Professor of Marine Science & Chemistry
Robert A. Staub Distinguished Teacher Award, May 2012
Paleoclimatology, Chemical oceanography, Marine biogeochemistry
Ph.D., Oceanography, University of Washington, 1995
Galbraith Marine Science Laboratory
Email Professor Hastings
My research focuses on using minor and trace elements in the marine environment as a tool for understanding the history of past climate change and marine biogeochemical processes, as well as the history and severity of anthropogenic contamination. It addresses environmental concerns, and is multi-disciplinary in scope.
As a marine geochemist, I responded quickly to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Some trace metals (V and Ni) are typically enriched in crude oil, and I am using them as a potential tracer of oil contamination in marine sediments and beach sands, even after the oil has degraded. I am also interested in how redox sensitive metals in sediments are responding following the large pulse of organic matter to the sea floor. Four Eckerd College marine science students are working with me on this project.
My primary research interest is paleoclimatology, which is to reveal the history of past climate changes. I am exploring the utility of a proxy for sea surface temperature based on the incorporation of Mg and Sr into the shells of foraminifera, a ubiquitous marine protist, as well as other microfossils such as ostracods, The reconstruction of ocean temperature is an essential component in understanding the controls of past and future climate change throughout Earth's history. The beauty of this method is that by measuring 18O on the same sample – a standard procedure - we can also determine changes in salinity, which can be directly related to central climate processes including meltwater discharge and evaporation/precipitation. Currently, I am focusing on rapid climate changes in the Gulf of Mexico during the deglacial period, to determine how the timing meltwater pulses relates to possible changes in thermohaline circulation.
My research is funded by the U.S. Geological Survey, The Comer Education and Science Foundation, Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, as well as internal grants from Eckerd College. In the past, I have received funding from the National Science Foundation, and the American Chemical Society. Teaching activities are supported by grants from Florida Institute of Oceanography, Digital Library for Earth Science Education (DLESE), and Florida Campus Contract.
In both lectures and the smaller classes I teach, I rely on case studies, small group work, and hands-on learning. I place a strong emphasis on active, collaborative learning and encourage critical thinking. Field work with students is central in my teaching, as reflected in recent articles in the Tampa Tribune and recent research on microplastics with students in the Tampa Bay Times.
Florida Aquarium TideTalk, January 16, 2013
I am frequently asked by members of our local community to discuss issues related to climate change, sustainability, and environmental change. Many of these talks focus on justice and the appropriate actions we can take to mitigate the negative effects of environmental degradation. I eagerly participate in these discussions and enjoy the opportunity to help guide the public conversation and community response to what I consider a critical and urgent issue.
Chemical and Physical Oceanography
Global Environmental Change
Introduction to Marine Science
Oceanography of Tampa Bay
Climate Change: Past and Present
Geochemical Tracers (intensive lab-based course)
Chemistry and Oceanography of Tampa Bay (field course)
Natural History of the Galapagos (field course)
Earth Systems Science of the Everglades (field course)
Research Advisor and Undergraduate Thesis Committee Chair for:
Tara Roeder, May 2012. Trace metals as indicators of oil contamination in marine and beach sediments following the Deep Water Horizon blowout.
Charles S. Adams, May 2012, Paired O-18 and Mg/Ca from benthic foraminifera G. ruber to indicate LIS meltwater input to the Gulf of Mexico 24-28 kyr BP.
Nicola Zenzola, May 2012, Biogeochemistry techniques in sediment cores to investigate petroleum traces caused by the Deepwater Horizon Blowout, Eckerd College.
Zoe G. O’Donoghue, May 2012. Identifying Bioactive Compounds from U.S. Algae Biofuel ponds Sarah Mass balance analysis of oyster biodeposits at Marinetics oyster farm, Cambridge, MD.
Jennifer Hendricks, May 2010. Presence of Meltwater Pulse 1A in the Gulf of Mexico.
Kaela Wuesthoff, May 2009. Seasonal Distribution of Algal Symbionts of Anthopleura elegantissima in the Intertidal Zone.
Noura Randle, May 2008. Assessing the integrity of a stratigraphic sequence using paired AMS radiocarbon dates on planktonic foraminifera: Development of a high-resolution chronology.
Kelli Hoover, May 2008. Holocene climate variability as recorded in the benthic foraminifera Ammonia beccarii from Tampa Bay, FL.
Christopher Maupin, May 2006. High-resolution record of climate proxies from fast growing coral Acropora cervicornis to identify extreme weather events.
Danielle Greenhowe, May 2006. West Florida Shelf Phosphate Concentration Analysis Using In Situ Determination.
Melissa Gilbert, December 2005. A high-resolution deglacial record of climate and melt water discharge in the Gulf of Mexico.
Jennifer Flannery, 2005. Records of oceanic and continental response to abrupt climate changes during the late Holocene (2,000 BP - present) from the PigmyBasin, Gulf of Mexico
Terill Hollweg, May 2004. A multi-proxy, multi-species approach to determining climate change in Tampa Bay, Fl over the past 21,000 years.
Jenna LoDico, May 2003. A multi-proxy approach to distinguish between past changes in sea surface temperature and meltwater input in the Gulf of Mexico.
Anne Whitko, May 2002. New paleotemperature calibration and estimates in the South China Sea.
Amanda Hopkins, May 2001. Bioavailable trace metal concentrations in Tampa Bay, FL.
John Akl, December 2000, Properties of Colored Dissolved Organic Matter Along the Orinoco River Plume.
