Yu, S. Mark





My Ph.D. dissertation aims to elucidate changes in the surface and thermocline waters of the central Indian Ocean extending from Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 6 and to reconstruct biogeochemical cycles and physiochemistry with stable isotope (δ18O, δ13C, and δ15N) and trace metal (Cd/Ca and Mg/Ca) geochemistry. These studies are part of IODP Expedition 359, Maldives Monsoon and Sea Level, and are part of the greater effort to decipher how changes to monsoon dynamics affect the carbon cycle and hydrography during the Quaternary. I have participated in two oceanographic cruises, JR100/IODP 379T Chilean Margin ( and Argentine Margin Survey Cruise onboard the R/V Thompson in 2019.

Since my undergraduate studies working in a high-temperature experimental geochemistry laboratory, I have been particularly interested in advances in instrumentation. These analytical techniques in geochemistry are continuing to push the frontiers of research, and I am eager to use these methods to solve problems in paleoceanography and Earth history. As such, I have a particular fondness for deciphering how global changes leave behind minute geochemical signals in the proxy record.

Research Interests

  • Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology 
  • Stable Isotope Geochemistry 
  • Trace Metal Geochemistry 
  • Micropaleontology (foraminifera)


  • Rutgers University, NJ - (Ph.D. Candidate) 2016-Present 
  • University of Rochester, NYGeological Sciences (B.S.) with Biology, Environmental Geology, and History Minors, 2015 
    • Senior Thesis: "Methods of Apatite Synthesis and Europium Anomaly Effects with regard to Oxygen Fugacity"
    • Advisor: Dustin Trail 

Teaching Experience

  • Teaching Assistant: Spring 2020 (01:460:302) Petrology 
  • Teaching Assistant: Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018 - (01:460:301) Mineralogy under Dr. Claude Herzberg
    • Occasional Guest Lecture 
  • Teaching Assistant: Spring 2017, Spring 2018 - (01:460:304) Intro. to Geochemistry under Dr. Godfrey, Dr. Mortlock, Dr. Turrin
    • Occasional Guest Lecture
  • Co-Instructor: Summer 2018, Summer 2019, Summer 2020 - (01:460:100) Planet Earth, Section J1
  • Co-Instructor: Summer 2018, Summer 2019 - (01:460:100) Planet Earth, Section H3
  • Workshop Leader: Fall 2014 - (EES 101) Intro. to Geological Sciences under Dr. Penny Higgins  

Honors and Awards

  • Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM) Student Research Grant - 2019
  • Rutgers Graduate Program in Geological Science Excellence Fellowship - 2019
  • William V. Sliter Research Award (Cushman Foundation) - 2018
  • TA/GA Professional Development Award - 2018
  • William and Grace Sparks Graduate Student Research Award (excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring) - 2018
  • Geological Society of America (GSA) Graduate Student Research Grant - 2018
  • NSF Participation Award for Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry and Ecology (IsoCamp) - 2017
  • Special Study Award (renamed Off-Campus Dissertation Development Award) - 2017
  • TA/GA Professional Development Award - 2017 
  • Discover Grant for Undergraduate Summer Research - 2014
  • 7th Generation Scholarship for Environmental Sustainability and Development- 2011 to 2015

Travel Grants

  • On To the Future Award (GSA) - 2020
  • IsoAstro Workshop Travel Support - 2019
  • Graduate Climate Conference Travel Fund - 2018
  • EPS Graduate Student Travel Fund- 2017
  • EOAS Graduate Student Travel Fund - 2017

Advisor and Dissertation Committee

  • James D. Wright (Advisor)
  • Yair Rosenthal 
  • Richard A. Mortlock
  • Kenneth G. Miller
  • Dick Kroon (University of Edinburgh) 


  • Yu. S.M., Mortlock, R.A, Wright, J.D.. et al., (in prep, summer 2019 submission date) Late Pleistocene equatorial Indian Ocean dynamics inferred from multi-species planktonic foraminifera stable isotope analyses. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
  • Stainbank, S., Spezzaferri, S., De Boever, E., Bouvier, A.S., Chilcott, C., de Leau, E.S., Kunkelova, T., Pichevin, L., Raddatz, J., Rüggeberg, Wright, J.D., Yu, S.M., Zhang, M., Kroon, D., 2020. Diagenetic influences on foraminiferal geochemistry from low latitude, shallow-water drift deposit. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 545 
  • Kunkelova, T., Jung, S.J.A., de Leau, E.S. et al., 2019. A two million year record of low latitude aridity linked to continental weathering from the Maldives. Progress in Earth and Planetary Science 6, 21

