Troy M Ferland

I am an organic geochemist and paleoclimatologist, and I use biomarker and stable isotopic tools to investigate interactions between fire, vegetation, and climate in Neogene East Africa. Fire is an ecological disturbance integral to the coexistence of trees and grasses in savannah ecosystems. Our ancestors, hominins, evolved in the context of savannah expansion and increased climatic variability. Hominin evolution of fire use behaviors is under active investigation, and understanding natural fire variability contextualizes possible early interactions between hominins and fire. I am currently reconstructing regional records of fire activity from lacustrine and marine archives, investigating the spatial arrangement of fire and hominin activity on paleolandscapes, and using historical records to understand linkages between the modern climate system and fire controls in East Africa.