Sarah Finkelstein , Associate Professor


Home Campus:
U of T St. George

University of Toronto (2004)

Other Degrees:
MPhil University of Cambridge, UK (1999)
AB Princeton University (1998)

Cross Appointments:
Department of Earth Sciences

Contact Information:

Department of Earth Sciences
Phone:    (416) 978-5613
Location: Office, 3129 Earth Sciences Centre (22 Russell Street);  Lab: 4088 Earth Science Centre

Personal Website:

Research Interests:

  • Paleoecology
  • Paleoclimatology
  • Paleolimnology
  • Biogeography
  • Palynology
  • Arctic and boreal ecosystems
  • Wetland dynamics

For more details, please visit our website:

Call For Students:

I am seeking one PhD student with interests in Quaternary science, paleoclimatology and paleoecology to further develop our group’s investigations of sub-till organic deposits of Pleistocene age in Northern Ontario and Northern Manitoba. These deposits provide important archives of Pleistocene interglacial and interstadial environments and we are using them to better understand ice sheet dynamics, climate forcing, peatland dynamics and carbon cycling through the Quaternary ice ages. Applicants must have an MSc in Quaternary science (or related discipline) with expertise in geochronology, Quaternary stratigraphy, Quaternary paleoclimate, and/or proxy-based reconstructions using pollen or other microfossils. The incumbent must also be comfortable with field work in remote regions, lab work for sediment processing, and be willing to learn skills for quantitative analyses of resulting datasets using multivariate and spatial statistics.

Selected Publications:

(for a complete list, please see:

Dalton AS*, VälirantaM, Barnett PJ, Finkelstein SA. 2016. Pollen and macrofossil-inferred paleoclimate at the Ridge Site, Hudson Bay Lowlands, Canada: evidence for a dry climate and significant recession of the Laurentide Ice Sheet during Marine Isotope Stage 3. Boreas. doi: 10.1111/bor/12218

Finkelstein SA. 2016. Reconstructing middle and late Holocene paleoclimates of the Eastern Arctic and Greenland. In: Oxford Handbook of the Prehistoric Arctic (Friesen TM and Mason OK, Eds), Oxford University Press, New York.

Beck KK*, Medeiros AS, Finkelstein SA. 2016. Drivers of change in a 7300-year Holocene diatom record from the Hemiboreal region of Ontario, Canada. PLoS ONE 11(8): e0159937. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0159937

Dalton AS*, Finkelstein SA, Barnett PJ, Forman SL. 2016. Constraining the late Pleistocene history of the Laurentide Ice Sheet by dating the Missinaibi Formation, Hudson Bay Lowlands, Canada. Quaternary Science Reviews 146: 288-299

Packalen MS*, Finkelstein SA, McLaughlin, J. 2016. Climate and peat type in relation to the spatial distribution of the peat carbon mass in the Hudson Bay Lowland, Canada. Journal of Geophysical Research 1 – Biogeosciences. doi: 10.1002/2015JG002938

* indicates student co-author

Research Clusters:
Nature, Society and Environmental Change, Paleoclimate and Biogeography