Articles tagged with: Earth Sciences

  • 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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  • January 16: Master of Science thesis defence

    Daniel Hughes, a candidate in the Department of Earth Sciences, will present his Master of Science thesis defence by video conference on Tuesday, Jan. 16 at 10:30 a.m. in WH 147.

    His thesis is titled “Detecting spatial variation in hydrology and carbon export across a lake-rich permafrost landscape: Old Crow Flats, Yukon, Canada.”

    His examination committee members are Dr. Cheryl McCormick, Chair; Dr. Susanne Tank, External Examiner, (University of Alberta); Dr. Kevin Turner, Supervisor; Dr. Michael Pisaric and Dr. Francine McCormick, Committee Members.

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  • December 12: Master of Science thesis defence

    Walid Abomirga, a candidate in the Department of Earth Sciences, will present his Master of Science thesis defence by video conference on Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 9 a.m. in WH 147.

    His thesis is titled “Central North Atlantic (IODP Site U1313) paleoceanography based on a high-resolution dinoflagellate cyst record across the Early–Middle Pleistocene boundary (Marine Isotope Stages 20–18, ~773 ka).”

    His examination committee members are Dr. Michael Bidochka, Chair; Dr. Elisabeth Levac, External Examiner, (Bishop’s University); Dr. Martin Head, Supervisor; and Dr. Francine McCarthy and Dr. Uwe Brand, Committee Members.

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  • John Menzies’ book about glacial past sheds light on the planet’s future

    Past glacial environments and the critical insight they provide into the planet’s future are at the centre of John Menzies’ latest book.

    The professor of Earth Sciences and Geography has completely revamped Past Glacial Environments, a book he initially released in 1996. While it shares the same name as the original edition, the latest publication has undergone a complete rewrite and has been updated to include a large collection of colourful photographs, diagrams and tables.

    Among its 858 pages are chapters on dating methods, paleosols, ice models, GIS imagery, stratigraphy, marine sediments and more. It includes contributions from geological experts from around the world, including Canada, the Netherlands, Iceland, France, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, the U.K, the U.S., Germany and Norway.

    The book aims to “to cover the most relevant glacial sedimentary environments and techniques to provide the current generation of geoscience, sedimentology, environmental science, glaciology and ice modelling students with an up-to-date overview and prepare them in the best possible way for the study of past glacial environments.”

    Menzies hopes the book “highlights the fundamental issue pertaining to glacial environments and how they reflect climate change and global warming.”

    “One of the first indicators of global warming is sea level rise and glacier and ice sheet melting,” he says. “A huge symptom of climate change is fluctuating glacial conditions, as evidenced by Antarctic ice shelves breaking up and valley glaciers in the Rockies retreating. What happens underneath the ice is very relevant to these events — more so than many people understand.”

    Past Glacial Environments — published by Elsevier, one of the world’s major providers of scientific technical and medical information — was released Dec. 5 and is available on Amazon.

    Read the full story here

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  • Brock celebrates the ‘science of where’ on GIS Day

    Undergraduate and graduate students demonstrated how Geographical Information Systems (GIS) software can be used to visualize and analyze geographic information in order to solve the real-world problems that are the focus of their research at the annual Esri Canada Scholarship Competition.

    “The Esri Canada GIS Scholarship program aims to recognize excellence in research at institutions across Canada by supporting and encouraging students in their future work,” said Krista Amolins, Higher Education Developer and Analyst with Esri Canada, who visited Brock to hear the presentations.

    G

    The competition was the highlight of Brock’s seventh annual GIS Day, hosted by Brock’s Map, Data & GIS Library and the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies. GIS Day falls during Geography Awareness Week.

    Competitor Brian Giordano, a PhD candidate for the Centre for Biotechnology who studies the spread of West Nile virus, finds that GIS software helps him share his findings more widely.

    “Trying to explain complex analyses to the general public can be difficult,” said Giordano. “Mapping software provides a simple yet elegant way to showcase the data in a way that the general public can relate to and easily understand.”

    Brent Thorne, who is working on a master’s degree in the Department of Earth Science, believes that GIS can be applied to almost any project.

    “I’ve had the opportunity to work on an accessibility web map application and remote sensing of Niagara region vineyards, and to conduct GIS analysis on Arctic vegetation,” said Thorne, who also completed a BSc in Physical Geography at Brock. He credits his GIS courses with opening his eyes to the possibilities of GIS software.

    Thorne now shares his GIS knowledge and experience with others by posting tutorials on his YouTube channel.

    With presentations complete, Assistant Professor Kevin Turner and instructor Brodie Hague, both of the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, and Colleen Beard and Sharon Janzen, both of the Map, Data & GIS Library, will meet to deliberate and choose a winner, who will be announced in mid-January.

    In addition to a cash award of $1,000, the winner will receive several of Esri’s ArcGIS products, including desktop software, an ArcGIS Developer subscription, publications, training, conference registration, and eligibility for future awards and opportunities — a value of more than $50,000. They will also be added to the gallery of recipients at scholars.esri.ca.

    Students, staff, and faculty interested in obtaining ArcGIS software can learn more on the Map, Data and GIS Library web page.

    Read the full story here

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  • November 24: Earth Sciences’ CSPG Student Industry Field Trip (SIFT) presentation

    Join the Department of Earth Sciences on Friday, November 24 at 10am in Mackenzie Chown D308 for a presentation by Sean Mundreon, 2017 participant to the Student Industry Field Trip.

    Sean Mundreon SIFT Talk

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  • Brock prof aids with new Mars discovery

    With Mars still home to many unknowns, each discovery made on the Red Planet draws a new sense of excitement from Brock University scientist Mariek Schmidt.

    The thrill of new findings has again bubbled up for the Associate Professor of Earth Sciences while analyzing data from the Mars Curiosity rover. Schmidt was part of a team of Canadian researchers who recently released a report suggesting that a large area on Mars not only once contained water, but also housed other conditions that would have allowed micro-organisms to live.

    Read the full article here

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  • September 29: Earth Sciences Guest Speaker Series

    The Department of Earth Sciences Guest Speaker Series
    featuring Dr. Peter Putnam
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Central European Petroleum Ltd.

    DATE: Friday, September 29

    TIME: 1pm – 2pm

    LOCATION: Mackenzie Chown D308

    Earth Sciences Guest Speaker Series – Peter Putnam

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  • Tour to explore geologic history of campus

    With a little bit of knowledge and a lot of imagination, Earth Sciences Professor Francine McCarthy plans to help curious minds uncover the geologic past of the Brock campus. During an hourlong guided walking tour of the University property, held as part of Science Literacy Week, McCarthy will provide insight into the geology of the landscape.

    WHEN: Tuesday, September 19 from 5-6pm (arrive early)

    WHERE: Meet in the James A. Gibson Library, Matheson Learning Commons

    ADMISSION: Free

    NOTE: Wear appropriate clothing and footwear as the tour will run rain or shine

    More information about the tour and programming for Science Literacy Week here

     

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