Articles tagged with: Earth Sciences

  • Celebrate 50 Years of Earth Sciences

    Originally founded in 1968 as the Department of Geological Sciences, 50 years later, it’s time to celebrate!
    As a graduate of one of our programs, we hope that you’ll join us during Homecoming Weekend in September to reconnect and reminisce with fellow alumni, faculty and staff. We’ve arranged several events specifically for you and you won’t want to miss out!

    50 Years of Earth Sciences Symposium
    Date: Friday, September 21, 2018
    Time: 2 to 6pm
    Location: Pond Inlet, Brock University

    Learn what your fellow graduates have accomplished since graduating from Brock. We also encourage everyone to share memories of their years at Brock at the Symposium, with opportunities to socialize with one another, students, faculty and staff throughout the afternoon.
    A cash bar will be available and light refreshments will be provided.

    Earth Sciences Networking Brunch
    Date: Saturday, September 22, 2018
    Time: 11am to 1pm
    Location: Pond Inlet, Brock University

    Join us for a complimentary bite to eat – the day after our Symposium – before you head out to participate in other Homecoming activities. Share your insights and experiences with current students and recent graduates and meet the geoscientists of tomorrow as well as your fellow alumni in a more casual setting.

    REGISter HERE

    See you in September!

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  • FMS recipients of Jack M. Miller Excellence in Research Award

    During the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ Mapping the New Knowledges Conference awards ceremony, two graduate students from the Faculty of Mathematics and Science were honoured with the 2018 Jack M. Miller Excellence in Research Award. This award is given to research-based graduate students who are working on innovative projects.

    This year’s Faculty of Mathematics and Science recipients are:

    Alyssa Davis
    MSc Earth Science
    Studying “Paleoatmospheric and paleoenvironmental interpretations of the Early Paleozoic”

    Guan Wang
    PhD Chemistry
    Studying, “Analytical devides and assays for point-of-care disease diagnosis”

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  • Record crowd expected for MNK Conference

    The Faculty of Graduate Studies will host the 13th annual Mapping the New Knowledges Graduate Student Research Conference on Thursday, April 12.

    The day-long event will be the largest in the conference’s history, with more 135 graduate students presenting either an oral or poster presentation. For the second year, the conference will also welcome ten undergraduate thesis students in their final year to present oral presentations.

    Kicking off the event will be a keynote address from Brock Professor of Sociology, June Corman. A past winner of the Faculty of Graduate Studies Graduate Mentorship Award, Corman will share stories of her personal mentorship experiences during her time as a graduate student, and how those experiences shape her teaching and supervisory philosophy today.

    “MNK gives graduate students the opportunity to present, some of them for the first time, in a friendly, encouraging environment,” says Diane Dupont, Interim Dean of Graduate Studies. “We want students to get comfortable talking about their research, no matter what stage of their project they may be in. While MNK is largely an opportunity for professional development, it is also a chance for students to see how their individual studies are part of a larger community of research at Brock.”

    The conference will celebrate the graduate studies community with the FGS awards ceremony from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The ceremony will include the presentation of the Marilyn Rose Graduate Leadership Award and Michael Plyley Graduate Mentorship Awards, and special recognition of graduate students who have been selected to receive the 2018 Jack M. Miller Excellence in Research Awards.

    All members of the Brock Community are invited to attend the conference or awards ceremony. For a detailed conference schedule, visit the MNK website.

     

     

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  • Earth Sciences prof and MSc student co-author journal identifying evidence of ancient earthquakes

    The history of New England’s most damaging earthquake is written in the mud beneath a Massachusetts pond. Researchers identified the first sedimentary evidence of the Cape Ann earthquake, which in 1755 shook the East Coast from Nova Scotia to South Carolina. The quake, estimated to have been at least magnitude 5.9, took no lives but damaged hundreds of buildings.

    Within a mud core retrieved from the bottom of Sluice Pond in Lynn, Mass., a light brown layer of sediment stands out amid darker layers of organic-rich sediment, the researchers report March 27 in Seismological Research Letters. The 2-centimeter-thick layer contains tiny fossils usually found near the shore, as well as types of pollen different from those found in the rest of the core. Using previous studies of the pond’s deposition rates, geologist Katrin Monecke of Wellesley College in Massachusetts and her colleagues determined the layer dates to between 1740 and 1810.

    Professor of Earth Sciences, Francine McCarthy and MSc student Justin Pentesco are co-authors on the journal article.

