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Editorial StaffDecember 16, 20216min
By Maia Dawson '23 In the Lunar lab on the third floor of the Exley Science Center, Thomas Davoren MA ’22, thumbed through scientist David Walker’s handwritten notes from 1970, and inspected samples retrieved from the moon in 1969. Found in Davoren’s work are clues to the origins of Earth’s glowing satellite. Davoren was among the students awarded a Fall 2021 NASA Connecticut Space Consortium Fellowship. In a paper written for a conference in 2020 in Houston, Davoren detailed his discovery of Chromite-Ulvöspinel-Pyroxene (CUSP) inclusions. These unique, microscopic crystalline structures appeared first to Davoren in basaltic rocks retrieved from the…

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Rachel Wachman '24December 3, 20216min
Haley Brumberger BA/MA ’21 captured an image through a microscope of tiny crustaceans called ostracods in sediments of a volcanic lake in Oregon during the 2019 program for Wesleyan Summer Research in the Sciences, which she participated in as a summer research fellow through the College of Integrative Sciences. The image first won the Summer Research in the Sciences Image Competition for 2019 before winning this year’s image competition for The Micropalaeontological Society (TMS). They announced her win on Twitter, as well as through the RedBubble merchandise they’re selling of the image. Brumberger, who majored in earth and environmental sciences…

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Olivia DrakeNovember 12, 20217min
A 7-foot-long extinct marine crocodile has finally found a permanent home on Wesleyan's campus—exactly 150 years after it arrived. Known as a Teleosaur (Macrospondylus bollensis), the sea-dwelling lizard lived during the early Jurassic period, approximately 180 million years ago. A cast was gifted to Wesleyan in 1871 by chemist Orange Judd of the Wesleyan Class of 1847, and the namesake of the University’s Orange Judd Museum of Natural Sciences. When the museum closed in 1957, more than 900 animal casts, including the Teleosaur, were moved into storage in random locations throughout campus. Over sixty years later, the Teleosaur cast was…

Olivia DrakeNovember 1, 20211min
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Helen Poulos recently co-authored three new papers: “Wildfire and topography drive woody plant diversity in a Sky Island mountain range in the Southwest USA,” published in Ecology and Evolution on Oct. 5. “Choked out: Battling invasive giant cane along the Rio Grande/ Bravo Borderlands,” published in River Research and Applications on Sept. 20. And “Mixed-severity wildfire as a driver of vegetation change in an Arizona Madrean Sky Island System, USA,” written alongside Michael Freiburger ’21 and published in Fire on Oct. 20. Poulos’s research focuses on plant distribution patterns as a result of the…

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Olivia DrakeJuly 27, 20215min
For a truly sustainable future, Class of 2016 alumni Kotaro Aoki and Kota Uno believe it's crucial to teach people how to view—and properly "use"— nature. "Education is the most important piece in solving the root cause of climate change and environmental problems," Aoki said. "If we don't change our mindset, the same problem continues to rise no matter how drastic changes on the surface are." After reuniting recently in Fukushima, Japan during the COVID-19 pandemic, Aoki, a philosophy major, and Uno, a College of Social Studies major, discovered a shared interest in climate change. They agreed that they needed…

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Olivia DrakeJune 18, 20218min
In recognition of their career achievements, the following faculty members are being appointed to endowed professorships, effective July 1, 2021: Erik Grimmer-Solem, professor of history, is receiving the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Professorship in the College of Social Studies, established in 2008. Abigail Hornstein, associate professor of economics, is receiving the Woodhouse/Sysco Professorship of Economics, established in 2002. Edward Moran, professor of astronomy, is receiving the John Monroe Van Vleck Professorship of Astronomy, established in 1982. Suzanne OConnell, professor of earth and environmental sciences, is receiving the Harold T. Stearns Professorship of Earth Sciences, established in 1984. Francis Starr, professor…

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Olivia DrakeJune 2, 20217min
Two proposed Venus mission concepts co-developed by planetary geologist Martha Gilmore were selected by NASA’s Discovery Program this week. The selected missions aim to understand how Venus became a scorching planet after it was potentially another habitable world in the solar system with an Earth-like climate. Gilmore, George I. Seney Professor of Geology, professor of earth and environmental sciences, is a co-investigator of both winning concepts. Each project will receive approximately $500 million per mission for development and is expected to launch in the 2028–2030 timeframe. The projects include VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy) and DAVINCI+…

Olivia DrakeMay 26, 20211min
During the 189th Commencement ceremony, four Wesleyan University faculty received the honorary degree of Master of Arts ad eundem gradum. The degree is awarded regularly and solely to those members of the faculty who (1) are not graduates of Wesleyan at the bachelor’s level and (2) have attained or been appointed to the rank of full professor on our faculty. By the award of this degree, all full professors on the Wesleyan faculty are made alumni of the University, and are qualified to participate in alumni affairs. The recipients include: Erika Franklin Fowler, professor of government; Barbara Juhasz, professor of…

Olivia DrakeMay 4, 20213min
Ellen Thomas, Harold T. Stearns Professor of Integrative Sciences, is the co-author of five scientific papers. All are part of the output of international collaborations of which her Wesleyan-based research was a part, funded by the National Science Foundation over the last three years. “All the studies look at different aspects of the behavior of microscopic organisms in the oceans under past environmental stress, whether caused by the impact of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs, or past episodes of global warming or cooling, and at the effect of different rates of environmental change on these life forms," she said.…

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Rachel Wachman '24April 15, 20211min
Suzanne OConnell, professor of earth and environmental sciences, and Julian Dann ’17, a graduate student at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, were both selected to be part of the American Geophysical Union’s 2021 Voices for Science Cohort. Hosted by the American Geophysical Union, Voices for Science aims to train scientists "to address the critical need for communicating the value and impact of Earth and space science to key decision makers, journalists, and public audiences," according to the union's website. Each cohort receives specialized training and mentoring throughout a 12-month period to hone their skills in communication and outreach. Throughout the…

Rachel Wachman '24April 12, 20211min
Yu Kai Tan BA/MA '21 presented his recent 3D scanning models during the 2021 Northeast Geobiology Symposium, which took place virtually on April 9-10. Tan’s presentation was titled "Orphaned Freshwater Mussel Collection Reveals Biogeography of Sculptured Sciences." During the event, Tan showcased several 3D-scanned models of the mussel collection he is currently studying for his master's degree. The symposium, which is organized by students and postdocs, provides an inclusive environment for researchers at various stages of their development to learn from their peers and develop collaborative relationships for future work.

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Annie RoachMarch 27, 20212min
Ten students majoring in earth and environmental sciences (E&ES) have completed their senior capstone projects. Each year, seniors in the major embark on a capstone experience that starts with a seminar in the fall (E&ES497) in which students design an original research project, go on a field trip to carry out the research and complete their fieldwork, and then analyze their results and present them in written reports and oral presentations. In past years, students have ventured across the globe for their field trips. However, the pandemic caused this year’s projects to look a little different. This time, the field…