Paper on Guilford, Conn.’s Sea Level by Varekamp, Thomas, 2 Alumnae Receives 93 Citations

A research paper co-authored in 1995 by Johan Varekamp, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science; Ellen Thomas, research professor of earth and environmental science; and Wesleyan alumnae Koren Nydick ’95 and Alyson Bidwell ’95 has returned to the spotlight.

The paper, “A Sea-level Rise Curve from Guilford, Connecticut, USA,” originally published in Marine Geology, was cited last month in another paper on sea-level rise in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.

Professor Varekamp admits that the “paper has done remarkably well, with 93 citations, not bad at all for a senior thesis-based article. The inclusion in this PNAS study is the icing on the cake.”

The paper developed from Nydick and Bidwell’s senior thesis work in salt marshes in nearby Guilford, Conn. As a testament to the quality of this work, a group of scientists from Boston University, Yale and Rutgers reproduced Nydick’s study two years ago with additional resources and found an identical sea level rise curve.

After earning her PhD and pursuing a post-doctoral career in ecology, Nydick now works as the science coordinator for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Incidentally, a Smithsonian scientist funded by NASA recently contacted Nydick to inquire about the carbon core data from her thesis study for a wetlands carbon storage project.

“I am proud to note that some of my former students who are now professors or practicing scientists in their own right, have their undergraduate thesis articles among their most cited papers,” Varekamp said.