    Read the full release here

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  • ERSC 4P45 Advanced Environmental Site Assessment Debate

    Join the Department of Earth Sciences on Wednesday, April 4 from 1 to 5pm for the ERSC 4P45 Advanced Environmental Site Assessment Debate.

    ERSC 4P45 debate

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  • Brock earns five semifinal spots in Canada-wide student research competition

    Five Brock University student research videos have made it to the semifinals of a national competition that showcases science research being done in universities across Canada.

    The Science, Action! competition features student-produced, 60-second videos on research projects funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), one of Brock’s major research funders.

    After University students from all over the country submitted videos in January, NSERC chose 75 entries, including seven from Brock, which the agency posted on its website. NSERC then announced the Top 25 list of semifinalists, which includes five Brock videos:

     

     

    The students’ ability to convey key messages behind their research to the general public impressed Marty Mako, Acting Manager at Niagara Region Public Health. The organization is a key knowledge mobilization partner for a variety of Brock-based research projects.

    Mako said students took the challenge of explaining their work in simple terms and ran with it, creating “well done” videos that were enjoyable and informative to watch.

    The knowledge mobilization process is typically informed and shaped by those who would use the research, said Jayne Morrish, Knowledge Mobilization Officer with Brock’s Centre for Lifespan Development Research.

     

    Next month, a panel of judges will select the Top 15 from the 25 videos. The first-place winner will receive $3,500; second place, $3,000; and third place, $2,750. The remaining dozen will receive $2,500.

    Read the full story here

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  • FMS student research highlighted in national competition

    Seven Brock University entries have made the first cut in a national competition that showcases science research being done across the country.

    Science, Action! features student-produced, 60-second videos on research projects funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), one of Brock’s major research funders. This year’s competition includes 75 entries from all over Canada.

    Between now and Friday, March 2, the 25-most viewed videos will make it to the next round, where a panel of judges will then select the Top 15 for prizes.

    “We’re very proud of our students’ videos in the NSERC national competition,” says Brock Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon. “The quality and number of Brock entries attest to the talent and ambition of our students, and the central role that research plays in their education. It also indicates the strength of the research mentorship they receive from Brock faculty.”

    Brock University’s research videos are:

     

    Cell Talk (Matthew Mueller, Biological Sciences)

    Says that the root cause of several diseases today is a disruption in communication between cells and examines the language that cells use to talk to one another, and how this changes in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer. “It can sometimes be a challenge to share my research with others in an understandable way. For me, this competition means that more people can simply see and understand what I do at the lab and why it is important.”

    DNA: A Mobile Molecule (Zakia Dahi and Jina Nanayakkara, Biological Sciences)

    Explores how DNA sequences that move around – called jumping genes” – copy and paste themselves into different parts of our genomes. The research aims to understand how “jumping genes” have led to human variation and disease. “Highlighting our work through a short video in this competition has helped us to get our family & friends excited about what we do,” says Nanayakkara.

    Jack Pine Growth, NT (Dana Harris, Environmental Sustainability Research Centre)

    Shows the role of weather on the production of cells (xylogenesis) of jack pine in the taiga shield of the boreal forest. The aim of this research is to better understand cell production rates of jack pine in high latitude regions of Canada and define the climate-growth relationship of this species. “Being able to share my research across Canada in a simple short 60 second video is amazing, especially to the residents of the northern regions I work in; I I have already received feedback from community members who are looking forward to hearing more about what research is taking place in these regions.”

    Memory and Intent (Sarah Henderson, Psychology and Biological Sciences)

    Explores how we experience both spontaneous and intentional memories as we age. In investigating the brain activity associated with both types of recall, we are hoping to counter common stereotypes of aging by showing that some aspects of memory are preserved with age. “Having my research be a part of NSERC’s Science Action contest is hugely important to me because it will allow me to get people thinking of aging in a more positive light which has been shown to promote positive mental and physical health outcomes.”

    Old Crow’s New Arctic (Brent Thorne, Earth Sciences)

    Shows the impacts that land cover (ie vegetation, soil, and permafrost) have on lake and river water chemistry in Old Crow Flats, Yukon. This research is crucial for understanding how lake rich Arctic regions will continue to change in response to longer warming periods as well as providing key insights to the local Vuntut Gwitchin community who live off of the land. “This competition provides my research an opportunity to increase resources spent on acquiring larger datasets which ultimately provide better insight on our study region.”

    On the fly (Taylor Lidster, Biological Sciences)

    Shows how the fruit fly is used to study inflammation in the gut. The researchers use genetic techniques and microscopy to see any changes in the gut environment, good or bad. “Having my video in the top 75 is extremely exciting because I am proud of my research and I enjoy explaining it to others, making it in the top 25 would be nothing short of amazing!”

