Deniz Altin-Ballero is a doctoral candidate studying evolutionary relationships in the earliest evolving group of Foraminifera called ‘allogromiids’. Her research is the first attempt at employing the ‘total evidence approach’ for foraminiferal phylogenetics by assessing three genes (actin, tubulin and SSU) coupled with fine structural detail of the cell body and shell through scanning and transmission electron microscope observations. She hopes to further resolve current phylogenetic relationships based on solely on a single gene.
Deniz was awarded funding for her research from the Lerner-Gray Award of the National Museum of Natural History, the Rodney M. Feldmann Student Research Award of the Paleontological Society, and the Geological Society of America.1
Jason Austin is currently investigating the utility of the stable isotopes of carbon trapped in pedogenic gibbsite as a proxy for PCO2. He uses finite difference modeling and field research in an attempt to determine whether past modeling assumptions are valid; and if not, to determine what processes are controlling the stable isotope ratios that are preserved in the geologic record.
Michael Bonomo is conducting research on regional variation in trace element and stable isotope concentrations of pegmatitic muscovite in the southeastern United States. The results of this research will then be utilized in an attempt to source muscovite artifacts excavated at Etowah, a Mississippian mound site in Cartersville, Georgia, with the hypothesis that Georgia’s prehistoric Native Americans utilized local deposits of muscovite. Michael received funding for his research from the Geological Society of America.
Ernest Beasley is conducting his research in rainfall-runoff studies under the instruction of John Dowd. He and Steve Fitzpatrick are teaming up on an investigation at the USDA research farm in Watkinsville, Georgia to locate preferential flow pathways in the vadose zone using ground penetrating radar in conjunction with geochemical tracers.
Dan Bulger is currently developing a diagenetic model within a high resolution stratigraphic framework of carbonate rocks to identify relevant geochemical sequence boundaries that aid in the discovery and recovery of petroleum sources in subsurface environments. Dan’s primary objectives are to identify diagenetic minerals that convey relevant information concerning the position of sequence boundaries and delineate the conditions that influence the occurrence of relevant diagenetic horizons.
Dan received funding for his research from the Clay Minerals Society, Geological Society of America, the GDL Foundation, Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM), and the Southeastern Section of the Geological Society of America. Lanzarone, P., 2010, Geological and geophysical analyses at the Fanta Stream archaeological and paleontological site, Central Ethiopia: Report on file to the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cutural Heritage, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.2
Max Christie is investigating the ecological effects of extinctions in the Paleozoic. Using a combination of data from previous research and new field data from New York State, Max is comparing how percent extinction differs from changes in functional ecology across three extinction events of varying magnitude.
Max received funding for his research from the Paleontological Society (their Steven M. Stanley Award) and the Southeastern Section of the Geological Society of America.
Stephan Fitzpatrick is assessing the viability of ground-penetrating radar (GPR) as an efficient tool for determining hydrological flowpaths and volumetric soil-moisture content. The GPR data is to be collected in a week-long experiment during the summer of 2010 with tracers being used as control. This data will be examined by means of hydrological evaluation in comparison to the GPR signals.
Joelle Freeman is working to improve outdated radon prediction methods for Georgia. A new prediction method could be used to create a better prediction map for use in public education about the health risks of radon, a known carcinogen. Specifically, Joelle is using GIS techniques to analyze the relationship between elevated National Uranium Resource Evaluation program stream sediment data and elevated radon test results from the Georgia Radon Education Program.3
Eleanor Gardner will finish two years’ worth of field work in May. Her thesis project is an investigation of modern avian taphonomy, and she is examining the roles of age, sex, and depositional environment on the weathering and degradation rates of bird bones. An overall goal of her study is to develop a better understanding of the taphonomic processes that affect avian remains prior to fossilization, which could lead to more a precise interpretation of the avian fossil record.
