This dissertation is dedicated to my parents who taught me to love learning and who always made my education one of their top priorities.
I decided to come to Brown because the people in the geology department were so friendly when I visited, and I want to thank everyone in the department for continuing to be friendly and supportive during my five years here. The department was completely supportive when I showed up the first day declaring that I suddenly wanted to do paleoclimate research, which I hadn't expressed any interest in during the application process.
Everyone in the Earth Systems History group has been selflessly supportive of my pursuit of my own particular research interests. My advisor, Prof. Timothy Herbert, tried to find a project that fit my interests and encouraged me to follow my own path when my research wandered in a completely different direction. For his support I am exceptionally grateful; few advisors give their students more trust and freedom than Tim has given me. Tim has also shrewdly guided my classwork and research; he recognized the significance of my matching algorithm and provided the ideas for its applications in this dissertation as well as for my planned postdoctoral research on ocean circulation.
In classes and in conversations, the rest of the ESH faculty and staff have also supported my education and research. Tim, Warren Prell, Steve Clemens, and Dave Murray helped me track down as many d18O records as possible for my benthic stack. Tom Webb and Bill Hutson helped me apply principal component and spectral analysis to my data. Finally as members of my advisory committee, Tim, Warren, and Karen Fischer have monitored my progress and provided insightful suggestions of how I should proceed in my research and post-graduate career. My fellow ESH students (Zhonghui Liu, Kira Lawrence, Laura Cleaveland, and Lauren Wincze) have also greatly contributed to my success by sharing data, ideas, suggestions for paper revisions, and friendship. Ruth Crane and Carolyn Sherman have also been very kind in helping me complete the confusing array of paperwork necessary to complete my degree.
Prof. Maureen Raymo of Boston University has also played an extremely important role in my research for the last two years. As a coauthor of the d18O stack paper, she provided previously unpublished data and read many drafts of the paper, always carefully considering its content and providing thoughtful insights into how it could be improved. She has read three entirely different versions of Chapter 5, guiding me on how best to express my ideas. She has also served as a mentor and an advocate. I am looking forward to working with her during my postdoctoral research.