HWS Professors Receive National Grant for Ongoing Finger Lakes Study – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

HWS Professors Receive National Grant for Ongoing Finger Lakes Study

The more than $150,000 will aid equipment purchase
(Jan. 13, 2005) GENEVA, N.Y.—Hobart and William Smith Colleges' professors Tara Curtin, assistant professor of geoscience, and John Halfman, director of Environmental Studies, received $152,152 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support their ongoing investigation of past climates and environmental changes that are preserved in the sediments of the Finger Lakes.

The funds will allow them to purchase three instruments critical to determining the origin and paleoclimatic significance of the laminations preserved in the sediments of Seneca Lake and the other Finger Lakes for high-resolution study of climate change. They are:

A carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen elemental analyzer that generates data that can be utilized to look at the impact of changing land use activities due to human settlement and its impact on the plant life, plant productivity and algal blooms in the lake.
An automatic electronic particle size analyzer to determine sediment grain size, which is fundamental to the intensity of waves, currents and the frequency and/or intensity of storm events.

A spinner KappaBridge to measure the alignment of the magnetic minerals in the sediments. Leah Joseph, formerly of the Environmental Studies Department at HWS and now at Ursinus College, continues to work with Halfman and Curtin on this research and will set up the KappaBridge at Ursinus.

“The equipment expands our ability to offer first-rate educational and research opportunities on Seneca Lake,” says Halfman. “This ability is highlighted by the acquisition of the William Scandling, our 65-ft research vessel, the JB Snow, our 25-ft pontoon boat, and the initiation of the Finger Lakes Institute.”

The Finger Lakes Institute promotes environmental research and educational outreach opportunities about the Finger Lakes.

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