Eleanor was awarded funding for her research from the Kenneth E. and Annie Caster Student Research Award of the Paleontological Society, the Geological Society of America, and the North American Paleontological Convention. She was also named an Outstanding Teaching Assistant by the UGA Graduate School.4
Peter Lanzarone is currently focusing on shallow geophysical analyses of prehistoric archaeological sites in Central and Southern Ethiopia. This includes the use of ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and fluxgate gradiometry in order to provide detailed information about subsurface anthropogenic and stratigraphic features in both fluvial and cave environments.
Peter was awarded grants for his research from Sigma Xi and the Geological Society of America. 5
Kristen Longfellow is working on a model of paragenesis for the Stone Mountain Granite, Georgia. She is using tourmaline textures as an indicator of undercooling within the system. Field relationships will be examined as well as microprobe analyses of skeletal and euhedral tourmaline crystals.
Heath McGregor is finishing his research on the relationship between two relatively primitive and distinct types of alkaline dikes (sodic and potassic). These two types of dikes are spatial associated and contemporaneous with stocks of the Spanish Peaks and the Rio Grande rift in south central Colorado. He will be defending April 16th of this year.6
Justin Miller is currently studying the effects of predation on fossil echinoid distributions during the Eocene. Specifically he is examining whether predation acted as an evolutionary catalyst that caused echinoids to burrow into the sediment. Field and museum work are a crucial component to his studies.7
Ken Nelson is studying sequence stratigraphic controls on kaolinite crystal structure within multiple Georgia kaolin deposits. His research involves the use of numerous analytical techniques, including x-ray powder diffraction, infrared spectroscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. Ultimately, he is testing the ability of mineral crystal structures to detect ancient marine flooding surfaces and unconformities.
Katrina Ostrowicki is currently working on saline aquifer mapping with the USGS Water Science Center in Atlanta and as part of her master’s thesis. She is particularly interested in the influence that clay minerals have on borehole geophysical logs and their interpretation.
Horry Parker is using Multi-channel Analysis of Surface Waves (MASW) to characterize sub-surface geology in the karst terrain of southwest Georgia. This near-surface seismic technique was employed to map bedrock topography and identify potential subsidence features. The alignment of low-velocity zones on the shear-wave velocity models is interpreted to result from preferential weathering along bedrock fractures.
Horry received funding for his research from the Geological Society of America.
Horry Parker also was named an Outstanding Teaching Assistant by the UGA Graduate School.8
Nick Radko is working with prehistoric soapstone artifacts from the Southeast. He uses mineral chemistry and petrologic techniques to characterize soapstone samples in an effort to source artifacts to quarries.
Hillary Sletten is constructing a 4,650 year high resolution paleoclimate record from a stalagmite from Dante Cave in northeastern Namibia. She is using several proxies including U-series dating, stable isotopes, trace elements and petrology. Data from these techniques will then be integrated with modern climate data to retrodict one of the first paleoclimate records for this region of Namibia.
Amy Jo Tweedell is a hydrogeology student researching the effects of drought on LNAPL remediation. She is using data from EPD sites all over Georgia to see how the recent drought affected groundwater contamination levels and cleanup efforts.
Heather Veasey is researching gold mineralization at the Haile Gold Mine in South Carolina. She will likely be using a combination of stable isotope geochemistry, optical petrography, and geochronology in her research.
Andrew Zaffos has just completed his master’s research investigating how fossil abundances are related to observed extinction in the fossil record. This work was part of his broader interest in evolutionary selectivity patterns, determining what ecological properties cause some organisms to go extinct and others to survive.
Andrew received funding for his research from the Paleontological Society and the Geological Society of America.9
1 Altin, D. Z., A. Habura, and S.T. Goldstein, 2009. A new allogromiid foraminifer Niveus flexilis, nov. gen, nov. sp. from coastal Georgia, USA: Fine structure and gametogenesis. Journal of Foraminiferal Research, v. 39 (2), pp. 73-86.
