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Sarah Gray, PhD

Professor, Marine Science and Environmental Studies

Sarah Gray, PhD, teaches courses in geological oceanography, paleoclimatology, climate change, environmental geology, and earth science.  These courses include hands-on field and lab-based research experiences.  Gray conducts research in paleoclimatology, marine sedimentation, the geology of coral reefs and environmental proxies recorded in the geochemistry of coral skeletons.  Current research includes a study of the impact of watershed development on sedimentation on fringing coral reefs in the U.S. Virgin Islands and a synthesis of multi-century climate cycles preserved in the geologic record. Her PhD dissertation was entitled “Late Quaternary History of Reef Growth, Sea Level, and Diagenesis from three Cook Islands Atolls”.

Education

Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz; Earth Sciences
B.A., University of Colorado, Boulder;Geological Sciences

 

Scholarly and Creative Work

Gray conducts research in paleoclimatology, marine sedimentation and the geology of coral reefs. Through grants from NSF, NOAA, NASA and private foundations, she has studied: Quaternary sea-level history, carbonate geochronology and diagenesis, environmental proxies recorded in the geochemistry of coral skeletons, impacts of watershed development on coral reef sedimentation, and a synthesis paleoclimate records over the past 1000 years. Gray’s current NOAA-funded research project to study the impact of watershed development on coral reefs in the US Virgin Islands has included 14 students. She’s supervised 12 Master of Science thesis projects and regularly involves undergraduate students in her field and lab research.
Gray has published in the Journal of Coastal Research, Sedimentology, Deep Sea Research, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Tectonics, and the edited book Geology and Hydrogeology of Carbonate Islands. 
Gray served as president of the San Diego Association of Geologists and is a member of several professional societies.

Teaching Interests

Gray teaches courses at the graduate and undergraduate level in geological oceanography, paleoclimatology, climate change, environmental geology, earth science internship, and thesis research.  In addition, she has taught special Honors courses (Ice-Age Ancestors and Climate Change) and a study abroad course in French Polynesia on the geology and oceanography of tropical islands.  All of her courses encourage examination of interconnectedness of the “spheres” of the earth system through critical thinking and hands-on field and lab-based research experiences such as oceanographic research cruises and field trips to the coastal zones and deserts.