Tag Archive for Earth and Environmental Sciences

NSF Supports Varekamp’s X-Ray Fluorescence Research

Johan “Joop” Varekamp, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science, professor of environmental studies, received a $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation in January. He will use the funds to build a new X-Ray Fluorescence lab in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department.

The lab will be used for analyzing rocks, soils and waters.

O’Connell, Ku, Laine ’69 Attend Geophysical Union Meeting


Ed Laine ’69, Suzanne O’Connell and Tim Ku attended a Teaching Service Learning in the Geosciences workshop.


Suzanne O’Connell, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, director of the Service Learning Center, and Edward Laine ’69, associate professor of earth and oceanographic science at Bowdoin College, organized a virtual workshop on service learning through the National Science Foundation in early 2010.

Several participants met in person at the fall American Geophysical Union (AGU) national meeting in fall 2010. Timothy Ku, associate professor of earth and environmental science, one of virtual workshop participants, presented information about his service learning course “Environmental Geochemistry” at the AGU meeting. Laine, O’Connell, and Ku are pictured above at the AGU meeting.

Thomas Elected AAAS Fellow



Ellen Thomas



Ellen Thomas, research professor of earth and environmental sciences, was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in December.

Thomas joins 502 other fellows from across the country. These individuals will be recognized for their contributions to science and technology at the Fellows Forum to be held Feb. 19 during the AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Thomas will receive a certificate and a blue and gold rosette as a symbol of her distinguished accomplishments.

Wesleyan to Host National Conference on Pricing Carbon Emissions

“Pricing Carbon: The Wesleyan Conference” will run Nov. 19-21 on campus.

Wesleyan, in conjunction with the Price Carbon Campaign, an umbrella organization of climate-policy advocates, is convening a conference to discuss and develop new approaches to pricing carbon emissions that are destabilizing Earth’s climate and driving global warming.

“Pricing Carbon: The Wesleyan Conference” will be held Nov. 19-21 at Wesleyan. Headline speakers include climatologist and Columbia University Professor James Hansen, author-activist Bill McKibben, and environmental-justice lawyer and advocate Angela Johnson Meszaros.

“Wesleyan University’s College of the Environment was established in 2009 to help students become better stewards of our fragile Earth,” says Barry Chernoff, director of the College of the Environment and professor of biology. “We welcome this opportunity to co-host a national conference

Royer Receives Donath Medal at Geological Meeting

Dana Royer.

Dana Royer, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, assistant professor of environmental studies, accepted the gold Donath Medal at the Geological Society of America’s (GSA) annual meeting in Denver, Colo. Nov. 1.

The award came with a cash prize of $10,000.

The award recognizes a scientist, aged 35 or younger, for outstanding original research marking a major advance in the earth sciences.

On a GSA press release, Peter D. Wilf of Pennsylvania State University said, “Dana is a true innovator who successfully tackles extremely important questions in paleoclimatology and paleoecology, in part using paleobotanical proxies calibrated with a remarkable series of careful modern analog studies. He often connects the deep-time climate and CO2 record to the present day in highly societally-relevant ways that are widely cited in the ‘modern’ climate change literature.”

“Without Dana’s contributions we would know much less about Earth’s climate history and its great importance to today’s world,” Wilf said.

Leo Hickey, professor of geology and Curator of Paleobotany at Yale University, said, “In the rapidly developing field of plant paleoecology and ecophysiology, Dana Royer stands out in terms of innovation and sheer breadth and depth of knowledge. He is truly an emerging leader in the geological sciences.”

Phil Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, also attended the annual GSA meeting, which focused on “Reaching New Peaks in Geoscience.”

Gus Seixas ’10 and Greg Hurd ’10 also presented results of their Wesleyan thesis research at the meeting.

NASA Funds Greenwood’s Lunar Rock Study

Jim Greenwood

James Greenwood, research associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, received a grant worth $494,517 from NASA. The grant will support his research titled “Water in Lunar Rocks: Petrologic and Isotopic Analyses of Phosphate Minerals in Apollo’s Samples” through June 30, 2014.

Student-Created ‘SplitFrame’ Wins AIA National Award

Split Frame was designed and built by Elijah Huge's students.

Wesleyan’s architecture design class and its Research-Design-Build Studio have been recognized by the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) 2010 Small Projects Practitioners Awards. They were recognized for the observation platform “SplitFrame” they created for the Helen Carlson Wildlife Sanctuary in Portland, Conn., in 2008. The studio and class are overseen by Elijah Huge, assistant professor of art, assistant professor of environmental studies.

Last year the class and studio created the Sukkah on campus as one of their projects.

Keck Supports O’Connell’s River Project

Suzanne O’Connell, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, associate professor of environmental studies, director of the Service Learning Center, received a $21,850 grant from the Keck Geology Consortium to support the “Connecticut River Project.” The award is effective through June 30, 2011.

Singer Published in Annals of the Entomological Society

Michael Singer, associate professor of biology, associate professor of environmental studies, is the co-author of “Triptrophic effects of host plants on an herbivore-pathogen interaction,” published in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 2010.

Thomas Published in Geology, Paleoceanography

Ellen Thomas, research professor of earth and environmental sciences, is the co-author of several new articles including:

“High-resolution deep-sea carbon and oxygen isotope records of Eocene Thermal Maximum 2 and H2 and implications for the origin of early Paleogene hyperthermal events,” published in Geology, 2010;

“Export Productivity and Carbonate Accumulation in the Pacific Basin at the Transition from Greenhouse to Icehouse Climate (Late Eocene to Early Oligocene),” published in Paleoceanography, 2010;

“Cenozoic record of elongate, cylindrical deep-sea benthic Foraminifera in the North Atlantic and equatorial Pacific Oceans,” published in Marine Micropaleontology, 74: 75-95, 2010;

And “Cenozoic Record of Elongate, Cylindrical, Deep-Sea Benthic Foraminifera in the Indian Ocean (ODP Sites 722, 738, 744, 758 and 763),” published in the Journal of Foraminiferal Research, 40: 113-133, 2010.

Greenwood Mentioned on BBC News Regarding Water in Lunar Rocks

James Greenwood, visiting assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, was mentioned in a June 14 BBC News science article on “Much More Water Found in Lunar Rocks.”

Greenwood and Professor Lawrence Taylor from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, have come up with evidence on the origins of lunar water: comets. According to the article, they believe there were a lot of comets flying around at the time of the Moon’s formation, “hitting the little, nascent, early Moon some 4.5 billion years ago.”

Fellowship Takes Haddad to Japan for Research on Environmental Politics

Mary Alice Haddad, assistant professor of government, assistant professor of East Asian studies, assistant professor of environmental studies, is one of 14 researchers in the world selected for the 2009 Abe Fellowship.

Although Japan lacks large national environmental advocacy organizations, it has one of the best records of environmental policymaking in the world.  Japan is one of the top producers of clean energy technology and hosted the global Kyoto Protocol that has set the standard for climate change policy worldwide.

For the next 12 months, Mary Alice Haddad will use Japan’s experience of environmental activism to build a broader theory of civic participation. She will test and refine a theory through the examination of environmental politics and civic participation in China, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore.

Her research is supported by the Abe Fellowship Program. Haddad, assistant professor of government, assistant professor of East Asian studies, assistant professor of environmental studies, is one of 14