Meetings / Abstracts

  • Yu, S.M., J.D. Wright, R.A. Mortlock (2020) Synchronous thermocline dynamics across the equatorial Indian and Pacific inferred from multispecies foraminiferal analyses [Cancelled due to COVID-19]. GSA Joint Southeast and Northeast Meeting 2020, Reston, VA  
  • Yu. S.M. (2020) Late Pleistocene equatorial Indian Ocean dynamics inferred from multi-species foraminiferal analysis [Talk], Rutgers Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences Colloquium, New Brunswick, NJ   
  • Rosenthal. Y., J.F. Adkins, S.M. Yu, J.D. Wright, R.A. Mortlock, and Scientific Team of IODP Drilling Leg 363 (2019) Reconstructing the density structure of the western Pacific during the LGM: Results from IODP Expedition 363. AGU Fall Meeting 2019, San Francisco, CA
  • Stainbank. S., D. Kroon, M. Zhang, S.M. Yu, J. Wright, T. Kunkelova, A. Rüggeberg, E. de Leau, E. de Boever, C. Chilcott, S. Spezzaferri (2019) Long-term Surface and Intermediate Water reconstructions: IODP359, northern equatorial Indian Ocean, Foram-Nanno Conference 2019. Fribourg, Switzerland  
  • Stainbank. S., A. Rüggeberg, D. Kroon, J. Raddatz, S.M. Yu, J. Wright, E. de Leau, M. Zhang, S. Spezzaferri (2019) Glacial-Interglacial South Asian Monsoon dynamics: A Multi-species foraminiferal approach. 13th International Conference on Paleoceanography, Syndey, Australia 
  • Stainbank. S., D. Kroon, M. Zhang, S.M. Yu, J. Wright, T. Kunkelova, A. Rüggeberg, E. de Leau, E. de Boever, C. Chilcott, and S. Spezzaferri (2019) High-resolution foraminiferal geochemical records for the last 1.8 Myr: Diagenetic controls, South Asian Monsoon dynamics and oceanographic implications, 13th International Conference on Paleoceanography, Syndey, Australia 
  • Yu. S.M. (2018) Insights into the Monsoon System via the Paleo-Proxy Record [Talk]. Rutgers Archeological Society, New Brunswick, NJ
  • Yu. S.M., L. Godfrey, R. Mortlock, and J.D. Wright (2018) Maldives Hydrography Reconstruction over the Pleistocene [Poster]. Graduate Climate Conference 2018, Seattle, WA
  • Yu. S.M., L. Godfrey, R. Mortlock, and J.D. Wright (2018) Maldives Multispecies Foraminifera Hydrography Reconstruction over the Pleistocene and Oxygen Minimum Zone History [Poster]. Goldschmidt 2018, Boston, MA 
  • Yu. S.M. (2018) Maldives multi-species foraminifera thermocline reconstruction over the Pleistocene [Talk]. IODP Exp 359 2nd Postcruise Meeting, Nassau, Bahamas 
  • Yu. S.M., J.D. Wright, D. Kroon, and R. Mortlock (2017) Pleistocene Thermocline Reconstruction and Ventilation History in the Maldives [Poster]. AGU Fall Meeting 2017, New Orleans, LA  

Field and Oceanographic Experience

  • R/V Thomas G. Thompson, Argentine Margin Seismic and Coring Survey (52 Days) - 2019
  • D/V JOIDES Resolution,  JR100/Expedition 379T (Sedimentologist), Chilean Margin (30 Days)- 2019
  • Green River Formation, WY - 2019
  • New Jersey Coastal Plain - 2018
  • Bahamas Sea Level, Nassau Island - 2018
  • Flatirons (CO), Granite Mountains (WY), Yellowstone (WY), Grand Teton (WY), Stillwater Complex (MT) - 2018
  • Book Cliffs, UT - 2017
  • Adirondack Mountains, NY - 2016
  • Basin and Range Province Field Camp, NV - 2015
  • Catskill Mountains, NY - 2014

Professional Organizations 

  • American Geophysical Union
  • Geological Society of America 
  • Cushman Foundation for Foraminiferal Research
  • Society for Sedimentary Geology 
  • Sigma Xi
  • Sigma Gamma Epsilon