Most of my research centers around magnetotactic bacteria and their fossil counterparts, magnetofossils. I am particularly interested in how we can use magnetofossils to understand changes in ocean chemistry during past analogs to modern climate change. One of the many reasons I love this research area is because it is interdisciplinary: I use aspects of geology, biology, astrobiology, physics, materials science, and more. Another reason why I love what I do is because I am challenged to apply very detailed measurements and results to a general framework, and vice versa: for example, how does a specific magnetofossil morphology relate to regional climate change millions of years ago? To answer these questions I usually start with a slew of analytical techniques including various forms of magnetic experiments and electron microscopy. I also enjoy collaborating with undergraduate and graduate students, other postdocs, professors, and researchers who specialize in isotope geochemistry, micropaleontology, micromagnetic modeling, structural geology, sedimentology, and more.

Click on one of the topics below to learn more!

Magnetotactic bacteria


Magnetization of pine needles


Please feel free

to reach out!

Contact information:

Courtney Wagner, Ph.D.

Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellow

Smithsonian Institution, NMNH

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