News

8/10/2016

By Whitney Harder

The decrease in fishery productivity in Lake Tanganyika, Africa's oldest lake, since the 1950s is a consequence of global warming rather than just overfishing, according to a new report from an international team led by a University of Arizona (UA) geoscientist that includes the University of Kentucky's Michael McGlue, who is Pioneer Professor of Stratigraphy in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.   The lake was becoming warmer at the same time in the 1800s the abundance of fish began declining, the team found. The lake's algae — fish food — also started decreasing at that time.   However, large-scale commercial fishing did not begin on Lake Tanganyika until the 1950s.   The new finding helps illuminate why the lake's fisheries are foundering,
7/28/2016

William C. Haneberg will become Kentucky’s 13th state geologist Sept. 1, 2016. An engineering geologist with a wide range of research, academic and applied experience, he will also serve as the director of the Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS), leading KGS into the future of its mission to investigate Kentucky’s energy, mineral and water resources, and geologic hazards. Haneberg will hold a parallel appointment as a research professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

 

Haneberg, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, has more than 25 years of experience as a university geology teacher, researcher and administrator in the office of the state geologist in New Mexico, and consultant. Since October 2011, he has worked in Houston for an American subsidiary of the

4/21/2016

By Whitney Hale

(April 21, 2016) – The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced that 12 of the university's students and alumni have been selected to receive government-funded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships. The fellowships award more than $100,000 to use toward research-based master's or doctoral degrees. In addition, four other UK students and alumni received honorable mention recognition from the NSF.

This year's selection of a dozen UK students and alumni for NSF Graduate Research Fellowships is believed to be the largest in the school's history and is four times the number of selections for 2015. To put more of emphasis on the fellowship, 

3/9/2016

By Ashley Cox

Frank R. Ettensohn, Jefferson Science Fellow, College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor, and professor of geology in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Kentucky, was one of the eight geologists and nine geographers recently elected as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow. The prestigious honor recognizes Ettensohn for his extraordinary achievements, dedication and commitment to science.

AAAS was founded in 1848, with the mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, career development, international programs, science

2/22/2016

By Alicia Gregory

Video by REVEAL Research Media

(Feb. 22, 2016) — Recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty is an integral part of the mission of the University of Kentucky’s Research Challenge Trust Fund, and each year the university highlights four outstanding endowed chairs and professors. This year’s annual report, approved by the UK Board of Trustees Feb. 19, featured Dave Moecher, Earth and Environmental Sciences Alumni Professor.

Moecher is chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the UK College of Arts and Sciences. “I work on the history and evolution of the earth’s crust: where it came from, how it

2/22/2016

By Mike Lynch

(Feb. 22, 2016) — On a sunny February afternoon, landslide researcher Matt Crawford brushes snow off the solar panels that charge batteries for a landslide monitoring site in the Daniel Boone National Forest. He connects his laptop to a data-logger below the solar panel to download information gathered by instruments since his last visit a month ago. This site on a wooded slope in Pulaski County has turned out to be a good one for the research by Crawford, who works at the Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) on the University of Kentucky campus. 

“It’s adjacent to a known landslide that has caused damage to several homes,” he said. “It’s accessible from the Forest Service road, and it’s not too steep. We can walk around the site and get work done.”

The monitoring site, on a slope above Lake Cumberland, is representative of the area’s terrain and shaly

2/17/2016

By Dave Melanson

(Dec. 16, 2015) — When Jim Hower published papers in the late 1990s and early 2000s about rare earth concentrations at Kentucky coal mines, it was almost as a novelty. Hower, a petrologist at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER), thought discovering a high concentration of rare earth elements in coal seams in southern and eastern Kentucky was interesting, no doubt, but he didn't think it would amount to much in terms of research and development.

And then Steve Jobs invented

2/17/2016

By Carl Nathe

(Feb. 17, 2016) — The University of Kentucky chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi will celebrate its seventh birthday in April. Since receiving its official charter, the chapter has seen nine individuals from UK earn scholarship and fellowship awards from the national office, which each year distributes more than $500,000 to outstanding students, Phi Kappa Phi members and chapters.

"The UK Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi (PKP) is pleased to again announce a series of grants available through the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society," said Frank Ettensohn, professor of earth and environmental sciences and Jefferson

2/8/2016

By Whitney Harder

(Feb. 8, 2016) — A new partnership between the University of Kentucky Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) in the College of Arts and SciencesUK College of Education and STEAM Academy will prepare a diverse population of high school students for careers in geosciences. The program is being funded by a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and is expected to begin fall 2016.

"Many high school students don't realize they can make a living studying rocks, and that it's not just rocks — we study water resources, energy, natural hazards, environmental issues and even focus on community planning," said 

9/14/2015

By Bryant Welbourne

(Sept. 14, 2015) — Twenty-eight students representing each Southeastern Conference university will study abroad during the 2015-16 academic year, the result of a contribution to the league by Dr Pepper. The longtime SEC corporate sponsor allocated $100,000 to the conference to provide study abroad opportunities for high achieving SEC students with demonstrated financial need who represent nontraditional study abroad participants.

