Sora L. Kim

  • Assistant Professor
  • Earth & Environmental Sciences
216 Slone
Research Interests:
Research Interests
  • Paleoecology

  • Environmental reconstruction

  • Stable isotope analysis

  • Physiology

  • Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz

  • B.A., Dartmouth College


My research probes the question, what are the ecological responses to environmental change? My projects focus on comparisons through time and space and couple stable isotope techniques with ancient records, such as fossil teeth or sediments. One major component of my research is the effect of behavior or physiology on how organisms record their environment. Therefore, I develop modern analogue systems to link stable isotope patterns with ecology and environment. My research is multi-disciplinary and blends geochemistry, paleontology, ecology,and physiology. I use a diverse stable isotope toolkit, which includes bulk isotope analysis (i.e., organic carbon and nitrogen, carbonate carbon and oxygen, phosphate oxygen, water hydrogen and oxygen) as well as compound specific isotope analysis (i.e., amino acid carbon and nitrogen and leaf wax biomarker carbon and hydrogen). For more information, visit my homepage


Current projects:

  • Latitudinal gradients in Eocene sand tiger sharks

  • Fidelity of environmental biomarkers in lacustrine sediments

  • Optimization of carbonate preparation in biological apatite

Selected Publications: 

Research Publications:

Zeichner S, Kim SL, Colman AS, in review, Discrimination factors and incorporation rates for organic organic components in shark teeth. Journal of Experimental Biology.

Tomašových A, Kennedy JD, Betzner TJ, Bitler N, Edie S, Kim SL, Supriya K, White AE, Rahbek C, Huang S, Price TD, Jablonski D, in review, Unifying latitudinal gradients in range size and richness across marine and terrestrial systems.Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Kim SL, Shuman BN, Minckley TA, Marsicek JP, 2016, Biogeochemical change during climate change-driven primary forest succession: a paleoecological perspective from the Rocky Mountains. Ecosystems.

Kim SL, Eberle JJ, Bell DM, Fox D, and Padilla A, 2014, Evidence from shark teeth for a brackish Arctic Ocean in the Eocene greenhouse: Geology, p. 1–5, doi: 10.1130/G35675.1.

Kim, SL, Thewissen, JGM, Churchill MM, Suydam RS, Ketten DR, and Clementz MT, 2014, Unique Biochemical and Mineral Composition of Whale Ear Bones: Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, v. 87, no. 4, p. 576–584, doi: 10.1086/676309.

Hoen DK, Kim SL, Hussey NE, Wallsgrove NJ, Drazen JC, and Popp BN, 2014, Amino acid 15N trophic enrichment factors of four large carnivorous fishes: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, v. 453, p. 76–83, doi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2014.01.006.

Kim SL, Tinker MT, Estes JA, and Koch PL, 2012, Ontogenetic and Among-Individual Variation in Foraging Strategies of Northeast Pacific White Sharks Based on Stable Isotope Analysis: PLoS ONE, v. 7, no. 9, p. 1–11, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045068.

Kim SL, Martínez del Rio C, Casper D, and Koch PL, 2012, Isotopic incorporation rates for shark tissues from a long-term captive feeding study: Journal of Experimental Biology, v. 215, no. 14, p. 2495–2500, doi: 10.1242/jeb.070656.

Carlisle AB, Kim SL, Semmens BX, Madigan DJ, Jorgensen SJ, Perle CR, Anderson SD, Chapple TK, Kanive PE, and Block BA, 2012, Using Stable Isotope Analysis to Understand the Migration and Trophic Ecology of Northeastern Pacific White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias): PLoS ONE, v. 7, no. 2, p. e30492, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030492.t006.

Educational Publications

Kretke KA, Kim SL, and Bresler M, 2010, Resonant Pendulums: An Inquiry-Based Physics Lab, in Hunter, L. and Metevier, A.J. eds., Santa Cruz, p. 171.

Kim SL, Stauffer H, Peach K, and Nelson K, 2010, The Tipping Point: Thresholds Between Earth's Physical Systems, inHunter, L. and Metevier, A.J. eds., p. 237.

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