Geological and Environmental Sciences

Faculty Achievements

Spring 2018

[Publication] Evaluating Success of Alternative Restoration Methods for Riparian Willows: Seeding and Ungulate Exclosures

Dr. Kaczynski is lead author on a paper titled “Evaluating Success of Alternative Restoration Methods for Riparian Willows: Seeding and Ungulate Exclosures” that was published in the June 2018 issue of Ecological Restoration. Link to abstract: http://er.uwpress.org/content/36/2/127.abstract

Fall 2017

[Publication] High Resolution Analysis of the Chemical Composition of Ancient Microfossils

Dr. Russell Shapiro and colleagues from France and Canada recently published the results of their research in Nature Scientific Reports. The article, “2D/3D Microanalysis by Energy Dispersive X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy Tomography,” (link) presents results of analysis of 1.9 billion year old fossils utilizing the European Synchrotron at Grenoble, France. The technique is able to resolve the oxidative state of iron at extremely small spatial resolutions. The goal of the research is to try to understand the metabolism of these ancient ecosystems.

[Grant Award] Faculty awarded funding for two CSU WRPI Watershed Management interns

Dr. Sandrine Matiasek received $10,000 from the CSU Water Resources and Policy Initiatives to fund two Watershed Management Interns. Graduate student Richard Vitamanti and Environmental Science major Eric Dearden will monitor stormwater biofiltration systems in Chico, CA for their ability to infiltrate urban storm runoff and remove excess nutrients, sediment, metals, and petroleum hydrocarbons from stormwater. Storm runoff composition in local biofilters will be compared to non-urban, upstream locations in the watershed in order to evaluate the potential of stormwater biofilters to restore the hydrology of urban watersheds to more natural conditions.

[Invited Workshop] Drilling core workshop seeks to understand one of the oldest evidences of life on Earth in the Barberton Mountainland, South Africa

Dr. Russell Shapiro joined colleagues from fourteen other nations in a focused workshop sponsored by the International Continental Science Drilling Program to study the Moodies Group in South Africa.  The Moodies is a 3.2 billion years old sequence of sandstone and siltstone with evidence of microbial mats, as well as evaporites and other indicators of terrestrial and shallow marine facies. It incorporates some of the oldest rocks still remaining on the earth's surface. Shapiro is part of a subgroup focusing on the diagenesis and microscopy of the microbial mats.

[Publication] Organic matter exports from an irrigated watershed

Dr. Sandrine Matiasek is the first author of an article published in the October 2017 issue of Biogeochemistry. The article, titled “Irrigation as a fuel pump to freshwater ecosystems”, documents the impacts of irrigation practices on stream biogeochemistry using amino acid biomarkers. Irrigated agriculture altered dissolved organic matter cycling by releasing a continuous supply of reactive dissolved organic matter, providing an additional energy source to downstream ecosystems.

[Publication] Observations of microscale internal gravity waves in very stable atmospheric boundary layers over an orchard canopy

Dr. Shane Mayor is sole author of an article published in the 15 October 2017 issue of Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. The article presents the first lidar observations of atmospheric waves that occur over forest canopies at night. The waves are important because they are precursors to episodes of turbulence that transport heat, momentum, and trace gases vertically through the canopy.

[Publication] GSA Field Guide Chapter

Dr. Ann Bykerk-Kauffman authored a chapter entitled Neogene sedimentation, volcanism, and faulting in the eastern Coyote Mountains, Salton Trough, southern California in Geological Society of America Field Guide 45, published in July, 2017.

[Invited Workshop] QUBES Faculty Travel Award

Dr. Kristen Kaczynski was selected to be part of the Fall 2017 Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education and Synthesis project (QUBES) Faculty Mentoring Network. She received an NSF funded travel award to attend to the "Life Discovery Doing Science Biology Education" conference and workshop in October, and will implement new quantitative activities into her courses this Fall. She will be recognized as an Ecological Society of America Education Scholar.

Spring 2017

[Grant Award] Faculty awarded USGS EDMAP Grant

Dr. Hannah Aird received a grant from the U.S. Geological Survey, “EDMAP: Detailed Geologic and Alteration Mapping in the Antelope Valley, Sierra County, CA.”  This grant will support her graduate student, Sommer Casady, in her efforts to understand the economic geology of a copper deposit through detailed field mapping.

[Grant Award] Faculty awarded USGS EDMAP Grant

​Dr. Todd Greene was awarded $18,000 through a USGS EDMAP program to fund a graduate student (Glenn Hoffmann) to geologically map the northeast quadrant of the 7.5’ Richardson Springs Quadrangle approximately 10 km north of Chico. Glenn is testing a mapping methodology using time-correlative surfaces that separate groups of facies associations into mappable stratigraphic packages which highlight thickness trends, stratigraphic pinch-outs, and a higher resolution depositional history. Glenn is creating a geologic map (1:12,000) and stratigraphic panels using traditional mapping skills, measured sections, facies characterizations, as well as drone photography and photogrammetry software. He will also sample material for tephrachronology to better define a lower age limit for the Tuscan.

[Faculty Recognition] RESP Outstanding New Investigator Award

Dr. Sandrine Matiasek was selected for the 2017 Outstanding New Investigator Award by the Universtiy Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. Her work has led to outstanding accomplishments and contributions that are poised for national/international recognition and which are regionally important, and it is on this basis that she was recognized.

[Faculty Recognition] Paul Persons Award

Dr. Kristen Kaczynski was presented with the prestigious Paul Persons Award at this year’s “This Way to Sustainability” Conference. This annual award recognizes a faculty member who contributes strongly in involving students in sustainability initiatives at the university.