Post by Victor Unnone (Colgate '23).
Being able to do fieldwork is something that I always look forward to, as I get to travel to new places, be outside constantly, and refine and expand my hands-on skills. Our fieldwork consisted of traveling to Cocodrie, Louisiana and Dauphin Island, Alabama in order to sample sediments offshore on research vessels. We spent multiple days on the R/V Acadiana and the R/V E.O Wilson collecting sediment, rinsing it through sieves, and sorting through the live and dead bivalves to eventually ship these back to the lab at Colgate. On our days off, we were able to explore the areas where we stayed. Although these coastal towns were only a few hours apart, there are stark differences between them.
When we arrived in Cocodrie, one of the first things I noticed was the abundance of damaged infrastructure. Roads, buildings, and residential homes were in various states of disrepair, which was mainly due to Hurricane Ida. Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana in late August of 2021; 150 mph winds buffeted the coastline, tearing the roofs off of houses while the ocean flooded much of the area. Nearly a year later, many areas were still being repaired. Additionally, sea level rise has created a consistent problem with inundated roads in certain areas; at LUMCON, the parking lots would be covered with inches of water when the tide came in.
The swampy marshes of Louisiana were left behind when we traveled to Dauphin Island, Alabama’s white-sanded beach town. The island is small enough that you can see the water from both ends at our house. It absolutely blew my expectations of an Alabama beach, and staying at a waterfront property allowed us to observe the wildlife that inhabited the area. One of the few similarities to Cocodrie were the beach houses on stilts to protect against hurricanes and flooding. There was almost no sign of destruction, and things seemed much more relaxed. And yet, Dauphin Island has not escaped unscathed. The island has been hit by over a dozen hurricanes and tropical storms in the last few decades. For example, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab had its roof torn off by Hurricane Sally in September of 2020. Insurance companies refuse to insure many of the beachfront homes, making property ownership a gamble. Comparing the two made me think about the vulnerability of many of these populations along the coast, and our group talked about Elizabeth Rush’s book Rising, which addresses many of the problems of sea level rise, including the personal experiences of those directly exposed to it.
Are you a graduating senior (or recent grad) interested in how marine animals are responding to anthropogenic environmental change? Apply to work in the Paleobiology Lab at Colgate University and put the dead to work to better understand the effects of eutrophication and other environmental processes on the life histories of marine mollusks.
Applications are now being accepted for a paid 9-month research associate position. Position will start mid-May 2022, and is expected to involve offshore fieldwork in Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida, and data collection and analysis at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.
Review of applications will begin February 28, 2022 and will continue until the position is filled.
For more information & to apply: https://careers.colgate.edu/postings/3861
Contact Prof. Paul Harnik (email@example.com) with your questions.
Come learn more about our research! Luke Calderaro, Celia Meyer, and Jeri Stoller will be presenting posters on our research in the "Recent Advances in Paleontology" poster session on the morning of October 11. Paul will be giving a talk Tuesday in the "Paleoecology and Environmental Change" session. Details below.
Monday - Oct. 11 - "Recent Advances in Paleontology" poster session (9am-1pm, presenters at posters from 11am-1pm)
Poster 93-6 - Luke Calderaro - NUCULANA BODY SIZE CORRELATES WITH SPATIOTEMPORAL CHANGES IN PRIMARY PRODUCTIVITY IN THE NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO
Poster 93-7 - Celia Meyer - SPATIOTEMPORAL VARIATION IN NUCULA LIFE HISTORY IN THE NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO
Poster 93-4 - Jeri Stoller - GEOGRAPHIC VARIATION IN SHELL PRESERVATION ACROSS THE NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO
Tuesday - Oct. 12 - "Paleoecology and Environmental Change" oral session
2:50-3:05pm - Paul Harnik - FLUVIAL INFLUENCE ON TIME AVERAGING AND NUTRIENT LOADS ON THE CONTINENTAL SHELF, NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO
Celia, Jeri, Luke, and Ryan will be starting research in the Paleo Lab this week! Introductions in alphabetical order (by first name):
My name is Celia Meyer. I am an incoming senior Environmental Geology major at Colgate University. In my free time, I like to hike and canoe in the Adirondacks. I also enjoy completing New York Times crosswords with my family in Philadelphia.
My name is Jeri Stoller. I am double-majoring in Environmental Geology and English with a Creative Writing Emphasis and will graduate in 2022. In addition, I am a figure skater and a staff member for Colgate Outdoor Education.
My name is Luke Calderaro and I will be graduating with the class of 2022. I am pursuing degrees in both geology and molecular biology. When I am not studying or reading for pleasure, I am performing live concerts that nobody ever seems to ask for.
My name is Ryan Ewanow. I am a Biology major in the class of 2023. In my free time I enjoy staying active primarily through recreational sports, and at Colgate I am a member of the men's ultimate frisbee team.