Department Chair; Murray and Martha Ross Professor of Environmental Sciences; Harvard College Professor
Ann Pearson is the Murray and Martha Ross Professor of Environmental Sciences. Her research focuses on applications of analytical chemistry, isotope geochemistry, and molecular biology to biochemical oceanography and Earth history.
Through study of the “how, when, and why” of microbial processes, her work yields insight about environmental conditions on Earth today, in the past, and about potential human impacts on our future. Recent projects have focused on the carbon and nitrogen cycles and on pathways of lipid biosynthesis.
Pearson received a Fellowship for Science and Engineering from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation in 2004, a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship in 2009, and was named a Marine Microbiology Initiative Investigator of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in 2012. She holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography from the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, where she was awarded the C. G. Rossby Award for Best Dissertation in the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate; and a B.A. in Chemistry from Oberlin College.
Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology; Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering; Director, Harvard Univ. Center for the Environment; Director, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program, HKS; Area Chair for Environmental Science and Engineering
Daniel P. Schrag is the Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology at Harvard University, Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering, and Director of the Harvard University Center for the Environment.
Schrag studies climate and climate change over the broadest range of Earth history. He is particularly interested in how information on climate change from the geologic past can lead to better understanding of anthropogenic climate change in the future. In addition to his work on geochemistry and climatology, Schrag studies energy technology and policy, including carbon capture and storage and low-carbon synthetic fuels.
From 2009-2017, Schrag served on President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Among various honors, he is the recipient of the James B. Macelwane Medal from the American Geophysical Union and a MacArthur Fellowship. Schrag earned a B.S. in geology and geophysics and political science from Yale University and his Ph.D. in geology from the University of California at Berkeley. He came to Harvard in 1997 after teaching at Princeton.
Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Director of Graduate Studies
Isotope geochemistry and historical geobiology. Re-animating ancient ecosystems and ocean chemistry using stable isotope systems, chemical speciation techniques, modern microbial experiments (for calibration) and theoretical considerations.
Isotope geochemistry and cosmochemistry; the formation and early differentiation of the terrestrial planets; the chemical evolution of Earth's crust-mantle system; Earth systems evolution and environmental geochemistry.
Visiting Scholar Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Florida
My major interests are in the areas of organic geochemistry and biogeochemical dynamics of aquatic systems, with particular emphasis in estuarine and coastal ecosystems, applications of chemical biomarkers in paleooceanography, sea-level rise effects on carbon storage in coastal system, and chemical biomarkers of colloidal, particulate, dissolved and sedimentary organic carbon.
My research group has worked in estuarine and large river systems around the world with particular emphasis on the Mississippi River/Louisiana estuarine/shelf system, and the Changjiang River estuary. Some of this work has focused on the fate and transport of organic carbon source inputs to the Louisiana and East China Sea shelves, using chemical biomarkers as source indicators, as well as recent work on the paleo-reconstruction of hypoxia events on the shelf and relationship between carbon cycling. We have also been examining paleo-reconstruction of organic carbon in Colville delta sediments in the Arctic, using compound-specific isotopic analyses of fatty acids, to examine changes in carbon cycling during the Holocene in the Arctic. Finally, we have been recently using chemical biomarkers to better understand how carbon sequestration in wetlands or “blue carbon” is changing in the Gulf of Mexico with changes in the dominance of mangroves over marshes due to sea level change.
The EPS department believes that hands-on research is an unparalleled experience for undergraduates and allocates funding for students to work in labs and research groups during the school year and summer. For undergraduate job opportunites, which involves working in the lab of an EPS faculty member, please see the subpages on the left.
Please follow this link to a tribute to pioneering geochemist Gerry Wasserburg that was published in EOS recently. Over the course of his career Gerry advised several EPS faculty members during their PhD work and visited the department frequently in more recent years. The painting shown in the tribute was done by EPS associate John Wood.
The Schrag lab uses isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) to analyze environmental samples for stable isotopic content. This research yields information about global climate change in the geologic past, which can lead to a better understanding of climate change in the future.
The physical properties of our planet are intricately tied to the sequence of giant impact events that led to the formation of the Moon. The canonical giant impact model for lunar origin has been called into question by recent geochemical measurements of lunar rocks. Professor Stewart will present a new model for the origin of the Earth and Moon that reconciles the observations and highlights the importance of stochastic early events in shaping our habitable world.