Kristine L. DeLong, Ph.D.
Department of Geography & Anthropology
Coastal Studies Institute Fellow
South Central Climate Adapatation Science Center co-PI
Louisiana State University
E313A Howe-Russell-Kniffen Geoscience Complex
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
Dr. DeLong joined the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Louisiana State University (LSU) in August 2009 after completing her Ph.D. in Marine Science at University of South Florida and her post-doctoral research at the U.S. Geological Survey in St. Petersburg, FL. Dr. DeLong has expertise in paleoceanography and paleoclimatology, especially in tropical regions with 17 years of research experience. She is one of a few paleoclimatologists that has published multi-century long coral-based temperature reconstructions from Atlantic and Pacific corals. She has conducted field campaigns to recover modern and fossil coral samples, and is the lead principle investigator for projects involving sediment coring and geophysical survey field operations. DeLong has published extensively on her reconstruction work as well as on the refinement, fidelity, and data analysis methods used in paleoclimatic reconstructions. Dr. DeLong has built a strong research program centered on the multidisciplinary Paleoclimate and Anthropological Studies (PAST) Laboratory. She has participated in international projects including the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, PAGES2k, Iso2k, CoralHydro2K, and Marine Annually Resolved Proxy Archives (MARPA). Additionally, she has local interests in climate and coastal research as part of the South Central Climate Adaption Science Center (SC CASC), the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program (SCIPP), and the LSU Coastal Studies Institute (CSI). She was awarded the 2017 LSU Alumni Association Faculty Excellence Award, 2016 Tiger Athletic Foundation Undergraduate Teaching Award, the 2014 LSU Alumni Association Rising Faculty Research Award, and received the Special Thanks for Achieving Results award from the U.S. Geological Survey in 2009. She is an avid scuba diver and enjoys traveling.
Dr. DeLong’s research is focused on climate change of the past primarily in the subtropics to tropical regions for the past 130,000 years. Current projects include investigating shifts in sea surface temperature and ocean circulation in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea using the chemical variations in the skeletons of large boulder size corals, which can live for many centuries. Her coral reconstruction from the Dry Tortugas, the westernmost Florida Key, is a 274-year long temperature record that reveals a 1 to 2ºC cooling in the Gulf of Mexico from 1780 to 1890 due to shifts in the Loop Current and the Western Hemisphere Warm Pool, which influences precipitation in Central and North America. Other projects include coral-based temperature reconstructions for Veracruz Mexico, Flower Garden Banks in the northern Gulf of Mexico, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Little Cayman Island as well as working with climate models to understand past and future climate change. She recently received funding from the National Science Foundation to reconstruct El Niño variability from archaeological shells in coastal Peru and published a paper on the past, present, and future of coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico. She is the lead PI of an exciting project, just funded for phase two, investigating a ice age baldcypress forest found 13 kilometers offshore of Alabama in the Gulf of Mexico, assumed to be uncovered by a hurricane. These trees grew during the last glacial interval (70,000 to 50,000 years ago) when global sea level was more than 20 meters lower than today. The discovery of the site was widely reported in the media and is the subject of the documentary film “The Underwater Forest” by environmental reporter Ben Raines.