Undergraduate students strengthen IQPR research which meets the University’s goals to involve more undergraduates in research. Below we share information on our undergraduates at work, and list students who have contributed to our IQPR research.
Logan Sims, Rebecca Groh, and Brooke Pearson
Logan worked in our Laboratory of Tree-Ring Science in Fall 2013 and again in Spring 2014, working on many projects, including the measuring of cores collected in South America for a project being conducted by a post-doc in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
Rebecca Groh worked in the LTRS in Spring and Summer 2014 and again in Fall 2014, assisting on a major trip to Yorktown, Virginia, to collect samples from a historic Colonial Era house. She also is processing samples of pine sectiosn we collected from a crib dam in Fredericksburg, Virginia, back in fall 2012 as part of her honor’s project.
Lastly, Brooke Pearson joined our lab in Fall 2014 and is assisting Lauren Stachowiak on the processing of her pine sections that make up her dissertation project in the Florida Keys.
Lizzie Maclennan and William Maple
Undergraduates Lizzie and William assisted in the sampling from a sediment core extracted by Dr. Sally Horn and graduate students Mathew Boehm and Erik Johanson. The sediment is from Keener Bog – a highland bog in northeast Georgia. They are determining the sediment composition at intervals along the core (corresponding to age) as well as sampling for preserved charcoal. If charcoal is preserved, Lizzie will be using this core to study the long-term fire history around Keener Bog in Georgia.
Bryson Conner, student in Geography 494 (Undergraduate Research Experience), used his expertise in woodworking to construct custom trays for an experiment that Ph.D. student Joanne Ballard is carrying out to test the effect of simulated acid rain on wood ash from fires. The results will help Joanne interpret unique components of late glacial sediments in eastern North America.
Sarah Bleakney, Christian Lund, Jacob Watkins, and Paul Lemieux
Sarah, Christian, Jake, and Paul began working in our Laboratory of Paleoenviromental Research in Spring 2013. Sarah and Christian first participated in paleoenvironmental research as students in the Geography 137 honors section of introductory physical geography, taught by IQPR faculty member Sally Horn. In our research lab, Sarah, Christian, Paul, and Jacob are working with IQPR GRAs Matthew Kerr and Matthew Valente to study the physical properties and isotope geochemistry of sediment cores from the Southeastern U.S. and Costa Rica, in support of IQPR seed projects and research. The photographs below were taken in the Stable Isotope Laboratory of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, where Sarah and Paul weighed samples for isotope analysis.
Luke Wylie, Bryson Conner, Grant Wilder, Alex Collier, Brandon Corrier, and Chaney Swiney
In Fall 2012 and Spring 2013, we welcomed six new undergraduate lab assistants to the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Science. These students greatly assisted on a project that involves the analysis of cores from two species competing for limited resources on an island in the country of Chile, assisted in processing sections from several historic structures here in Tennessee and also in Virginia, and are working on rare longleaf pine samples from a historic structure in North Carolina.
Karoline Mikolajewski and Ethan Fulwood
In Fall 2012, Karoline Mikolajewski and Ethan Fulwood participated in research in our Laboratory of Paleoenvironmental Research. Karoline, a Music major, learned to prepare samples from lake-sediment cores for isotope analyses. Ethan, an Anthropology major, studied snail shells from a sediment profile from a wetland in Cuatro Cienegas, Mexico. Both students earned course credit in Geography 494: Undergraduate Research Experience. Their efforts contributed to current NSF projects involving IQPR Faculty Sally Horn, Zheng-Hua Li, and Darrin Hulsey, and graduate students Joanne Ballard, Matthew Valente, and John Eads.
Alex has continued his involvement with the Florida Keys project, focusing on high-resolution analyses of the charcoal record from CocoPlum Pond. New isotope work by IQPR faculty member Michael Hren and postdoc Dana Labotka will complement Alex’s work.
Chris was an undergraduate lab assistant since the inception of the IQPR in 2010 when he was a freshman and expressed interest in gaining lab skills in the environmental sciences. He was an integral part of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Science until his graduation in December 2012 and mastered many complex aspects of tree-ring analysis, from sanding to measuring to crossdating using the lab’s scanner-based WinDendro system. He assisted on a project through the McClung Museum to analyze eastern red cedar samples collected in the 1930s by the famous archaeologist, Florence Hawley. He is currently in the master’s program at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Dakota Anderson, Andrew Anslinger, Luke Wylie, and Richard Merino
In Spring 2012, we have four geography majors assisting on various projects in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Science, supervised by IQPR graduate students Grant Harley, Dorothy Rosene, Sarah Jones, and Niki Garland, through the Department of Geography’s Geography 494 class Research Experience for Undergraduates. Projects involve: (1) processing core samples collected from House Mountain for a tree phenology project; (2) measuring and dating tree rings collected from areas affected by the 2008 coal ash spill; (3) helping analyze tree samples collected at El Morro and El Malpais National Monuments; and (4) dating of tree rings collected form a timber crib dam in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Maria is working towards her minor in Geography and worked in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Science from the Summer 2011 to the Summer of 2012. She has worked on a variety of projects, but assisted Niki Garland in processing several hundred core samples extracted from trees that had been impacted by the December 2008 coal ash spill at the Kingston Fossil Plant in Harriman, Tennessee.