Altin, D.Z. and S.T. Goldstein, 2009. Comparison of Cellular Fine Structure of Selected “Clade E” Allogromiid Foraminifers from Coastal Georgia, USA. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, 41 (1), p. 52.
Altin, D.Z. and S.T. Goldstein, 2009. A fine structural comparison of selected Clade E allogromiid Foraminifera: Could ultrastructure hold phylogenetic clues? Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, 41 (7), p. 562.
Altin, D.Z. 2009. A fine structural comparison of selected Clade E allogromiid Foraminifera: Could ultrastructure hold phylogenetic clues? Southeastern Microscopy Society, student Ruska competition, 5/28/2009.
2 Bulger, D., Sequence stratigraphic distribution of the clay mineral corrensite in Mississippian aged limestone: evidence from Tuscumbia-Monteagle Formations, northwest Georgia: Clay Mineral Society 46th Annual Meeting, Billings, Montana, June 2009.
Bulger, D., D. Susina, A. Sarafian, J. Mosely, J. Miller, W. Stephens, P. Walker, C. Fausnight, T. Fraley, and K. McTigue, Mineralogy of pegmatite dikes from the Keystone Blue Quarry Elberton Batholith, northeast Georgia and implications for the origin of the pegmatitic texture. GSA Southeastern Section - 58th Annual Meeting, St. Petersburg, Florida, March 2009.
3 Freeman, J.M., S.E. Swanson, T.R. Jordan, R.M. Chenhall, and J.H. Atiles, 2009, Comparison of uranium and radon studies for the Stone Mountain, Georgia Granite and the Elberton Granite, Geological Society of America Abstracts With Programs, v. 41, no. 1
4 Gardner, E.E., and S.E. Walker, 2009. Climate matters: comparing avian bone taphonomy in warm temperate vs. subtropical environments [abstract]. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 41, no. 7, p. 628.
Gardner, E.E., and S.E. Walker, 2009. Linking macro- and micro-level taphonomic alteration in avian bones as a function of age, sex, and environment [abstract]. 9th North American Paleontological Convention Abstracts, Cincinnati Museum Center Scientific Contributions, no. 3, p. 345.
5 Lanzarone, P., 2010, Geological and geophysical analyses at the Fanta Stream archaeological and paleontological site, Central Ethiopia: Report on file to the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cutural Heritage, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Lanzarone, P., 2009, Ground - Penetrating Radar (GPR) Investigations at the Fanta Stream site, Central Ethiopia: American Geophysical Union 2009 Fall Meeting Program with Abstracts.
Lanzarone, P., 2009, Stone artifact illustration: A dying art?: Society of American Archaeology 2009 Program with Abstracts
Lanzarone, P., 2009, Stone artifact illustration: A dying art?: Society of American Archaeology 2009 Program with Abstracts.
6 McGregor, H., A. Sarafian, M.F. Roden, A. Patiño Douce, and L.L. Davis, 2010, Petrogenetic relationships between potassic and sodic alkaline magmas at Spanish Peaks CO. Northeastern Section - Southeastern Section Geological Society of America Joint Meeting.
7 Miller, J.M., 2009, Preliminary revision of Heteraster (Echinoidea) from the Lower Cretaceous of Texas: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 1, p. 16.
Miller, J.M. and S.E. Walker, 2009, Evolutionary implications of gastropod predation on irregular echinoids representing different ecological burrowing tiers, Late Eocene, Florida: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 390.
Miller, J.M., 2009, An underused metric to distinguish warm water vs. cooler water species of modern sand dollars: Cincinnati Museum Center Scientific Contribution, No. 3, p. 14.
8 Parker, E.H., 2010, Multi-channel analysis of seismic surface waves in karst terrains: Implications for detecting subsidence features and bedrock lineaments: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 42, no. 1
9 Holland, S.M., and A. Zaffos, 2009, Testing the importance of incumbency: The conservation of ecological response curves along an onshore-offshore gradient: NAPC 2009 Abstracts