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About Zelalem Bedaso

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.

• 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).


2013 - Present Lecturer, University of Dayton Department of Geology


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2011 PhD, University of South Florida ‐ Geology
2005 MS, Addids Ababa University
2000 BS, Addids Ababa University

Contact Information

Phone: 937-229-2392
Location: SC 179