Branwen Williams, Ph.D.

George R. Roberts Professor of Integrated Sciences: Environmental Science


Kravis Department of Integrated Sciences

Areas of Expertise

Environmental science


Branwen Williams is the George R. Roberts Professor of Integrated Sciences: Environmental Science at Claremont McKenna College and the Director of the Roberts Environmental Center.  Her research seeks to understand the response of our environment to human activities. To do this, she develops and interprets records of environmental variability in our oceans from the topics to the poles. She also works with local communities to help build resilience to climate change. Branwen received her B.Sc. from the University of Guelph, Canada, her M.Sc. from the University of Quebec at Montreal, and her Ph.D. from the Ohio State University. She is a National Geographic Explorer, and her research is funded by the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Henry Luce Foundation. Branwen has published over 40 scientific articles in top journals including the journals Science and Nature Communications and is an Editor with the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. In her free time, Branwen enjoys running in the foothills and camping with her family.


Ph.D., Geological Sciences, School of Earth Sciences, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

M.Sc., Biology, GEOTOP, University of Quebec at Montreal, Montreal, Quebec

B.Sc., Marine and Freshwater Biology with honors, Department of Zoology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario

Research and Publications

Kershaw, J., Stewart, J.A., Strawson, I., Luiza de Carvalho Ferreira, M., Robinson, L. F., Hendry, K.R., Samperiz, A., Burke, A., Rae, J.W.B., Day, R.D., Etnoyer, P.J., Williams, B., and Häussermann, V. (2023) Ba/Ca in stylasterid and scleractinian corals: comparing biomineralization pathways and palaeoceanographic utility. Chemical Geology. 622: 121355, doi: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2023.121355.

Westfield, I., Gunnell, J., Rasher, D., Williams, B., Ries, J., (2022) Cessation of hardground accretion by cold water coralline algae within two centuries. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. 23, e2021GC009942, doi:10.1029/2021GC009942.

Doherty, J.M. Williams, B., Kline, E., Adey, W., and Thibodeau, B. (2021) Climate-modulated nutrient conditions along the Labrador Shelf: Evidence from nitrogen isotopes in a six-hundred-year-old crustose coralline alga. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology. 36(5): e2020PA004149, doi: 10.1029/2020PA004149.

Williams, B., Chan, P.T.W., Westfield, I., Rasher, D.B., and Ries, J. (2021) Ocean acidification reduces skeletal density of hardground-forming high-latitude crustose coralline algae. Geophysical Research Letters. 48, e2020GL091499, doi: 10.1029/2020GL091499.

Williams, B., Chan, P.T.W., Halfar, J., Hargan, K.†, and Adey, W. (2021) Arctic crustose coralline alga resilient to recent environmental change. Limnology and Oceanography, 66: S246-S258, doi: 10.1002/lno.11640.

Choy, E., Watanabe, K., Williams, B., Knaak, M., Stone, B., Lorenson, T., Druffel, E., and Etnoyer, P. (2020) Relationships among ages, growth rates, banding periodicities, and gross morphology in deep-sea Primnoidae corals. PLOS ONE. 15(12): e0241692. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0241692.

Fu, F., Purvis-Roberts, K.L., and Williams, B. (2020) Impact of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown on air pollution in 20 major cities around the world. Atmosphere. 11(11): 1189, doi: 10.3390/atmos11111189.

Williams, B. (2020) Proxy records derived from Proteinaceous corals: a review. Earth Science Reviews. 103326, doi: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2020.103326.