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Marci Robinson

Research Geologist

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Short Biography

Marci is a Research Geologist specializing in planktic and benthic foraminifera and climate change research.

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Dowsett, H.J., Robinson, M.M., Haywood, A.M., Hill, D.J., Dolan, A.M., Stoll, D.K., Chan, W.-L., Abe-Ouchi, A., Chandler, M.A., Rosenbloom, N.A., Otto-Bliesner, B.L., Bragg, F.J., Lunt, D.J., Foley, K.M., and Riesselman, C.R., 2012.  Assessing confidence in Pliocene sea surface temperatures to evaluate predictive models, Nature Climate Change 2: 365-371, doi: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1455.


Yasuhara, M., Hunt, G., Dowsett, H.J., Robinson, M.M. and Stoll, D.K., 2012.  Latitudinal species diversity gradient of marine zooplankton for the last three million years.  Ecology Letters, doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2012.01828.x.



Dowsett, H.J., Haywood, A.M., Valdes, P.J., Robinson, M.M., Lunt, D.J., Hill, D.J., Stoll, D.K., and Foley, K.M., 2011.  Sea surface temperatures of the mid-Piacenzian warm period: A comparison of PRISM3 and HadCM3.  Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 309: 83-91.


Haywood, A.M., Dowsett, H.J., Robinson, M.M., Stoll, D.K., Dolan, A.M., Lunt, D.J., Otto-Bliesner, B. and Chandler, M.A., 2011.  Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project (PlioMIP): experimental design and boundary conditions (Experiment 2).  Geoscientific Model Development 4: 571-577.


Robinson, M.M., 2011. Pliocene Climate Lessons.  American Scientist 99: 228-235.


Robinson, M.M., Valdes, P.J., Haywood, A.M., Dowsett, H.J., Hill, D.J. and Jones, S.M., 2011.  Bathymetric controls on Pliocene North Atlantic and Arctic sea surface temperature and deepwater production.  Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 309: 92-97.



Dowsett, H.J. and Robinson M.M., 2010.  USGS Corecast Episode 115:  Want Clues to Climate Change?  Let’s Look Back 3 Million Years.  Hosted by Jessica Robertson.  Released:  7 January, 2010.

Dowsett, H., Robinson, M., Haywood, A., Salzmann, U., Hill, D., Sohl, L., Chandler, M., Williams, M., Foley, K. and Stoll, D., 2010.  The PRISM3D Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction.  Stratigraphy, 7: 123-140.


Dowsett, H., Robinson, M., Stoll, D. and Foley, K., 2010.  Mid-Piacenzian mean annual sea surface temperature analysis for data-model comparisons.  Stratigraphy, 7: 189-198.


Haywood, A.M., Dowsett, H.J., Otto-Bliesner, B., Chandler, M.A., Dolan, A.M., Hill, D.J., Lunt, D.J., Robinson, M.M., Rosenbloom, N., Salzmann, U., and Sohl, L.E., 2010.  Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project (PlioMIP):  Experimental design and boundary conditions (Experiment 1).  Geoscientific Model Development 3: 227-242.


Robinson, M.M. and Dowsett, H.J., 2010.  ePRISM: A case study in multiple proxy and mixed temporal resolution integration.  Stratigraphy, 7: 177-188.


Robinson, M.M. and Dowsett, H.J., 2010.  Why Study Paleoclimate?  US Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2010-3021, 2p.

Dowsett, H.J., Chandler, M.A. and Robinson M.M., 2009. Surface temperatures of the mid-Pliocene North Atlantic Ocean: Implications for future climate. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, The Pliocene. A Vision of Earth in the late twenty-first century? 367: 69-84, doi:10.1098/rsta.2008.0213

Dowsett, H.J. and Robinson M.M., 2009. Mid-Pliocene equatorial Pacific sea surface temperature reconstruction: A multi-proxy perspective. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, The Pliocene. A Vision of Earth in the late twenty-first century? 367: 109-126, doi:10.1098/rsta.2008.0206

Dowsett, H.J., Robinson, M.M. and Foley, K.M., 2009. Pliocene three-dimensional global ocean temperature reconstruction. Climate of the Past, 5: 769-783.

Dowsett, H., Robinson, M. and Robertson, J., 2009. Getting warmer? Prehistoric climate can help forecast future changes. USGS Sound Waves, 112: 1-3.

Raymo, M.E., Hearty, P. De Conto, R. O’Leary, M., Dowsett, H.J., Robinson, M.M. and Mitrovica, J.X., 2009. PLIOMAX: Pliocene maximum sea level project. PAGES News, 17: 58-59.

Robinson, M.M., 2009. New Quantitative Evidence of Extreme Warmth in the Pliocene Arctic. Stratigraphy, 6: 265-275 .

Dowsett, H.J. and Robinson M.M., 2008. USGS Corecast Episode 77: Prehistoric climate provides clues to future changes. Hosted by Pat Jellison. Released: 24 November 2008.

Robinson, M.M., Caballero, R., Pohlman, E., Herbert., T., Peck, V. and Dowsett, H., 2008. Mid-Pliocene planktic foraminifer census data and alkenone unsaturation indices from Ocean Drilling Program Hole 677A, USGS Data Series 353.

