Madelyn Woods

Research Graduate Student

Office Location: 204 Bryand Global Science Center, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469

Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Katherine Allen

Biographical Statement:

Madelyn Woods has a Master of Science in Marine Science from Jacksonville University with a concentration in plankton community dynamics of estuarine and coastal systems. Before coming to Maine she worked as an Environmental Consultant in Florida for the St. Johns Riverkeeper where she evaluated environmental-impact studies to identify data gaps and help design future studies. Madelyn was formerly the Marine Research Coordinator for the Marine & Environmental Research Institute (MERI) in Blue Hill, ME where she oversaw the development and implementation of their coastal monitoring program including a bay-wide investigation of coastal microplastic concentrations and experimental work on the uptake, ingestion, and excretion of microplastics by blue mussels as indicator species. She is currently a PhD student at the University of Maine in Orono where she studies the relationship of elemental incorporation in planktonic calcite shells to past sea surface temperatures.


Research Area:

Reconstructing past marine environments through the geological record is an important tool for understanding long-term climate dynamics. Geochemical properties of foraminiferal calcite shells serve as proxies for past ocean conditions and have provided much of the basis for our current knowledge of paleoceanography. A principal proxy used for determining sea surface temperatures is the ratio of magnesium to calcium (Mg/Ca) in foraminifera shells. However, reconstructing paleoenvironments requires accurate calibrations and uncertainty still exists in the thermodynamic, kinetic, and biological factors involved in Mg shell composition. My work hopes to resolve discrepancies between core-top and culture calibrations using planktonic foraminifera and simultaneous seawater samples from the North Atlantic, and establish intra-shell and inter-individual variability of Mg/Ca composition in natural foraminifera populations.