Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences


  • Congrats to George McGhee, who has just been awarded a 3-month summer visiting fellowship for 2010 from the Board of the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (Austria), to work on “Predictability and the Evolutionary Process”.

  • William Berggren is to receive the first Outstanding Geoscience Alumnus Award at this year's Society of Exploration Geophysicists Exposition and Meeting at the University of Houston, Natural Science Museum. The award is part of a special Gala to be held on October 24, 2009, to help “preserve the field experience” for geology and geophysics students across the U.S. 

  • Just out in Science, check out Cermeño, P., and Falkowski, P.G. Controls on Diatom Biogeography in the Ocean. (see Science),...who suggest that "biodiversity and macroevolutionary patterns at the microbial level fundamentally differ from those of macroscopic animals and plants" . There is also a nice write-up in Science Perspectives by David Patterson Seeing the Big Picture on Microbe Distribution (see Science Perspectives).

  • In Nature, 27 August, 2009, check out Oppo, D.W., Rosenthal, Y. and Linsley, B.K. "2,000-year-long temperature and hydrology reconstructions from the Indo-Pacific warm pool." (see Nature).

  • Check out Peter Rona featured in this week's Science Times "Diving Deep for a Living Fossil", NY Times, Tuesday, August 25, 2009)..a nice article on Peter's deep sea research, go to Diving Deep... , and great slide show at Slides...

  • Dr. Dave Olgaard and Dr. Spyros Lazaratos from ExxonMobil (Houston, Texas) were recruiting here in EPS Monday, September 14th, 2009, and gave a noontime talk "ExxonMobil Geosciences Overview".
  • Alissa Henza presented and successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation "Influence of pre-existing fault fabrics on normal-fauilt development: An experimental study", Tuesday, August 25th. Alissa will be heading off to Houston next week, to start work with BHP Billiton.
  • Michael Durcanin presented and successfully defended his M.S. thesis "Influence of synrift salt on rift basin development: Applications to the Orpheus basin, offshore Eastern Canada", Wednesday, August 26th. Mike is off to Dallas, where he has accepted a position with Nexen Petroleum.
  • We missed this one...Yair Rosenthal was named by editors of the AGU journal Paleoceanography, as one of the 2008 "Editors' Citations for Excellance in Refereeing" (see EOS, July 14, 2009, vol. 90 , no, 28, p.243).
  • The ExxonMobil Workshop on Integrated Bio-, Chemo-, and Sequence Stratigraphy was held August 18 to 21 (2009), at Rutgers University Inn. The workshop was hosted by EPS faculty Ken Miller, Marie-Piere Aubry, William Berggren, Richard Olsson, Jim Wright, Jim Browning, EPS graduate students Ashley Harris and David Bord. Others included Pete McLaughlin (Delaware State Survey) and Mimi Katz (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). About 25 ExxonMobil scientists in addition to EPS faculty and graduate students attended. A welcome reception was held in the Geology Museum and banquet dinner at the Frog and the Peach.
  • Congrats to David Bord, who has been offered and is accepting an NSF K-12 Fellowship for 2009-10. David is now the 3rd EPS graduate student over the past 3 years, following Ian Saginor and Lauren Neitzke, who have been awarded this fellowship with Kathy Scott's education group.
  • Check out the Editorial in Science (7, August 2009, Vol. 325. no. 5941, p. 655) on Future Energy Institutes by Rutgers' Paul Falkowski and Robert Goodman.
  • Rutgers Media highlights Yair Rosenthal and Sindia Sosdian on their 17 July, 2009 article in Science "Deep-Sea Temperature and Ice Volume Changes Across the Pliocene-Pleistocene Climate Transitions"(see Research Papers below).
  • George McGhee gave an invited presentation (August, 2009), "Beyond Darwin: Analyzing both Existent and Nonexistent Biological Form in Evolution" at a conference at Oxford University, England, on Darwin and Evolution in this 150th year since the publication of On the Origin of Species.
  • Congratulations to Paul G. Falkowski, Nathan Yee, Vikas Nanda who have just been awarded an NSF (Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences) grant for $300k to study "The Prebiotic Evolution of Redox Chemistry on Earth".
  • Congratulations to Esteban Gazel, who Wednesday (15 July, 2009) presented and successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation "Interaction of the Galapagos plume with the southern Central American Volcanic Front. (Advisor, Mike Carr). Job well done!
  • Gail Ashley has been selected as one of the traveling 2009-2010 North American AAPG Distinguished Lecturers. (see Her presentations will include The Paleoclimatic Framework of Human Evolution and The Sedimentary Record of Human Evolution.
  • Greg Mountain and Ken Miller report today (July 14, 2009) that Site 29 was successfully cored to 755 m below sea floor, completing a successful coring campaign aboard the L/B Kayd off the New Jersey Shore. For news story and video in the Philly go to Digging for Answers, and video on Slate TV Drilling for Clues About Global Warming.
  • Congratulations Kelsey Bitting, GSA 2009 Outstanding Mention for "a grant proposal of exceptionally high merit in conception and presentation", Optically-stimulated luminescence dating of a widespread Holocene unconformity within Delaware River Valley alluvial deposits, reported in GSA Today, July vol., 19(7), p.18.
  • Congratulations to Fara Lindsay, who on Monday, June 22, 2009, presented and successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation, on "Geochemistry of lavas from southeastern Nicaragua and of mantle xenoliths from Cerro Mercedes, Costa Rica".
  • Professor George McGhee is featured in "The Geometry of Evolution" . View Video (6/19/09).
  • Gail Ashley has been selected to direct SAS' Junior Faculty Workshop for 2009/10 (6/13/09).
  • EPS business manager, Johanny Zabala has successfully completes Rutger's HR Academic Personnel Certificate program (6/17/09).
  • EPS Graduate student Morgan Schaller is awarded an SEPM student research award (5/29/09)

