Sarah Marie White

TitleGraduate student researcher
DivisionPhysical & Biological Sciences
DepartmentPBSci-Earth & Planetary Sciences Department,
Baskin School of Engineering
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ORCID
OfficeEarth and Marine Science A160,
Earth and Marine Science C558
Campus Mail StopEarth and Planetary Sciences
Sarah Marie White

Research Interests

I am a PhD student working with Prof. Christina Ravelo on tropical Pacific climate and climate variability during warm periods of the past five million years, using trace metals in foraminifera. I am particularly interested in reconstructing El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), and in combining proxy data and model results to determine mechanisms of ENSO change.


My first project, on ENSO in the Holocene, enables a test of ENSO’s sensitivity to changes in insolation, as indicated in models. My second project, on ENSO in the Pliocene, enables a test of ENSO’s dependence on sea-surface temperatures and thermocline depth, since these parameters were very different in the Pliocene than today. 


My third project uses benthic foraminiferal B/Ca to constrain the effect of dissolution on Pliocene tropical Pacific Mg/Ca temperature records. This project will also generate data relevant for deep ocean circulation.

Biography, Education and Training

Ph.D in Earth and Planetary Science, UC Santa Cruz (2012-present) - advisor: Christina Ravelo


M.S. in Geology, UC Davis (2009-2012) - advisor: Tessa Hill


B.S. in Geological Sciences, UC Santa Barbara (2002-2006)

Honors, Awards and Grants


  • Cushman Foundation Loeblich and Tappan student research grant (2015)

  • UCSC Earth and PLanetary Sciences Dept. Casey Moore grant (2015)

  • Myers Trust student research grant (2015)

  • Chancellor's Graduate Internship Program fellow (2014)

  • UCSC Earth and Planetary Sciences Dept. Waters award (2014)

  • Geological Society of America/ExxonMobil student research grant (2014)

  • Charles A. and June R.P. Ross student research grant (2014)

  • Friends of Long Marine Lab student research grant (2014)

  • UC Davis Chancellor's Prize for Best Oral Presentation (2011)

  • Evolving Earth Foundation student research grant (2010)

  • Geological Society of America student research grant (2010)

  • Outstanding Graduating Senior Award (2006)

Selected Publications

White, S.M., Ravelo., A.C., Polissar, P.J. Dampened El Nino in the Holocene due to extratropical insolation forcing. Manuscript in preparation for submission to Science.


White, S.M., Hill, T.M., Kennett, J.P., Behl, R., Nicholson, C. (2013) Millennial-scale variability to 735 ka: High-resolution climate records from Santa Barbara Basin, CA. Paleoceanography, 28. 

Teaching Interests

I have served as Teaching Assistant for the following classes at UCSC:



  • Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (Spring 2014, 2016)

  • Marine Geology (Winter 2013)

  • Oceanography (Winter 2017)


Additional experience:



  • Helped develop high-school level teaching modules on El Nino-Southern Oscillation with CalTeach student, with Chancellor's Graduate Internship Program.

  • Guest lectured (5X) at local elementary and high schools on marine science and my research on El Nino-Southern Oscillation.