Madison, an undergraduate Anthropology major, worked with soil charcoal in Fall 2011 as a participant in IQPR faculty member Sally Horn’s honors section of introductory physical geography. In Spring 2012, Madison began working on charcoal analysis of Florida Keys sediment cores. Madison also worked with archaeological samples in the McClung Museum in Spring 2012!
Ebony Lemons and James Ensley
In Summer and Fall 2011, Ebony and James joined the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Science as part of a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) grant from the National Science Foundation to Dr. Glenn Tootle and Henri Grissino-Mayer. Both also traveled to New Mexico for a week to gain hands-on experience in extracting cores from conifer trees on the lava flows of El Malpais National Monument.
Lauren learned about sedimentary charcoal and other proxies studied in the Laboratory of Paleoenvironmental Research as a participant in Geography 494: Undergraduate Research Experience in Spring 2012.
As a senior in Geography, Matt assisted in several lab projects in the Laboratory of Tree-ring Science in Fall 2011, participating as a student in the department’s Geography 494: Research experience for Undergraduates program. He focused his lab time on helping process wood collected from a timber crib dam in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Nick Henderson and Rachel Wilson
Nick, an EEB major, and Rachel, a geography major, are NSF-funded undergraduate research assistants studying the sediments of Cuatro Cienegas, Mexico, in collaboration with IQPR faculty Sally Horn and Darrin Husley, and graduate students Matt Valente and John Eads. Both began working in our Laboratory of Paleoenvironmental Research as 494 students.
Alex Massey, Nathan Sharp, and Matt Cottam
Geography majors Alex, Nate, and Matt worked with initiative faculty member Sally Horn in the Laboratory of Paleoenvironmental Research during Spring 2011. They learned to identify charcoal in sediments and to quantify macroscopic charcoal in sediment cores from ponds in the Florida Keys, to reconstruct fire history and explore possible links between fire and climate during the Late Holocene.
Andrew Lawler was a Fall 2010 participant in Geography 494. He looked at fish scales and other zoological remains in sediments from Cuatro Cienegas, Mexico, as indicators of Quaternary environments and biota. Andrew worked with Ph.D. student Matthew Valente and Initiative faculty members Darrin Hulsey and Sally Horn in this project.
Undergraduate geography student Matthew Martin assisted with paleoclimate research in Summer 2010 through the course, Geography 494: Undergraduate Research Experience. Matthew worked in both the Laboratory of Paleoenvironmental Research and the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Science. His principal activities were assisting Ph.D. student Matthew Valente and Initiative faculty member Sally Horn with the preparation and analysis of sediment samples from ponds in Cuatro Cienegas, Mexico, and preparing and analyzing samples from the Florida Keys in collaboration with Ph.D. student Grant Harley and Initiative faculty member Henri Grissino-Mayer.
Sarah is now a graduate student in the Department of Geography, but already spent three summers conducting fieldwork for her intended master’s thesis. She joined the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Science in Summer 2009. In 2010, she and her field team collected cores from 35 old-growth ponderosa pine trees on an isolated kipuka in El Malpais National Monument in New Mexico that could yield new information on decadal-scale climate oscillations that modulate regional precipitation patterns. In 2011, she and her crew collected hundreds of cores from trees growing in the pygmy forests that typify the lava flows at El Malpais.
As a senior in the Department of Geography in 2011, Josh worked in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring science since the inception of the IQPR. Josh was funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to assist in the processing of tree-ring samples collecting on Big Pine Key and No Name Key, part of the Key Deer National Refuge in southern Florida. This research was also funded via a National Science Foundation grant to Henri Grissino-Mayer and Grant Harley. Josh also assisted in the measuring of tree-ring widths via the WinDendro software system, and assisted with the processing of these data to ensure all the rings have been dated with annual precision.
Sara Martin and Hannah Johnson
Sara and Hannah worked on research with David Finkelstein in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science in summer 2010.
Blake worked in the Stable Isotope Lab with IQPR faculty member Zheng-Hua Li, performing stable isotope analysis of speleothems in 2010 and 2011.