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Sarah Feakins

Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-7168
Office: ZHS 223F

Curriculum Vitae
Personal Website


Ph.D. Geology, Columbia University, 2006
B.A. Geography, University of Oxford, 2001

Postdoctoral Training

NOAA Global and Climate Change Postdoctoral Fellow, California Institute of Technology, 07/2006-08/2008  

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

I use biogeochemical analytical approaches to answer intriguing questions about climatic and ecological change. Organic geochemical and compound-specific isotopic approaches provide new tools for high resolution studies. Current projects include compound-specific carbon isotopic reconstruction of paleovegetation and development and application of hydrogen isotopic proxies for paleohydrology.

Research Specialties

Compound-specific hydrogen and carbon isotopic analysis; Paleoclimate, Paleoenvironment, Paleoecology; Isotope Biogeochemistry; Organic Geochemistry.


Journal Article

Feakins, S. J., Warny, S., DeConto, R. M. (2014). Snapshot of cooling and drying before onset of Antarctic Glaciation. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Vol. 404, pp. 154-166.
Kirby, M. E., Feakins, S. J., Hiner, C. A., Fantozzi, J., Zimmerman, S. R., Dingemans, T., Mensing, S. A. (2014). Tropical Pacific forcing of late-Holocene hydrologic variability in the coastal southwest United States. Quaternary Science Reviews. Vol. 102, pp. 27-38.
Ponton, C., West, A. J., Feakins, S. J., Galy, V. (2014). Leaf wax biomarkers in transit record river catchment composition. accepted at Geophysical Research Letters. pp. doi: 10.1002/2014GL061328.
Niedermeyer, E., Sessions, A. L., Feakins, S. J., Mohtadi, M. (2014). Hydroclimate of the western Indo Pacific Warm Pool during the past 24,000 years. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Vol. 111, pp. 9402-9406.
Dingemans, T., Mensing, S. A., Feakins, S. J., Kirby, M. E., Zimmerman, S. H. (2014). 3000 years of environmental change at Zaca Lake, California, USA. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. (2:34), pp. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2014.00034.
Feakins, S. J., Kirby, M. E., Cheetham, M. I., Ibarra, Y., Zimmerman, S. R. (2014). Fluctuations in leaf wax D/H ratios from a southern California lake record significant variability in isotopes in precipitation during the late Holocene. Organic Geochemistry. Vol. 66, pp. 48-59.
Ibarra, Y., Corsetti, F. A., Cheetham, M. I., Feakins, S. J. (2014). Were fossil spring-associated carbonates near Zaca Lake, Santa Barbara, California deposited under an ambient or thermal regime?. Sedimentary Geology. Vol. 301, pp. 15-25.
Feakins, S. J., Ellsworth, P. V., Sternberg, L. D. (2013). Lignin Methoxyl Hydrogen Isotope Ratios in a Coastal Ecosystem. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Vol. 121 (54-66)
Kirby, M. E., Feakins, S. J., Bonuso, N., Fantozzi, J. M., HIner, C. A. (2013). Latest Pleistocene to Holocene hydroclimates from Lake Elsinore, California. Quaternary Science Reviews. Vol. 76, pp. 1-15.
Feakins, S. J., Levin, N. E., Liddy, H. M., Sieracki, A., Eglinton, T. I., Bonnefille, R. (2013). Northeast African vegetation change over 12 million years. Geology. pp. doi:10.1130/G33845.1.
Feakins, S. J. (2013). Pollen-corrected leaf wax D/H reconstructions of northeast African hydrological changes during the late Miocene. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology and Palaeoecology. pp. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.01.004.
Feakins, S. J., Rincon, M., Pinedo, P. (2013). Analytical challenges in the quantitative determination of 2H/1H ratios of methyl iodide. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry. Vol. 27, pp. 1-7.
Feakins, S. J., Warny, S., Lee, J. E. (2012). Hydrologic cycling over Antarctica during the middle Miocene warming. Nature Geoscience. pp. 10.1038/NGEO1498.
Sachse, D., ., .., Feakins, S. J., et al, .. (2012). Molecular Paleohydrology: Interpreting the Hydrogen-Isotopic Composition of Lipid Biomarkers from Photosynthesizing Organisms. Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Vol. 40, pp. 221-249.
Romero, I. C., Feakins, S. J. (2011). Spatial gradients in plant leaf wax D/H across a coastal salt marsh in southern California. Organic Geochemistry. pp. doi:10.1016/j.orggeochem.2011.04.001.
Feakins, S. J., Sessions, A. L. (2010). Crassulacean acid metabolism influences D/H ratios of leaf wax in succulent plants. Organic Geochemistry. Vol. 41, pp. 1269-1276.
Feakins, S. J., Sessions, A. L. (2010). Controls on the D/H ratios of plant leaf waxes in an arid ecosystem. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Vol. 74, pp. 2128-2141.
Feakins, S. J., Brown, F. H., deMenocal, P. B. (2007). Plio-Pleistocene Microtephra in DSDP Site 231, Gulf of Aden. Journal of African Earth Sciences. Vol. 48, pp. 341-352.
Feakins, S. J., Eglinton, T. I., deMenocal, P. B. (2007). A comparison of biomarker records of northeast African vegetation from lacustrine and marine sediments ca. 3.40 Ma. Organic Geochemistry. Vol. 38, pp. 1607-1624.
Feakins, S. J., deMenocal., P. B., Eglinton, T. I. (2005). Biomarker records of Late Neogene Changes in East African Vegetation. Geology. Vol. 33, pp. 977-980.
Stokes, S., Feakins (Ingram), S. J., Aitken, M. J., Sirocko, F., Anderson, R., Leuschner, D. (2003). Alternative chronologies for Late Quaternary (Last Interglacial-Holocene) deep sea sediments via optical dating of silt-sized quartz. Quaternary Science Reviews. Vol. 22 (8-9), pp. 925-941.
Feakins (Ingram), S. J., Stokes, S., Bailey, R. (2001). Confirmation of backscattered beta dose enhancement rates based on single aliquot regeneration (SAR) analysis of quartz sand and silt. Ancient TL. Vol. 19, pp. 51-54.


Wood, B. (Feakins, S.J. contributing editor) (Ed.). (2011). Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Human Evolution, 2 Volume Set. Wiley-Blackwell.
Feakins, S. J., deMenocal, P. B. (2010). Global and African Regional Climate Change during the Neogene, Cenozoic Mammals of Africa. University of California Press.

Honors and Awards

Texaco Postdoctoral Prize Fellowship, California Institute of Technology (declined), 2006-2007   
Goodfriend Prize for best student paper LDEO, Columbia University, 2005-2006   
Burton Prize for graduating top of senior year University of Oxford School of Geography, 2000-2001   
Steer Prize for best BA Thesis University of Oxford School of Geography, 2000-2001   
University of Oxford Scholar, 1999-2000   
University of Oxford Scholar, 1998-1999   
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