Researcher biography

Dr. Cesca McInerney uses the isotopic and molecular signatures of plant materials to decipher how climate affects terrestrial ecosystems, both in the geologic past and today. Her work includes examining the global warming of the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (56 million years ago), Neogene expansion of grassland ecosystems (15-3 million years ago), tropical climate change from Quaternary lake cores and cave sediments (200,000 years to present), and modern variations in plants and soils. Her applied research focuses on isotopic provenancing of timber, wildlife and agricultural products in order to combat illegal trade.

Cesca received her Bachelors from Yale University and her Masters and PhD from the University of Chicago and then conducted postdoctoral research at the Smithsonian and Pennsylvania State University. She was an Assistant Professor at Northwestern University in Chicago for six years before relocating to Australia for an ARC Future Fellowship at the University of Adelaide. Cesca is now a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Queensland and a Visiting Scientist at CSIRO Agriculture and Food.