Christina L. Belanger

Christina L. Belanger

Assistant Professor

Marine Paleoecology, Paleoenvironments, Climate Change, Foraminifera, Invertebrates

  (979) 458-4372

  Halbouty 265


Identifying how organisms respond, why they respond, and to which environmental factors they are primarily responding is integral to understanding how future climate change will affect the modern biota as well as to inform efforts to sustain biodiversity and economically important fisheries.

Shelled organisms, such as molluscs and foraminifera, are abundant and well-preserved in the fossil record and in museum collections of modern specimens. These preserved assemblages allow longer-term perspectives on biotic response and climate change - millennia to millions of years - than is possible in exclusively present-day ecological studies.

Research themes in the laboratory group include:

  • Reconstructing paleoenvironments using geochemical and faunal proxies
  • Investigating ecological and physiological responses to environmental change in the fossil record
  • Understanding the influence of oceanographic factors on marine biogeography
  • Using digital technologies to better teach fossil identification

Recent work in the laboratory group involves:

  • Low-oxygen events in the Gulf of Alaska over the past 60,000 years
  • Arctic ecosystem responses to Cenozoic climate changes
  • Benthic foraminiferal responses to Cretaceous Ocean Anoxic Events
  • Ecological changes in Matagorda Bay, Texas over the last few hundred years
  • Modern biogeography of benthic foraminifera

Selected Publications

#Bryant, R. and C.L. Belanger, 2023. Spatial heterogeneity in benthic foraminiferal assemblages track regional impacts of paleoenvironmental change across Cretaceous OAE2. Paleobiology.

Du, J., A.C. Mix, B.A. Haley, C.L. Belanger, *Sharon, 2022. Volcanic trigger of Northeast Pacific deoxygenation during Cordilleran Ice Sheet retreat. Nature, 611 (7934), 74-80.

Belanger, C. L., 2022. Volumetric analysis of benthic foraminifera: Intraspecific test size and growth patterns related to embryonic size and food resources. Marine Micropaleontology, 176, 102170.

*Sharon, C. L. Belanger, 2022. Placing North Pacific paleo-oxygen records on a common scale using multivariate analysis of benthic foraminiferal assemblages. Quaternary Science Reviews, 280.

*Sims, E. and C.L. Belanger, 2021. Quantifying Late Pennsylvanian multivariate morphological change in the fusulinid genus Triticites from the Central and Southwestern United States. Journal of Foraminiferal Research, 51(3): 165-181.

**Payne, C. and C.L. Belanger, 2021. Enhanced carbonate dissolution associated with deglacial dysoxic events in the subpolar North Pacific. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology.

*Sharon, C.L. Belanger, J. Du, A. Mix, 2021. Reconstructing paleo-oxygenation for the last 54,000 years in the Gulf of Alaska using cross-validated benthic foraminiferal and geochemical records. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology.

Belanger, C.L., *Sharon, J. Du, *C. Payne, A. Mix, 2020. North Pacific deep-sea ecosystem responses reflect post-glacial switch to pulsed export productivity, deoxygenation, and destratification. Deep Sea Research 164, 103341.

*Laird, J. and C. Belanger, 2019. Quantifying successional change and ecological similarity among Cretaceous and modern cold-seep faunas. Paleobiology 45:114-135.

#=post-doctoral mentee *=graduate mentee; **=undergraduate mentee


PhD - 2011 – University of Chicago - Department of Geophysical Sciences

BA – 2005 – University of California, Santa Barbara – College of Creative Studies


College of Arts and Sciences Research Impact Award (2023)

Montague-Center for Teaching Excellence Scholar (AY 2021-2022)

Association of Former Students College-Level Distinguished Achievement Award for teaching (AY 2021-2022)

CAREER: Leveraging benthic foraminiferal biogeography to recognize ecosystem responses to climate change and engage first-generation students in scientific inquiry, $506,000, NSF-EAR-SGP (June 2022-May 2027). – P.I. Belanger

EXP: FossilSketch, a new educational software application for teaching micropaleontology (Foraminifera and Ostracoda), $300,000, NSF-DUE-IUSE Exploration & Design: Engaged Student Learning, (January 2020-December 2023) P.I. Hammond, Co-PIs Stepanova, Belanger, Raven.

Collaborative Research: Distinguishing the drivers of benthic foraminiferal faunal change to improve mechanistic interpretations of abrupt hypoxic events in the North Pacific, $479,338, NSF-P2C2 (September 2015-August 2018) – P.I. Belanger, Co-PI Mix (Oregon State University)


Geol 152 – History of the Earth

Geol 208 – Life on a Dynamic Planet

Geol 305 - Paleobiology

Geol 311 – Geological Writing

Geol 314 – Paleontology and Geobiology

Geol 651 – Paleoecological Community Analysis

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