Colleges Students and Faculty Present Research at Geological Society of America – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Colleges Students and Faculty Present Research at Geological Society of America

Research on salt levels and non-point source pollutants in Seneca Lake, the impact of zebra mussels on Lake Ontario, and improvements to the HWS Datalogger will be presented at the Geological Society of America's annual meeting.

October 25, 2002 GENEVA, N.Y.—Three Hobart and William Smith students and professors Tara Curtin, John Halfman, and D. Brooks McKinney, of the HWS geoscience department, will attend the National Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Oct. 27 though 30, in Denver, Colo. Approximately 6,300 geoscientists are expected to attend. The students will present a facet of the research on which they have and will continue to work while they are at the Colleges.

William Smith sophomore Cathy Caiazza of Rochester, N.Y., will present on her observations of the sodium and other ion hydrogeochemistry of Seneca Lake, which she studied to find out why Seneca Lake has higher chloride concentrations than the other Finger Lakes (two to 10 times higher). Sodium concentrations to date parallel chloride trends and suggest a common hydrogeochemistry. Caiazza is majoring in both geoscience and chemistry, and has a minor in education. After earning her bachelor's degree, she plans to complete a master's degree in education at the Colleges and teach high school earth science. Caiazza is the daughter of Vincenzo and Mirta Caiazza.

Tara Curtin, assistant professor of geoscience, will present her research on the southeastern flank of the Oliana anticline, in the southern Pyrenees of northern Spain. Curtin studies the controls on jointing within Eocene-Oligocene marine marls and fluvial and alluvial continental synorogenic units in the region. Several generations of elastico-frictional deformation affected this region, and joints are interpreted to be controlled by local stresses. Curtin joined the Colleges faculty in 2001. She received her bachelor's degree from Colgate, her master's from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her doctoral degree from the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Professors of geoscience John Halfman, who is also director of environmental studies, and D. Brooks McKinney, continue to refine the HWS Datalogger, and will present the improvement in resolution and higher storage capacity.

The HWS Datalogger is a user-built, battery-powered, digital data recorder that can be adapted for use with a variety of analog sensors. The new version uses integrated circuits with 12-bit rather than 8-bit analog to digital conversion and increased storage (4K to 16K). These improvements add less than $1 to the cost, which is less than $20. Halfman came to the Colleges in 1994. He holds a B.S. from Miami, an M.S. from Minnesota, and a Ph.D. from Duke University. McKinney has been a member of the Colleges faculty since 1984. He holds a bachelor's degree from Beloit College and a doctoral degree from Johns Hopkins University.

Hobart senior Rob Stewart of Middlebury, Vt., is examining the flow of nutrients and suspended solids, such as phosphorus, into Seneca Lake. He will present results indicating basin area, agriculture, activities, and human waste disposal are the primary factors controlling the nutrient and suspended sediment influx. Nutrient fluxes are modulated by biological activity. Stewart is a geoscience major, and has minors in mathematics and environmental science. He plans to attend graduate school in a few years. At Hobart he participates in intramural basketball and softball. Stewart is the son of Jamie and Joanne Stewart.

William Smith junior Ann Walker from Liverpool, N.Y., is studying the amount and types of sediment in Lake Ontario and how it relates to the invasion and rise of the zebra and quagga mussels and the decline in the Diporeia populations, the latter an important part of the food chain for the fish in the lake. Zebra and quagga mussels are displacing Diporeia from the food chain, and by displacing the Diporeia, the mussels are destroying the lake trout fisheries in the lake. The mussel invasion in Lake Ontario is about five years ahead of Seneca Lake and provides a potential future scenario for Seneca Lake. Walker is the daughter of Deborah Long and Richard Walker.

Halfman is overseeing Caiazza's, Stewart's, and Walker's research. The Lake Ontario study is an effort spearheaded by benthic ecologist Dawn Dittman of the U.S. Geological Survey, Eastern Basin Ecosystems Branch, Tunison Laboratory of Aquatic Science in Cortland. Halfman's part of the study is investigating the sedimentological controls on the last remaining locations for Diporeia.

The Hobart and William Smith geoscience department encourages students to involve themselves in research projects and paper presentations beyond the HWS campus. Many class and independent study projects result in presentations at national meetings and/or publications in national and international journals. The department prides itself in providing the opportunity for students to become part of the international geological community and for them to experience possible career paths.

Hobart for men and William Smith for women-private, liberal arts and science institutions with a combined enrollment of 1,800-have an ambitious geology curriculum designed for students with a wide variety of interests and needs, ranging from an introduction to a strong preparation for a career in geology. Hobart and William Smith are located in Geneva, in the heart of the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.

# # #