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News and Outreach Events 2017

February
David Polly
Merging paleobiology with conservation biology to guide the future of terrestrial ecosystems

Quoting the IU Newsroom: Scientists and policymakers should draw on experience from the distant past to develop a new paradigm for protecting ecosystems at a time of accelerating global change, an Indiana University paleontologist and co-authors write in a paper published today.

The article in the journal Science calls for merging conservation biology with evidence from paleobiology -- the study of the fossil record of the history of life -- and the Earth sciences. P. David Polly, professor of geological sciences in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences, is one of the authors.

The authors say factors such as climate change, resource overconsumption and pollution are reaching a point where it is no longer realistic to focus only on protecting ecosystems from change. Instead, they argue, we need an approach that conserves the ability of ecosystems to adapt to changing conditions.

"It’s a way of working with ecosystems that we know we’re going to lose," Polly said. "Instead of trying to maintain them in past optimal states, we would try to maintain productivity in the face of change." IU Newsroom article | Science publication

 

tls
IUGFS Short Course, "Using TLS and Structure from Motion (SfM) Photogrammetry in Undergraduate Field Education " in EOS

With funding from a supplement to the GAGE Facility (EAR-1261833) and the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education collaborative project to UNAVCO, Indiana University, and Idaho State University (EHR-1612248), this short course focused on terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) and structure from motion (SfM) photogrammetry. The publication in EOS explains both the goals of the course and presents some compelling 3-D imagery in an animation. Explore this story.

 

John Hayes
In Memory: Dr. John Michael Hayes

Dr. John Michael Hayes
Born: September 6, 1940
Died: February 3, 2017

John Michael Hayes passed away at his home in Berkeley, California, on February 3, 2017, of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Hayes was a geochemist, receiving a B.S. from Iowa State University in 1962 and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1966. He was a professor at Indiana University for 26 years, then in 1996 became director of the National Ocean Sciences Accelerator Mass Spectrometry facility at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and also served as a professor at Harvard University. He has lived in Berkeley since 2007.

Born in Seattle, Washington, John Hayes grew up in Montana and Iowa, attending 13 schools before graduating from high school in Perry, Iowa, as his family moved regularly for his father’s job with the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. In 1962, he married Janice Maria (Boeke) Hayes of Hubbard, Iowa, whom he met at Iowa State University. They celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary before her death in 2013. He is survived by his children James T. Hayes of Honolulu, Hawaii, Anne Hayes Hartman of Oakland, California, and Rachel M. Hayes of Nashville, Tennessee, and by his grandchildren Diego Enriquez, Johanna Hartman, Sarah Hartman, and Rylan Hayes. His children and grandchildren were all with him on the day he died.

As a scientist, Hayes’ work on organic isotopes and reconstruction of ancient conditions provided evidence of the development of the carbon cycle over geologic time, the timing of evolutionary events such as the development of photosynthesis, and the development of the global environment. He performed field work around the globe, including on the R/V Atlantis and in the submersible Alvin, and in Western Australia, South Africa, and the Canadian Arctic. He was a member of the American Geophysical Union, the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, and the European Association of Organic Geochemists. He authored two textbooks, four book chapters, and nearly 200 papers, and mentored students and assisted colleagues in countless ways. Hayes was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1998, and a Foreign Member of the Royal Society in 2016. Hayes served as a Captain in the United States Army from 1967-1968, detailed to the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

John and Janice Hayes were enthusiastic travelers throughout their lives, always willing to detour for, or plan a trip around, good restaurants and fine wine. He was an experienced photographer, a flutist and lover of classical music, and a baker who made six loaves of bread nearly every weekend his children were growing up. In Berkeley, he was a member of the Epworth United Methodist Church and the Berkeley Camera Club. He had an unpretentious approach to life in and out of the laboratory; “look for the good in people” was his bedrock philosophy. As he rejoins the carbon cycle, he would like to remind us all to take action to combat global climate change.

January
Bloomington Herald Times: IU geology department plans new name, new offerings

By Michael Reschke | 812-331-4370 | mreschke@heraldt.com

The Department of Geological Sciences at Indiana University is in the process of changing its name to the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. If approved, the name change will coincide with a curriculum change in time for the fall 2017 semester. The changes are an attempt to better reflect the breadth of courses offered in the department, as well as the career opportunities available after graduation.

"The trend on campus is well known," said Kaj Johnson, the department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies. "At professional schools like Kelley and SPEA, enrollment is going up, and at the College, enrollment is going down."

For nearly a decade, units within IU, such as the Kelley School of Business and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, have seen their share of undergraduate student credit hours increase, while units such as the College of Arts and Sciences have seen their share decrease. The university looks at shares of undergraduate student credit hours to help determine budgets for each unit. IU-Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel has called the shift an echo of the Great Recession. Since the economic downturn, students have gravitated to majors that offer a more defined career path.

Johnson said the proposed departmental changes are a response to that, as well as to another trend. "There has been a decade-long trend toward broadening the scope of how people view traditional geology," he said. Geology has typically been associated with things such as mining, petroleum, rocks and minerals. Johnson said that’s part of what the department does, but it also includes things such as climate change, water resources and all of the Earth’s systems. Faculty members have been talking about a name change for some time, but the recent hiring of two new atmospheric scientists helped push things forward. The department voted to change its name at the beginning of the academic year. Larry Singell, executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, has approved the name change, Johnson said. It must now be approved by the Office of the Provost. If that happens, it will go before the IU Board of Trustees.

The curriculum change is under review by a committee for undergraduate education, but, if approved, it would create three new introductory courses. One would focus on Earth materials, which is similar to the mineral and petrology courses already being offered. Another would cover Earth’s processes, such as plate tectonics. The third would examine the history of Earth’s climate. Then, at the junior and senior level, students would have more options for pursuing specific areas of interest, a departure from the more rigid curriculum in place now. The goal is for the new introductory courses to give students a better idea of the type of science being done in the department and a better sense of career options. For example, students focused on atmospheric science could pursue a career in meteorology at a number of state agencies, or even television news stations. IU is not alone in this trend. Johnson estimated about half of the geology departments at universities in the U.S. have now incorporated the words Earth or earth science into their official names. He acknowledged there are some hard-liners in the field resistant to these changes, but said there is no internal battle at IU. "It’s a recognition of trends and where funding is now," he said. "It’s generally accepted that’s the way things are going."

Department To Change Its Name and Update Curriculum

Quoting the Indiana Daily Student: "In an effort to increase enrollment, the Department of Geological Sciences will alter its curriculum and change its name to the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences."

"The curriculum revision will increase the breadth of courses the department offers and develop a program that better reflects all Earth studies. The department is planning to change its name to emphasize its objective of teaching students all Earth sciences. This change will be representative of the curriculum revisions and the department’s overall objective."

Preparations are now underway for these changes, which hopefully will be approved and in effect sometime during the 2017-18 academic year. Read more

News and events from 2016 can be viewed here.