    Wildfires of Yellowknife (Josef Viscek, Earth Sciences)

    Focuses on the Yellowknife, Northwest Territories region’s increasing wildfires in recent decades. The research involves monitoring how wildfire and drought conditions may be impacting the hydrology of northern boreal lakes. “The NSERC video contest is a great opportunity for us to showcase our Brock scientific research in an informative, one-minute promo that everyone can understand and appreciate.”


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  • Feb 15: First round of 3MT Challenge

    Twelve Brock University graduate students – including Paul Michael Pilkington, MSc in Earth Science – will have three minutes to explain their complex research to a live audience on Thursday, Feb.15 when the preliminary round fo the 2018 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Challenge begins.

    DATE: Thursday, Feb. 15

    TIME: 4:30 to 6:30pm

    LOCATION: Pond Inlet (Mackenzie Chown)

    Now in its sixth year at Brock, the 3MT Challenge originated in Queensland, Australia in 2008 as a way for students to explain their research to a broad audience in plain, accessible terms. The contest has caught on around the world, and more than 40 schools in Canada participated last year.

    “Part of being a successful researcher is learning how to communicate your work to an audience outside of your discipline,” says Diane Dupont, Interim Dean of Graduate Studies. “3MT allows students to practise how to distill a project to its essentials. This is a valuable skill to learn as students prepare for the next step of their academic studies or to transition to a career.”

    This year’s competitors will present on topics ranging from algae to mindfulness to residential schools. Judging the preliminary round will be Kevin Cavanagh, Interim Director of Marketing and Communications; Kara Renaud, Supervisor, Career Education; and Brad McLean, Associate Director, Innovation and Commercialization in the Office of Research Services.

    Using the key criteria of communication, engagement and comprehension, the judges will pick the top five presenters to advance to the Brock finals being held Thursday, March 29. The winner will receive $500 and will advance on to the Ontario regional round at York University on Thursday, April 19.

    Thursday’s preliminary round is open to everyone and will be followed by a reception.

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  • Access to Dr. Francine McCarthy’s Invited Paper

    In November, Dr. Francine McCarthy presented a talk on “Freshwater resources in the Great Lakes Region – yesterday, today, and tomorrow…” as part of the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre’s Transdisciplinary Seminar Series.

    Now, you can access the invited paper on which her Sustainability talk was based.

    Abstract
    Management of freshwater resources requires an understanding of the response of lakes to human impact. The long sedimentary records in lake archives hold the key to accurate forecasting. The remains of algae in “pollen” slides record two distinct phases of cultural eutrophication and siltation/turbidity resulting from soil erosion in sediments from two lakes in southern Ontario, Canada: 1) agricultural settlements by Iroquoian (Wendat/Huron) people around the middle of the last millennium and 2) widespread land-clearing by European colonists in the mid-nineteenth century, followed by industrial expansion and urbanization in the Great Lakes watershed to the present day. The half-cells of benthic desmids were particularly sensitive to turbidity associated with land clearing. In contrast, planktonic algae adapted to eutrophic waters thrived in response to increased agricultural runoff and human and animal waste during both intervals in cores from Lake Simcoe and in the well-documented varved sediments from Crawford Lake. These under-utilized microfossils can be useful proxies of human impact, particularly where mineralized microfossils are sparse due to dissolution.

    Access the paper here

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  • FMS celebrates best in teaching, research and experiential learning

    Faculty and staff members who have set positive examples for their colleagues were honoured by the Faculty of Mathematics and Science during Wednesday’s Celebration of Excellence. The fourth annual event, held Jan. 24 in Pond Inlet, saw awards of distinction presented for research, teaching, student experience and experiential learning.

    “This awards ceremony provides us with an opportunity to gather together and acknowledge the accomplishments of our faculty and staff in front of their Math and Science family, as well as our larger Brock family,” Dean Ejaz Ahmed told the group during his remarks at the Jan. 24 event in Pond Inlet.

    “Once again, we have much to celebrate and recognize. From research excellence and distinguished teachers and scholars to those who provide our students with exceptional experiential learning opportunities that further the Faculty’s mission, vision and values. I am proud of your dedication and commitment and I look forward to continuing to celebrate your accomplishments at this great event.”

    Following remarks from Gary Comerford, Board of Trustees Chair, and Thomas Dunk, Provost and Vice-President, Academic, the awards portion of the event began with Associate Dean Research and Graduate Studies Cheryl McCormick serving as Master of Ceremonies.

