore Earth systems and their interactions using geochemical tools and datasets. My recent courses at Middlebury include Earth’s Oceans and CoastlinesHow to Build a Habitable Planet, and Earth’s Climate History

I earned my Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and was a Voss Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Brown University, where I continue to hold an appointment as a Visiting Scientist. Before arriving at Middlebury I taught at the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society (IBES).

My research interests are united by three features: they 1) further our investigation of the coupled ocean-atmosphere system, 2) employ novel biogeochemical proxies and techniques and 3) help improve predictions of future climate change. The scientific questions I find most compelling go beyond reconstructing paleoclimate; they elucidate the underlying drivers and mechanisms of change in the climate system.

My approach to earth and climate science is grounded in the use of of marine sediments, organic biomarkers, and microfossils to reconstruct environmental conditions and processes. Specifically, my research toolbox includes radiogenic (U, Th, and Pa) and stable (O, C, and N) isotopes, trace element ratios (e.g.: B/Ca), elemental abundances (e.g.: xsBa), foraminiferal assemblages, and alkenone biomarkers. I use these tools to reconstruct features of ocean environments including temperature, salinity, circulation patterns, nutrients, primary productivity, carbon storage, and oxygen concentrations. 

Please check out my website for recent publications and opportunities for student research. 

Courses Taught

Course Description

Earth’s Oceans and Coastlines
In this course we explore our planet’s oceans and coastlines through the interdisciplinary study of marine geology, physics, biology, and chemistry. We use these fields as lenses through which we examine our reliance on the oceans for climate stability, food, economic resources, and waste dispersal, among a host of other ecosystem services. In parallel, we explore how humans are fundamentally altering coastal and marine ecosystems, posing unequally distributed, but increasingly severe threats to ocean and human health. In labs, we make use of the college’s research vessel, the R/V Folger, and learn quantitative data visualization and analysis techniques. 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab/field trips (formerly GEOL 0161)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

DED, SCI

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Senior Thesis Research Seminar
This seminar will focus on methods and strategies for completing advanced geological research and provides a springboard for senior thesis research. Topics will include field and laboratory techniques, primary literature review, and scientific writing. Students taking this course are expected to be simultaneously working on the early stages of their senior thesis research. During the semester students will present a thesis proposal and the seminar will culminate with each student completing a draft of the first chapter of their senior thesis. ECSC 0400 is required of all geology majors. 3 hrs. disc. or lab (formerly GEOL 0400)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Readings and Research
Individual or group independent study, laboratory or field research projects, readings and discussion of timely topics in earth and environmental science. (Approval only) (formerly GEOL 0500)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022, Spring 2023

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Senior Thesis Research
Upon completion of ECSC 0400, all senior geology majors will continue their independent senior thesis research by taking one unit of ECSC 0700. This research will culminate in a written thesis which must be orally defended. (Approval only) (formerly GEOL 0700)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022, Spring 2023

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

How to Build a Habitable Planet
In this course we will examine how Earth came to be the planet we know today: a uniquely habitable world, home to a diverse array of organisms and interconnected systems. We will begin our journey through deep time with the Big Bang and the coalescence of the first stardust, and conclude by examining how humans have become integral drivers of planetary evolution, transforming Earth’s surface and atmosphere at largely unprecedented rates. Students will engage with cutting edge scientific research via readings, discussion, and synthesis of the primary and secondary scientific literature. 3 hrs. lect./1hr. disc

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Fall 2021

Requirements

SCI

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Earth’s Oceans and Coastlines
In this course we explore our planet’s oceans and coastlines through the interdisciplinary study of marine geology, physics, biology, and chemistry. We use these fields as lenses through which we examine our reliance on the oceans for climate stability, food, economic resources, and waste dispersal, among a host of other ecosystem services. In parallel, we explore how humans are fundamentally altering coastal and marine ecosystems, posing unequally distributed, but increasingly severe threats to ocean and human health. In labs, we make use of the college’s research vessel, the R/V Folger, and learn quantitative data visualization and analysis techniques. 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab/field trips

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

Requirements

DED, SCI

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Climate and Earth’s History
In this course we will discuss how external forces and internal feedbacks within the Earth system govern climate. Specific topics will include orbital variability, changes in ocean circulation, CO2 uptake in terrestrial ecosystems, and molecular vibrational controls on infrared absorption and Earth's heat budget. We will then examine climate change through Earth's history as evidenced by a number of geologic proxies including the sedimentary record, ice cores, isotopic records, glaciers, soils, and tree rings. Ultimately, our improved understanding of past climates will provide a context within which to discuss future changes to come. (Formally GEOL 0221) (one GEOL course, or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

SCI

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Sedimentary Processes and Environments
This course examines modern sedimentary processes and environments, with the goal of understanding the environmental conditions under which ancient sediments were deposited and preserved. Topics include the dynamics of weathering and sediment transport; the interpretation of depositional environments from sedimentary textures, structures and relationships; and stratigraphic techniques for interpreting Earth history. Field trips provide hands-on opportunities to apply course material and investigate Middlebury’s ancient history as a sandy, tropical paradise. (Any 0100-level geology course or by waiver) (formerly GEOL 0241) 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab/field trips

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

SCI

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Senior Thesis Research Seminar
This seminar will focus on methods and strategies for completing advanced geological research and provides a springboard for senior thesis research. Topics will include field and laboratory techniques, primary literature review, and scientific writing. Students taking this course are expected to be simultaneously working on the early stages of their senior thesis research. During the semester students will present a thesis proposal and the seminar will culminate with each student completing a draft of the first chapter of their senior thesis. GEOL 0400 is required of all geology majors. 3 hrs. disc. or lab

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Readings and Research
Individual or group independent study, laboratory or field research projects, readings and discussion of timely topics in earth and environmental science. (Approval only)

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Upon completion of GEOL 0400, all senior geology majors will continue their independent senior thesis research by taking one unit of GEOL 0700. This research will culminate in a written thesis which must be orally defended. (Approval only)

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022

View in Course Catalog

Publications