 Two students from each university are recipients. From the University of Kentucky, Adam Creamer, an environmental science major, will travel to Costa Rica, and Rockia Harris, a gender and women's studies

8/27/2015

Kent Ratajeski, a geologist and professor of earth and environmental science at the University of Kentucky, was mentioned in an article on earthmagazine.com. Alongside another geologist, Ratajeski created the map, “The United States According to Geologists.” To view the full story, visit http://www.earthmagazine.org/article/hazardous-living-maps-according-geologists

8/26/2015

By Carl Nathe

(Aug. 26, 2015) — "For a chapter which did not even exist six-and-a-half years ago, we're doing pretty well."

That quote about the University of Kentucky Phi Kappa Phi (PKP) Chapter from chapter President  Frank Ettensohn, professor of earth and environmental sciences and Jefferson Science Fellow, is best described as an understatement. Chartered in April 2009, the UK chapter of the nation's oldest, largest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines is doing more than 'pretty well.'

In its brief history, UK's PKP chapter has been selected as a 'Chapter of Excellence' by national headquarters in two separate years and has been named a '

7/7/2015

By Sarah Schuetze

“It’s too far away,” agree Madison Hood and Jim Hower when the question arises about Hood’s plans to pursue a Ph.D.. After all, Hood just graduated from high school.

And yet the question is not that abstract considering Hood is sometimes mistaken for a graduate student because of her contributions to the research directed by Professor Jim Hower of UK’s Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Hood has been working in Hower’s lab at UK for close to two years, studying samples of fly ash from coal power plants and coal fire

6/8/2015

By Mike Lynch

(June 8, 2015) — The Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) at the University of Kentucky is working to install two new networks across the state to gather important data on low-level seismicity and the state’s groundwater levels.

KGS Geologic Hazards Section staff have installed the first two of at least 15 highly sensitive seismic stations in eastern Kentucky. Both of these new stations, one in Boyd County and one in Lawrence County, were installed on private property in relatively remote and quiet locations. These new instruments, along with others in the network, will help monitor the background level of natural earthquakes too small for current instruments in the existing KGS seismic network to detect. Seismologist Seth Carpenter, who leads the project, says he hopes to determine if current oil and gas

5/29/2015

by Rebecca Freeman Director of Undergraduate Studies, EES

As competition for graduate school admission increases, we have come to realize that it is increasingly important for our top undergraduates in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences to have research experience before they graduate. With the generous (and we hope, ongoing) support of our alumni we have recently awarded the first round of the “Alumni Undergraduate Research Fellowships.” We hope to be able to award at least one or two every semester and summer session.

Even before the launch of this new internally-funded program, our undergraduates have been busy in the lab and in the field.

Sean Bemis’ NSF-funded research group has incorporated undergraduate researchers every

5/13/2015

By Sarah Schuetze

They conduct lab research and teach classes, but they are neither faculty nor graduate students. Postdoctoral scholars, or postdocs, serve an important role at UK, a research institution. However, they are scattered across various departments and have not always had an opportunity to meet and share their work.

Professor Susan Odom in Chemistry said, “Most postdocs don’t have any kind of formal gatherings that are specifically targeted toward them.“ In 2014, Odom collaborated with Matt Casselman, a postdoc in Chemistry, to organize UK’s Society of Postdoctoral Scholars (SOPS). SOPS offers weekly activities like professional development workshops or research presentations.  

On Friday, June

5/12/2015

By Whitney Harder

(May 11, 2015) — Dave Moecher, professor and chair of the University of Kentucky Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, has been named the Earth and Environmental Sciences Endowed Alumni Professor.

The Earth and Environmental Sciences Endowed Alumni Professorship is awarded to a tenured full professor who has made outstanding contributions to research and education in the field of earth and environmental sciences. The establishment of the professorship was driven completely by alumni; namely Ken Neavel, William Foley, Steve Sullivan and Jim Pear.  

"It is a profound honor to be awarded the Earth and Environmental Sciences Alumni Professorship because I have a high regard for and appreciation of the geology alumni who

5/4/2015

By Whitney Harder

(May 4, 2015) — In the fall of 2014, a group of 235 incoming students became the first class of STEMCats at the University of Kentucky. This week, they are not only wrapping up their first year at UK, but also a semester of original research; an unusual experience for many college freshmen.

The STEMCats living learning program, sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and directed by UK Department of Biology Chair Vincent Cassone, was launched to increase retention of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors at UK.

A key component of the program is an authentic research experience for the freshmen, in addition to pre-fall "

3/19/2015

By Mike Lynch

(March 19, 2015) — As the anniversary of the most fatal landslide in the history of the continental United States approaches, we are reminded of the importance of evaluating geologic hazards and communicating that information to communities that may be at risk. The Oso landslide occurred March 22, 2014, wiping out a small community near Oso, Washington, and killing 43 people.

"This tragic event can be used to increase awareness, improve communication, and formulate better policy for people living in high hazard areas," said Matt Crawford of the Kentucky Geological Survey at the University of Kentucky

According to the U.S.

2/9/2015

By Whitney Harder 

(Feb. 9, 2015) — Since the Deepwater Horizon disaster, also referred to as the BP oil spill, occurred in 2010, scientists have been searching for millions of gallons of unaccounted oil — 11 to 30 percent of the oil estimated to have been spilled — in the Gulf of Mexico. Kevin Yeager, University of Kentucky professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, began his search that same year. After two major oceanographic cruises, and years of data collection and collaboration, Yeager and his research colleagues may have solved the mystery.

In a peer-reviewed manuscript co-authored by Yeager and others from the University of South Florida, Florida State University, University of Georgia and University of Southern

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