    Department of Chemistry Professor Jeffrey Atkinson received this year’s Distinguished Teaching Award – Faculty for his long and successful record of supervising students, mentoring high school seniors through Brock’s Science Mentorship Program, his involvement in the design and implementation of Brock’s first PhD program in Biotechnology as well as his outreach teaching activities through BioTalent Canada.

    “During his career at Brock, Dr. Atkinson has earned a reputation for being one of our most gifted teachers,” said McCormick. “His teaching evaluations are outstanding and he routinely receives comments from students calling him an excellent professor, the best professor they’ve ever had and more equally enthusiastic and complimentary praise.”

    Atkinson’s dedication to his students and their education has helped create an environment of teaching excellence within the Faculty, she said.

    The Distinguished Teaching Award for Staff was captured by full-time instructor Paul Zelisko, also from the Department of Chemistry. Zelisko was recognized for his untiring dedication to education and graduate student recruitment.

    McCormick noted that Zelisko has been a consistent representative of the Faculty, organizing Brock representation every year for a number of events including the McMaster University Graduate Fair, undergraduate trips to the east coast and, most notably, last year’s Graduate Studies Open House. This event, created for undergraduate students at Brock thinking of transitioning to graduate research, helped increase student engagement and was well received.

    This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award – Faculty was awarded to professor Jon Radue from the Department of Computer Science, who has earned a reputation for caring deeply about many aspects of teaching and education.

    A true innovator, he incorporated technology such as clickers into the classroom to further student engagement long before it was commonplace. He has been actively involved with the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation as a faculty associate and member of the Teaching Council and his work on academic integrity extends beyond the department and throughout the University.

    “In the Department of Computer Science, Radue spearheaded the development of the Applied Computing minor along with many of its courses. His knowledge and dedication made him an easy choice for teaching large first-year context courses taken by a wide variety of students from all disciplines,” said McCormick.

    “His passion for education, combined with his knowledge and dedication have become part of his legacy at Brock.”

    The Distinguished Research Award for Faculty was presented to Henryk Fuks from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics for his excellent record of accomplishment in research, focused in the areas of mathematical modelling, complex networks as well as the history of mathematics and numismatics, the study of currency.

    Along with serving on editorial boards for several prestigious journals and on scientific program committees for international conferences, Fuks also regularly receives international recognition for his research. Last August, the Royal Canadian Numismatic Society honoured him with the Guy Potter Literary Award, recognizing two of his articles which popularized the history of mathematics in the area of numismatics.

    Gaynor Spencer from the Department of Biological Sciences also received the Distinguished Research Award for Faculty. Promoted to Full Professor in July, she is currently supervising three graduate students and two undergraduate thesis students in her lab.

    “Gaynor has maintained high quality research productivity while providing great service to the University and research community,” said McCormick. Her longstanding history of research excellence is evidenced in part by her strong record of NSERC Discovery Grant funding, an Ontario Premier’s Research Excellence Award as well as quality, peer-reviewed publications; 38 papers, five invited reviews and four book chapters.

    Additional awards distributed at the Jan. 24 celebration included:

    •  Dean’s Distinguished Scholar Award — Faculty awarded to Mei-Ling Huang (Department of Mathematics and Statistics) and Fereidoon Razavi (Department of Physics) for their contributions to research, teaching and service.
    •  Distinguished Staff Award won by Jacinta Dano (Department of Biological Sciences) for the creation and implementation of the highly successful LabSkills+ program, which recognizes the importance of experiential learning and provides students with the laboratory skills they need to market themselves in an increasingly competitive industry.
    •  Earth Sciences Professor Frank Fueten received the Student Experience, Recruitment and Outreach Award for Faculty. For more than 20 years, he has devoted countless hours to high school students through Brock’s Science Mentorship Program. Fueten has also been particularly active in experiential learning both in the classroom and in the field, lending his experience and expertise to hundreds of geology students.
    •  Daniel Lonergan received the Student Experience, Recruitment and Outreach Award for Staff. During his time as the Experiential Education Co-ordinator for the Faculty, he played a significant role in enhancing the student experience through experiential education. He also represented the Faculty at several key events including the Ontario University Fair, Open House and Fall Preview Day.
    •  The new Experiential Education Leadership Award was given to Earth Sciences Professor Uwe Brand, who received the Distinguished Research Award last year. For nearly 30 years, Brand has provided students with unique, high-quality, hands-on learning experiences. His approach to experiential education links in-class learning with practical applications designed to help prepare students for the real world.

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