October 4, 2011
WOOSTER, Ohio — The Geological Society of America will hold its annual meeting next week (Oct. 9-12) in Minneapolis, and among the 6,000 scientists expected to attend, dozens will have ties to The College of Wooster as current students, faculty, and alumni.
Representing Wooster’s faculty will be Greg Wiles, professor of geology, chair of the department, and the Ross K. Shoolroy Chair of Natural Resources; Mark Wilson, the Lewis M. and Marian Senter Nixon Professor of Natural Resources and professor of geology; Meagen Pollock, assistant professor of geology; and Shelley Judge, also assistant professor of geology.
Wiles will present “A Multispecies Network of Tree-Ring Chronologies from Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska: A Tool for Evaluating Forest Health,” which he co-authored with recent graduates Stephanie Jarvis and Colin Mennett as well as current students Sarah Appleton, a senior from Portsmouth, Ohio,, and Joe Wilch, a junior from Albion, Mich. The project addresses how forests in Alaska’s National Parks are changing due to warming during the last century. “The ongoing and anticipated changes from our networks of tree-ring chronologies provide information on how forests are responding and how they will (respond) in the future,” said Wiles, “(providing) a perspective that can be used in their (national parks) planning and interpretive missions.” Work for this project has been ongoing for the past five years in Glacier Bay and Lake Clark National Parks and has produced six Independent Study projects (Wooster’s nationally acclaimed senior capstone experience, also known as I.S.).
Wilson will talk about “Mass Extinctions and Marine Sclerobiont Community Evolution in the Phanerozoic,” a project he co-authored with Paul D. Taylor of the Natural History Museum in London. The presentation will address marine sclerobionts — organisms living on or in hard substrates — within the last 550 million years in order to examine how they responded to mass extinctions.
Judge will discuss “Ohio State University’s Field Camp: 65 Years of Pedagogical Scaffolding and Sequencing in the Sanpete Valley of Central Utah,” which she co-authored with James Collinson, David Elliot, and Terry Wilson — all of the School of Earth Sciences at The Ohio State University. The project examines the pedagogical strategy of putting the responsibility to see, think, relate, and conclude onto the student instead of teachers simply providing the answers.
Appleton will present her I.S. topic, “Tree-Ring Dating of the Glacial History of Wachusett Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Southeast Alaska.” Her research includes an examination of tree cores in order to count the rings present and determine when they were overtaken by glaciers. “I hope to get to talk with several graduate schools and learn about possible careers in the field (while at the conference),” said Appleton. “I am very glad to have this opportunity to present a project I have worked on. It will be a lot of fun and a great experience!”
Megan Innis, a recent Wooster graduate, will also talk about her I.S., titled “Bioerosion on Oysters Across the Cretaceous-Paleogene Boundary in Alabama and Mississippi (USA).” Her project focuses on the organisms encrusting and boring into 65 million year-old oysters. “This is what science is all about — researching independently and sharing ideas together,” said Innis.
Senior geology major Travis Louvain of Geneseo, N.Y.will discuss “Zeolite Distribution Along Vatnsdalfjall, Skagi Peninsula, Northwest Iceland,” which he co-authored with Pollock and 2010 graduate Rob Lydell. Research for this project consists of studying zeolite minerals, which are sensitive indicators of temperatures and pressures of formation, to determine the depth of burial of the Vatnsdalfjall lavas.
Jon Thiesen, a senior archaeology major from Minneapolis, Minn., will share his observations about “The Impact of Agricultural Practices on Sediment Supply to Three Small Lake Basins in Northeast Ohio Based on the Record of Sediment Cores,” which he co-authored with Wiles and Thomas Lowell from the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Geology. The project examines the transition of sediment types in three lake basins in Northeast Ohio.
Nicholas Fedorchuk, a senior geology major from Versailles, Ky., will explain “Stratigraphy and Paleontology at the Wenlock/Ludlow Boundary on Saaremaa Island, Estonia,” which he co-authored with Wilson, fellow senior geology major Rachel Matt, and Olev Vinn from the University of Tartu Department of Geology in Estonia. Their research focuses on observing the boundary between the Wenlock and Ludlow series, which is distinguished by a major disconformity.
Matt will also present “Paleoecology of the Hilliste Formation (Lower Silurian, Llandovery, Rhuddanian) Hiiumaa Island, Estonia: An Example of a Shallow Marine Recovery Fauna,” which she co-authored with Wilson, Fedorchuk, and Vinn. Research for this project consists of measuring, describing, and sampling the Hilliste Formation in Estonia.
Lindsey Bowman, a senior from Londonderry, Vt., will share her project, titled "Geochemical and Field Relationships of
Pillow and Dike units in a Subglacial Pillow ridge, Undirhlithar
quarry, Southwest Iceland," a summary of research done an old quarry that exposes the
base of a subglacial pillow ridge. This project focused on
correlating various extrusive and intrusive units of a particular
subglacial pillow ridge across the quarry using geochemical data as
well as observations in the field.
Andrew Collins, a senior geology major from South Freeport, Maine, will explain “The Use of Geophotography as a Permanent Resource in Higher Education: A Case Study in the Documentation of Fluvial Landscapes in Northeast Ohio,” which he co-authored with Appleton, Wiles, and Judge, as well as Jessica Clemons and Marsha Bansberg of The College of Wooster libraries. The focus of this project is to create an online database of photographs of the post-glacial fluvial landscape in Northeast Ohio. The project serves both to set up an easily accessible template that can be used for future databases and to digitally monitor, at consistent time intervals, changes in streams due to weather, climate and human impact.
- Story by Libby Fackler '13
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