Name: Sonja Felder

Project Title: “Mid-Pleistocene Transition in the Asian Monsoon

Cohort: 2014/15

Institution:  University of Newcastle




I studied Geosciences at the University of Bremen in Germany. My main interests are in the broad area of paleoceanographic and paleoenvironmental reconstructions. During my BSc thesis I used thin-sections for biostratigraphy (based on larger foraminifera) in the context of a project studying the Mesozoic closure of the Tethys Ocean. During my MSc project I used a multi-proxy approach (including bulk sediment geochemistry, foraminifera associations, grain-size distribution) to reconstruct the ending of the last African humid period based on a marine sediment core off Mauritania.

During my academic studies I worked as an assistant in the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) core repository at MARUM (Bremen). My duties included taking samples from the sediment cores, updating the data base, working in the cold storage and assisting foreign scientists in the laboratory. Other student assistant jobs included LA-ICP-MS of tree rings, preparation of thin-sections and X-ray photography of coral slices, and sample preparation for grain-size analysis.

My current PhD project focusses on the possible link between the East Asian Summer Monsoon (EASM) and the changes in climate cyclicity during the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (MPT). The MPT is one of the most interesting Pleistocene intervals, where – for yet unknown reasons – the astronomically driven cyclicity of glacial-interglacial climate changes switched from a 41,000 years to a 100,000 years frequency. In this context, I will be analysing new sediment cores from the Japan Sea (IODP Exp. 346 “Asian monsoon”). The Japan Sea is nowadays strongly influenced by the EASM, and using high-resolution sediment records I will investigate how its activity is recorded in various sedimentary proxy parameters largely based on the isotopic and elemental composition of foraminifera tests.

Besides my PhD I am currently a trustee of Stepney Bank Stables, a charity in Newcastle upon Tyne, which provides training and support for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.



Benjamin Petrick, Erin L. McClymont, Sonja Felder, Gemma Rueda, Melanie J. Leng, Antoni Rosell-Mel´e (2015) “Late Pliocene upwelling in the Southern Benguela region” Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology

Sonja Felder, Andrew Henderson, Melanie Leng, Takuya Sagawa, Ryuji Tada, Rick Murray, Carlos Alvarez Zarikian & the Expedition 346 Scientists (2014): The Mid-Pleistocene Transition in the Asian Monsoon. Poster. UK IODP Meeting, London.

Sonja Felder, Hildegard Westphal, Axel Munnecke, Guillem Mateu Vicens (2010): Compositional variations and differential diagenesis in Miocene turbidites from the western coast of Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain). Poster. EGU General Assembly, Vienna.


Get in touch


Twitter: @Sonja_Felder