Williams, C., B. Flower, and D. W. Hastings. (2012) Seasonal Laurentide Ice Sheet Melting During the Mystery Interval. Geology, 40
Flower, B.P., D. W. Hastings, N. R. Randle* (2011). Paired AMS 14C dates on planktic foraminifera from a Gulf of Mexico sediment core: An assessment of stratigraphic continuity. Radiocarbon, 53 (2): 337-344
Williams, C., B. P. Flower, D. W. Hastings, T. P. Guilderson, K. A. Quinn, and E. A. Goddard (2010), Deglacial abrupt climate change in the Atlantic Warm Pool: A Gulf of Mexico perspective. Paleoceanography, 25, PA4221, doi:10.1029/2010PA001928
Flower, B.P., C. Williams, H.W. Hill, and D.W. Hastings, accepted to Abrupt Climate Change: Mechanisms, Patterns, and Impacts, (edited by H. Rashid. L. Polyak, and E. Mosley-Thompson), Laurentide Ice Sheet meltwater and the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation during the last glacial cycle: A view from the Gulf of Mexico, AGU Geophysical Monograph, 2010BK001016.
Greaves, M., N. Caillon, D. Hastings, and others. Interlaboratory comparison study of calibration standards for foraminiferal Mg/Ca thermometry. Geochem, Geophys., Geosyst. 9(8) 2008. doi:10.1029/2008GC001974
Cronin, T. D., N. T. Edgar, G. R. Brooks, D. W. Hastings, R. Larson, A. C. Hine, S. D. Locker, B. C. Suthard, B. P. Flower, D. J. Hollander, J. Wehmiller, D. A. Willard and S. M. Smith (2007). Sea Level Rise in Tampa Bay. EOS 88(10).
Williams, C. W., B. P. Flower, and D. W. Hastings. Deglacial Laurentide Ice Sheet meltwater and seasonality changes based on Gulf of Mexico sediments. For submission to Paleoceanography.
Flower, B. P., D. W. Hastings, H. W. Hill and T. M. Quinn (2004). Phasing of deglacial warming and Laurentide ice sheet meltwater in the Gulf of Mexico. Geology, 32(7):597-600.
Whitko, A. N., D. W. Hastings, and B. P. Flower (2002). Past sea surface temperatures inthe tropical South China Sea based on a new foraminiferal Mg calibration. MARSci., DOI:01.020101.
Shen, C. C., D. W. Hastings, T. Lee, C. H. Chiu, M. Y Lee, K. Y. Wei, and R. L Edwards (2001). High-precision glacial-interglacial benthic foraminiferal Sr/Ca record from the eastern equatorial Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 190:197-209.
Villanueva, J., and D. W. Hastings (2000). A century scale record of the preservation of chlorophyll and its transformation products in anoxic sediments. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 64: 2281-2294.
Hastings, D. W., A. Russell and Emerson S. (1998). Foraminiferal magnesium in G.sacculifer as a paleotemperature proxy. Paleoceanography, 13:161-169.
Hastings, D. W., S. Emerson, J. Erez, and B. Nelson (1996). Vanadium in foraminiferal calcite: Evaluation of a method to determine paleo-seawater vanadium concentrations. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 60: 3701-3715.
Hastings, D. W., S. Emerson, and A. Mix (1996). Vanadium in foraminiferal calcite as a tracer for changes in the areal extent of reducing sediments. Paleoceanography, 11: 665-678.
Hastings, D. W., S. Emerson, and B. Nelson (1996). Determination of picogram quantities of vanadium in foraminiferal calcite and seawater by isotope dilution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry with electrothermal vaporization. Analytical Chemistry, 68: 371-378.
* indicates undergraduate student under my supervision
Current Research and Teaching Activities
Understanding the Carbon Cycle: A Jigsaw Approach. This activity has been extensively reviewed for inclusion in the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network's collection of educational resources.
Reconstructing the Ocean's Secret Past: Implications for future climate change
Seminar given at USF/St Petersburg , Environmental Studies on November 18, 2008
Research Grants Funded
Center for Integrated Modeling and Analysis of the Gulf Ecosystem (C-IMAGE) funded by The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative. Co-Principal Investigator. $170,000 to D. W. Hastings. 9/1/11-8/31/14
Deep-C: Deep Sea to Coast Connectivity in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative,. $70,000 to D.W. Hastings. 9/1/11-8/31/14.
Penetration, accumulation and degradation of BP DWH oil in Florida sandy beaches. Awarded September 2010 from Gulf Research Initiative. With Drs. Markus Heutel, Florida State University and Joel Kostka, Georgia Institute of Technology. $58,139 to D. W. Hastings.
Assessing the impact of Deepwater Horizon oil and dispersants on sediments and benthic communities on the West Florida Shelf and Slope. Awarded September 2010 from Gulf Research Initiative. $25,000 to D.W. Hastings.
Laurentide meltwater input to the Gulf of Mexico during the last deglaciation. Comer Foundation, May 2006. Awarded $60,152. With Dr. Ben Flower, University of South Florida.
Climate Variability in Tampa Bay: Trends of Salinity and Temperature from the Sediment Record. U. S. Geological Survey, July 2002 - February 2008. Awarded $131,500 over six years, reviewed and awarded annually.
Development of paleoceanographic and paleoclimatological proxies for climate change research. Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Natural Sciences Summer Research Program, Eckerd College, 2001-2011. Awarded total of $56,100.
Historical Trends in Salinity and Temperature in Tampa Bay. U. S. Geological Survey, July 2001 - June 2002. Awarded $8,000.
Seasonal Calibration of Paleoceanographic Proxies, by Florida Institute of Oceanography, 2003. Awarded ten days of ship time, equivalent value of $33,000.