  • Looks like we might have missed this one in February... Nathan Yee is recipient of the European Association for Geochemistry, 2009 Houtermans’ Medal, awarded to a junior researcher whose contributions to geochemistry are considered to be exceptional (for more info go to

  • Sara Mana received a Pre-dissertation Award of $ 2,000 from the Graduate School NB for field work in Tanzania.
  • Later, on the same day she received her GSA award Kelsey Bitting received a Graduate School of New Brunswick special study award ($750). That's a good day!
  • The Geological Society of America made graduate student awards to Kelsey Bitting, in the amount of $1770, for her optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating project and to Morgan Schaller, in the amount of $3540, for isotopic studies on the Newark Supergroup.
  • Nathan Yee will host a workshop on “Ground Water Chemistry” for the International Water Issues Forum on Wednesday, March 25th at the Rutgers Student Center.
  • Alex Nikulin and Ben Marshall (undergrad major) have both been awarded $850 for attending a bi-annual meeting of the EarthScope (  The money should cover significant fractions of the costs of their travel to Idaho, in May.  Alex and Ben will present a poster on the work they are doing together, investigating crustal structure of the Cascades in Oregon and Washington.
  • Kudos to Peter Rona and Karen Bemis for an NSF grant "Collaborative Research (Rutgers with Applied Physics Lab-University of Washington): Acoustic Instrumentation for Imaging and Quantifying Hydrothermal Flow in NEPTUNE Canada Regional Cabled Observatory at Main Endeavour Field, Juan de Fuca Ridge"
  • Martha Withjack and Roy Schlische were awarded an NSF grant from EAR! “The National Science Foundation hereby awards a grant of $205,400 to Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey for support of ‘The Influence of Pre-existing Zones of Weakness on the 3D Geometry and Evolution of Extensional Faults and Folds,’ under the direction of Martha Withjack, Roy W. Schlische.”
  • Nate Yee receives the Houterman medal! On behalf of the European Association for Geochemistry, I am honored to inform you that you have been selected as the Houtermans’ medalist for the year 2009.  Congratulations for this well deserved honor.  The Houtermans’ Medal is awarded annually by the EAG to a scientist no more than 35 years of age who has made exceptional contributions to Geochemistry. It is named in honor of Friedrich Georg Houtermans, a Dutch-Austrian-German physicist. This significant honor is based on a critical assessment of the scope and impact of scientific contributions; the selection process is highly competitive and many outstanding candidates are considered.
  • Paul Falkowski and Matt Johnson (a post-doc in Paul's lab) were awarded an NSF grant for their proposal entitled "Understanding how global warming will select for zooxanthellae phenotypes."
  • Paul Falkowski has been asked to give the 10th annual Roger Revelle Commemorative Lecture for the National Academy of Sciences.

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