Robinson, M.M., Dowsett, H.J. and Chandler, M.A., 2008. Pliocene Role in Assessing Future Climate Impacts. Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 89 (49): 501-502.

Robinson, M.M., Dowsett, H.J., Dwyer, G.S. and Lawrence, K.T., 2008. Reevaluation of mid-Pliocene North Atlantic sea surface temperatures. Paleoceanography 23, PA3213, doi:10.1029/2008PA001608.

Robinson, M.M., and McBride, R.A., 2008. Anatomy of a shoreface sand ridge revisited using foraminifera: False Cape Shoals, Virginia/North Carolina inner shelf. Continental Shelf Research 28: 2428-2441.

Dowsett, H.J. and Robinson, M.M., 2007. Mid-Pliocene Planktic Foraminifer Assemblage of the North Atlantic Ocean. Micropaleontology 53: 105-126.

Dowsett, H.J. and Robinson, M.M., 2006. Stratigraphic framework for Pliocene paleoclimate reconstruction: the correlation conundrum. Stratigraphy 3: 53-64.

Dowsett, H., Robinson, M., Dwyer, G., Chandler, M. and Cronin, T., 2006. PRISM3 DOT1 Atlantic Basin reconstruction. US Geological Survey Data Series 189.

Robinson, M.M. and McBride, R.A., 2006. Benthic foraminifera from a relict flood tidal delta along the Virginia/North Carolina Outer Banks. Micropaleontology 52: 67-80.

McBride, R.A. and Robinson, M.M., 2003. Geomorphic evolution and geology of Old Currituck Inlet and its flood tidal delta, Virginia/North Carolina, USA (Part I). Proceedings Coastal Sediments ’03, ASCE Press, 14pp.

Robinson, M.M. and McBride, R.A., 2003. Old Currituck Inlet, Virginia/North Carolina: Inlet history documented by foraminiferal evidence, (Part II). Proceedings Coastal Sediments ’03, ASCE Press, 14pp.

Dowsett, H.J. and Robinson, M.M., 1998. Application of the Modern Analog Technique (MAT) of sea surface temperature estimation to middle Pliocene North Pacific planktonic foraminifer assemblages.  Palaeontologia Electronica 1.

Robinson, M.M., 1996. Planktic foraminifer census data from sites V19-257 and RC17-44. U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 96-545.

Robinson, M.M. and Brown, S.L., 1994. Planktic foraminifer census data from site RC-15-62 and Ocean Drilling Program holes 747A and 751A. U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 94-446.

Robinson, M.M. and Dowsett, H.J., 1996. Pliocene planktic foraminifer census data from DSDP Site 592, Southwest Pacific Ocean. U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 96-544.


My Science Topics

Science Topic
Oceans and Coastlinesocean circulation
Atmosphere and Climateglobal change
Atmosphere and Climateclimate change
Oceans and Coastlinesocean temperature
Oceans and Coastlinespaleoceanography
Oceans and Coastlinessea-level change
Earth Characteristicsbathymetry
Earth Characteristicsbiostratigraphy
Earth Characteristicsfossils

My USGS Science Strategy Areas

Understanding Ecosystems & Predicting Ecosystems Change

Climate Variability & Change

Pliocene Research, Interpretation and Synoptic Mapping

Image of Current Focus for Pliocene Research, Interpretation and Synoptic Mapping

PRISM is a collaborative data analysis and climate modeling effort that strives to 1) accurately and comprehensively reconstruct and understand Pliocene climate and climate dynamics in order to gain insight into a warmer than present world that may resemble a future climate and to 2) construct Pliocene paleoenvironmental/paleoclimatic boundary conditions as an aid to general circulation model experiments designed to explore the impacts of climate forcings and feedbacks. The Pliocene world provides an unequalled paleo-laboratory to test the sensitivity of the physical models that we rely upon for estimating future warming impacts. It challenges our understanding of the sensitivity of key components of the climate system and how we simulate that system.

Eocene Hyperthermals

Image of Eocene Hyperthermals

The late Paleocene-early Eocene gradual warming trend that culminated in the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum is punctuated by a series of sudden and extreme global warming events known as hyperthermals. The most intensely studied of the Eocene hyperthermals is the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM).  During the PETM, global temperatures rose by ~5°C, ocean acidification was widespread, floral and faunal communities were severely disrupted, and benthic foraminifera suffered a mass extinction in the deep sea due to changing oceanic circulation and a disrupted carbon cycle.  Subsequent successive and progressively less extreme hyperthermals followed.  The Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum is a less abrupt event set in a background of global cooling; the global temperature rise, however, is comparable to that of the PETM.  While more recent warm intervals better represent modern or near future climate, Eocene hyperthermals most closely resemble the current rate of change of atmospheric CO2 and temperature.  It is here that we will find potential analogs in the response of marine ecosystems to abrupt changes in climate. 

Contact Information

Marci Robinson
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr
Reston, VA 20192
703-648-6953 - Fax
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