Paytan Biogeochemistry Lab

photos of sunsets

Kyle Broach

Earth and Planetary Sciences
University of California Santa Cruz




I was born in Nashville, Tennessee and grew up south of the city in the rolling hills typical of the state. I have always enjoyed the outdoors and the natural sciences. Convinced from a young age that chemistry was the closest relative of magic, I began my college career in chemistry at Vanderbilt University in Nashville but quickly added earth sciences when I realized this is why the outdoors are so captivating. I’ve since expanded to coastal marine work by way of stratigraphic research in Antarctica and paleohydrology and climate change in coastal lagoons of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. I am currently working on my PhD at UC Santa Cruz in the Biogeochemistry Lab with Adina Paytan and enjoy teaching and science in the field and in the classroom when volunteering in local schools around Monterey Bay. My current research projects include foraminifera assemblage indicators of paleoenvironments and trace metal and isotope work to look at changing precipitation and climate in Mexico. In my infrequent spare time I greatly enjoy hiking, backpacking, and gardening.

Project Description

Broadly I am interested in isotopes (of many kinds) as proxies for paleoclimate, tracers for transport, and indicators of large-scale changes in earth systems generally. I am beginning a project on using radium (226Ra) to trace sources of groundwater in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico to determine the hydrologic regime in the modern system. Using radium in bivalves and forams from sediment cores, I hope to extend hydrologic interpretations back in time to see how groundwater (and thus water sources) change over time and reflecting shifting climate. I am also starting a project on using lead (Pb) isotopes in deep-sea cold-water corals to reconstruct intermediate water mass circulation. The ocean and atmosphere work together to control climate, and the distribution of heat as an important part of that equation. Understanding water circulation in the modern oceans as well as during varying climates in the past may elucidate changes expected in the future as the effects of climate change become more pronounced and alter ocean currents and distribution of heat.

Page last updated February 1, 2017