Yu, S. Mark

Office: 233E Geological Sciences Lab




Research Interests

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

My Ph.D. thesis aims to establish changes to the thermocline waters in the Indian Ocean extending past Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 6 and to reconstruct biogeochemical cycles in the regional area 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, water column thermal structure, and export productivity in the last 1.8 Myr.

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 novel problems in paleoceanography. As such, I have a particular fondness for deciphering how global changes leave behind minute geochemical signals in the proxy record.


  • 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

  • Instructor: Summer 2018, Summer 2019 - (01:460:100) Planet Earth, Sections H3 and J1
  • 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
  • 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 for 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 - 2014
  • 7th Generation Scholarship - 2011 to 2015

Travel Grants

  • 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


  • Kunkelova, T., S. Jung, and the Expedition 359 Scientists (2018), A two million year record of low latitude aridity linked to continental weathering from the Maldives, Progress in Earth and Planetary Science 

Meetings / Abstracts

  • 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 Experience

  • R/V Thomas G. Thompson Site Survey, Argentine Margin - 2019
  • JR100/JOIDES Resolution Expedition 379T (Sedimentologist), Chilean Margin - 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