Emi Ito

Emi Ito Profile Picture

Emi Ito

Professor and Director, Limnological Research Center, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences


John T. Tate Hall
Room 385-22
116 Church Street Se
Minneapolis, MN 55455

PhD, 1979, University of Chicago

Scientific & Professional Societies
American Geophysical Union
Geochemical Society America
American Quaternary Association
Geological Society of America
Research Interests
  • My current research has two related foci; one is centered on the reconstruction of past climate and environment using mainly geochemistry of various components in cored sediment; the other is aimed to gain a better understanding of processes that "connect" climate and/or landscape processes to proxy records (such as inorganic carbonates precipitated in lake epilimnion or ostracode calcite shells) preserved in lake sediments. The topic of the latter focus might be called “how lakes see climate and landscape processes”. For example, groundwater may have a significant effect on a lake's hydrological and hydrochemical budget and thus influence the geochemical signature of carbonates formed within the lake. The habitat and the timing of the moulting of ostracodes also affect the geochemistry of the shells because most lakes do not have constant or uniform water temperature or chemistry year round. In arid and semi-arid regions, aeolian dust deposition and sudden flood may be present and accounted for. Research projects combine these process-oriented studies with climate reconstruction based on sediment cores collected from climatically sensitive, semi-arid sites. I like to work collaboratively with other researchers who are experts on hydrogeology, sedimentology, diatoms, ostracodes, or pollen so that we, as a group, have several lines of evidence to reconstruct climatic conditions, and I strongly encourage my students to take an equally broad perspective.
  • I recently collaborated with colleagues at the Israeli Geological Survey and the University of Iceland to reconstruct hydoclimate changes around Lake Tiberias.  Part of the study was an MSc research project of Abby Williams.  
  • Michelle LaGarde is currently studying conditions for lake sediment slope failure using a flume at SAFL. She is being coadvised by Chris Paola. Study of Lake Tiberias cores prompted me to test 2 common ideas about (non-seimogenic) slope failure: when lake level drops, or when lake level rises after a period of a low stand.
  • Building on the relationships forged through the NSF AISL (Advancing Informal Science Learning) and OEDG (Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in Geosciences) projects with UMN colleagues, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College staff, and Fond du Lac Reservation Resource Management (FDLRMD), Chris Mahr studied, at the request of the FDLRMD, whether wild rice (Zizania palustris) takes up much Hg. Ed Nater of Soil, Water and Climate coadvised Chris Mahr.

Continental Scientific Drilling Facility

Currently Teaching Courses
Water and Society
Climate Change and Human History
Earth Resources
Isotope Geology
Earth and Its Environments
Selected Publications
  • Ito E and Forester RM (2016) Holocene hydrologic and hydrochemical changes of the South Basin of lake Manitoba, Canada, inferred from ostracode shell chemistry and autoecology. Hydrobiologia, published online: 23 March, 2016, DOI 10.1007/s10750-016-2668-z.
  • Marco-Barba J, Ito E, Carbonell E and Mesquita-Joanes F (2012) Empirical calibration of shell chemistry of Cyprideis torosa (Jones, 1850) (Crustacea: ostracoda)  Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 93:143-163. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2012.06.019.
  • van der Meeren T, Ito E, Verschuren D, Almendinger JE, and Martens K (2011) Valve chemistry of Limnocythere inopinata (Ostracoda) in a cold arid environment —Implications for paleolimnological interpretation. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 306:116-126. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2011.04.006.
  • van der Meeren T, Verschuren D, Ito E and Martens K (2010) Morphometric techniques allow environmental reconstructions from low-diversity continental ostracode assemblages. Journal of Paleolimnology 44:903-911, DOI 10-1007/s10933-010-9463-z.
  • Zhao C, Yu ZC, Zhao Y, Ito E, Kodama KP and Chen FH (2010) Holocene millennial-scale climate variations documented by multiple lake-level proxies from Hurleg Lake in northwestern China. Journal of Paleolimnology 44:995-1008, DOI 10.1007/s10933-010-9469-6.
  • van der Meeren T, Almendinger JE, Ito E and Martens K (2010) The ecology of ostracodes (Ostracoda, Crustacea) in western Mongolia. Hydrobiologia, 641:253-273. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-010-0089-y
  • Zhao C, Yu ZC, Ito E and Zhao Y (2010) Holocene climate trend, variability, and shift documented by lacustrine stable-isotope record in the northeastern United States.Quaternary Science Reviews. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.03.018.
  • Shapley MD, Ito E and Forester FM (2010) Negative correlations between Mg:Ca and total dissolved solids in lakes: False aridity signals and decoupling mechanisms for paleohydrologic proxies. Geology 38: 427-430, doi: 10.1130/G30718.1
  • Shapley MD, Ito E and Donovan JJ (2009) Holocene hydroclimate inferred from carbonate mineral endogenesis within a groundwater flow-through lake, northern Rocky Mountains, USA. The Holocene: 19:523-535, DOI: 10.1177/0959683609104029.
  • Zhao C, Yu ZC, Zhao Y and Ito E (2009) Possible orographic and solar controls of Late Holocene centennialscale moisture oscillations in the northeastern Tibetan Plateau.Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 36, L21705, doi:10.1029/2009GL040951.
  • Ito E and Forester RM (2009) Changes in continental ostracode shell chemistry, uncertainty of cause. Hydrobiologia. 620:1-15. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-008-9622-7.
  • Stevens LR, Ito E and Wright HE, Jr. (2008) Variations in effective moisture at Lake Zeribar, Iran during the last glacial period and Holocene, inferred from the d18O values of authigenic calcite. In The palaeoecology of Lake Zetribar and surrounding areas, Western Iran, during the last 48,000 years (eds Wasylikowa K and Witkowski A ). Diatom Monographs Vol. 8, 283-302. ARG Gantner Verlag K.G,
  • Chen FH, Yu ZC, Yang ML, Ito E, Wang SM, Madsen DB, Huang XZ, Zhao Y, Sato T, Birks HJB, Boomer I, Chen JH, An CB and Wünnemann B (2008) Holocene moisture evolution in arid central Asia and its out-of-phase relationship with Asian monsoon history. Quaternary Science Reviews. 27:351-364.
  • Shapley MD, Ito E and Donovan JJ (2008) Isotopic evolution and climate paleorecords: modeling boundary effects in groundwater-dominated lakes. Journal of Paleolimnology.39: 17-33. DOI 10.1007/s10933-007-9092-3.