David Harning

David Harning

Postdoctoral Researcher



  • PhD: University of Colorado Boulder, 2019
  • PhD: University of Iceland, 2019
  • BSc: Bates College, 2013

Contact Information


Quaternary paleoclimate of the Arctic, lake and marine sediments, biogeochemistry, tephrochronology, glacier history


In order to better contextualize modern climate change, I explore and merge a range of analytical techniques to reconstruct past environmental changes from Quaternary geologic archives.

For my PhD, I used a combination of physical and biogeochemical proxies (i.e., bulk geochem, lipid biomarkers) from lake and marine sediment to quantitatively reconstruct the Holocene glacier and climate variability in and around Iceland, as well as explore the forcing mechanisms for prior centennial-scale perturbations. Along the way, I also developed a strong interest in improving Iceland's Holocene tephra stratigraphy by geochemically fingerprinting and dating new marker tephra for West Iceland.

For my PostDoc, I will be continuing research centered on Iceland's Holocene paleoclimate through the lens of sedimentary ancient DNA. In particular, I will be focused on improving Iceland's Holocene paleoecology to answer questions about 1) post-deglacial plant colonization in the early Holocene, 2) the maximum coverage of birch forests during early-middle Holocene peak warmth, and 3) post-settlement landscape disturbance.


  • RANNIS Doctoral Student Grant, Icelandic Centre for Research, 2016