Zelalem Bedaso

Lecturer
Full-Time Faculty
College of Arts and Sciences: Geology

  • Location: SC 179
  • Phone: 937-229-2392
  • Email: Contact

Education

  • Ph.D. Geology, University of South Florida, 2011

Field of study

  • Sedimentary geology
  • Stable isotope geochemistry
  • Paleoenvironments of human evolution

Research Interests

My research is mainly focuses on establishing environmental and climatic framework of the past 5 Ma using isotopic tools from terrestrial records. I use stable isotopes of carbon and oxygen from fossil tooth enamel and fossil soil (Paleosol) carbonates to reconstruct vegetation history (relative proportion of C3 and C4 plants), Paleodiet of ancient animals and climate history (aridity and temperature) from East Africa, which is relevant to human evolution. Most of my work is geographically located in the Afar Depression, Ethiopia, which is found within tectonically unique region of the Great East African Rift Valley. The area is considered as a cradle of mankind and known for yielding hominin and other mammalian fossils from sediments exposed by repeated faulting and erosion activities over the last 6 Ma.  In addition to the paleo-studies, I also work in modern settings to be able to better understand the controls, distribution and natural variability of isotopes in modern environments through establishing networks of observational stations. In this regard, my current research is aimed at understanding water isotope variation in precipitation and identifying moisture sources in eastern Africa and ultimately to integrate these isotopic measurements into a coupled land-atmosphere modeling system.

Selected Publications & Presentations

Bedaso, Z.K., Wynn, J.G., Alemseged, Z., and Geraads, D. (2013). "Dietary and paleoenvironmental reconstruction using stable isotope analysis of herbivores tooth enamel from the Pliocene locality of Dikika, Ethiopia: implication for A. afarensis habitat and food resource." Journal of Human Evolution 64, 21-38.

Wynn, J.G., Sponheimer, M., Kimbel, W.H., Alemseged, Z., Reed, K., Bedaso, Z.K., and Norman, J.R. (2013). "Diet of Australopithecus afarensis from the Pliocene Hadar Formation, Ethiopia." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 110: 10495-10500 doi: 10.1073/pnas.1222559110.

Bedaso, Z. K., Wynn, J.G., Alemseged, Z., and Geraads, D. (2010). "Paleoenvironmental reconstruction of the Asbole fauna (Busidima Formation, Afar, Ethiopia) using stable isotopes," Geobios, 43, 165-177.

Wynn, J.G., and Bedaso, Z.K. (2010). "Is the Ethiopian monsoon extinct? A comment on Aronson et al.," Journal of Human Evolution, 59, 133-138.

Bedaso Z. K., Norman R. J., Wynn G., Alemseged Z. (2011) "New Trace element (Sr, Ba) data for paleoecological reconstruction and evaluation of enamel diagenesis from Dikika, Ethiopia." GSA Abstract Vol. 43 No. 5

Bedaso Z. K., Wynn G. J., Alemseged Zeresenay.  (2010). "Pliocene Paleoenvironments of the Awash Valley, Ethiopia: The Isotope Record of Tooth Enamel and its Relevance to the Pliocene Paleoclimate of Northeastern Africa." AGU 13-17 December, San Francisco, CA, USA

Marshall, M.H., Lamb, H.F., Davies, S.J., Leng, M.J., Bedaso Z. K., Umer, M., and Brayant C. (2009). "Climatic change in northern Ethiopia during the past 17,000 years: A diatom and stable isotope record from Lake Ashenge." Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol. 279, 114–127.

Bedaso, Z.K. (2005) "Perspectives of climate change for human evolution and later impact on the environment, Paleoclimates and Human Evolution Workshop." (NSF Sponsored), Nov 17-20, Virginia, USA.

Bedaso, Z.K. (2005). "Holocene environmental records of Lake Ashange," Natural and Cultural Heritages and Eco-tourism International Conference, June 24-27, Mekelle, Ethiopia.

Major Research Participation

  • Water isotope studies in precipitation and its implications for water resources and moisture sources in Ethiopia, East Africa (since 2012).
  • Exploration of Neogene rift valley paleoenvironmental record from the red series sediments, northern Afar, Ethiopia, co-director (since 2006).
  • Dikika Paleoantropology Research Project, Afar, Ethiopia (since 2006).
  • Tana Project: Paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic studies of Lake sediments from Northwestern Ethiopian Plateau (i.e., Lake Tana, Lake Ashange, Lake Hique and Lake Hrdibo), a collaborative research between University of Wales, Aberystwyth and Addis Ababa University (since 2002).
  • Rift sedimentation and volcanism in Afar Depression in Ethiopia, a project funded by FWF Fond zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (since 2001).