Tim Bralower


Tim Bralower was born in Armonk, NY but moved to London at the age of four. Tim attended Oxford University and received a BA in Earth Science. Tim followed his undergraduate degree with a PhD in Earth Science at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. Although a classically trained marine geologist, Tim's specialty is calcareous nannoplankton, a group of marine plankton that leave an exquisite fossil record. The nannoplankton allow us to tell time or date ancient sediments back to 225 million years ago, and, in addition, inform us about environments in the past. Recently Tim has focused his research on ancient time periods when climate warmed rapidly. In particular, he is interested in what happens to life during these episodes. The motivation for this research is to predict what will happen in the future as the ocean continues to heat up. He is also interested in mass extinction, in particular the same event 65 million year ago that led to the demise of the dinosaurs and which almost eradicated the nannoplankton. The extinction and subsequent recovery of life in the ocean gives us a worst-case scenario for how modern plankton may respond to drastic environmental change. Tim started his academic career as an Assistant Professor at Florida International University in Miami before moving to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was rose through the academic ranks to become Chair of the Department of Geological Sciences. Tim moved to Penn State in 2003 and until recently was Head of the Department of Geosciences. Tim's research has taken him for fieldwork in Italy, much of the Western US, the Andes and four two-month ocean drilling expeditions.