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Teaching, Research & Service

Welcome to the gateway to your future, where teaching, research, and service are our top priority. Here you will find people that care about giving you a well-rounded geoscience education that will set you up for whatever you choose to do in the future.

Mission Statement: The Department of Geological Sciences is committed to providing strong educational and research programs that benefit students, the science, society, and the state of Alabama. Our mission is to:

  • Maintain quality educational programs that provide basic geologic instruction to non-majors.
  • Maintain quality undergraduate programs that prepare students for graduate education or careers in the geological sciences.
  • Maintain a quality graduate program that provides M.S. and Ph.D. students with the skills necessary to carry out independent research and obtain employment in a specialized area of the geological sciences.
  • Develop and maintain research programs that contribute new knowledge to the geological sciences. Provide service to the scientific community and the public. Assist in the sound and sustainable economic development of the region, state, and nation.

Post-doctoral position in Geochemistry Instrumentation

Applicants are invited for a two year postdoctoral position, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and The University of Alabama, under the supervision of Dr. Alberto Pérez-Huerta in the Department of Geological Sciences. The successful candidate will be involved in the development of atom probe tomography (APT) for applications in Earth Sciences, in collaboration with the UA Central Analytical Facilities (CAF) where specific instrumentation training will be provided. The candidate will also help the PI in the organization of logistics for the research and managing activities in the Biomineralization/Paleobiology lab. Minimum qualifications: 1) Ph.D. in Geosciences, Material Sciences, Physics or a related scientific field; 2) Previous research with focus in geochemistry and/or instrumentation development, with preference for experience in focused ion beam (FIB) microscopy and/or atom probe tomography (APT); 3) strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work as part of a team. Details regarding existing research programs, equipment and facilities, and departmental/laboratory activities can be found at www.geo.ua.edu and www.caf.ua.edu. Questions should be directed to Dr. Alberto Pérez-Huerta (aphuerta@as.ua.edu). Applicants should go to http://facultyjobs.ua.edu/ (specific job requisition # is 0808218 – “FY 14 – Postdoc Pool, Geological Sciences”) to electronically apply for this position. When submitting an application, candidates must provide a cover letter, CV, a statement of research interests including background and experience, and contact information for at least two referees.  In addition, a copy of the application materials also has to be sent to aphuerta@as.ua.edu.  Applications will be reviewed beginning May 15, 2014, and the expected starting date for the position is August 16, 2014. The University of Alabama is an Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer and Actively Seeks Diversity in its Employees.

Oil and Gas Conference Announced

 

The Center for Sedimentary Basin Studies at The University of Alabama and the Geological Survey of Alabama announce a joint research conference, to be held on the UA campus April 29, 2014.

The conference, titled “Critical Factors for Future Oil and Gas Development in Alabama: Resources Availability and Accessibility, Application of Existing and New Technologies, Environmentally Responsive Methodologies, and Economic Feasibility,” will be held in room 1000 of the Bevill Building.

Scheduled speakers include Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, UA Provost Joe Benson, and Dr. Ernest Mancini, founder of the CSBS and a professor emeritus of the UA Department of Geological Sciences.

The program includes presentations by state government officials on their position and perspective of oil and gas development and its economic benefits to Alabama, and discussion of potential university-state-industry research cooperative efforts to achieve environmentally responsive oil and gas development.

Attendance is free of charge, though registration is limited to 75 participants. The registration deadline is April 14, 2014.

Read more about the oil and gas conference. Review the conference program. Register for the conference.

Lindahl Ph.D. and M.S. Scholarships

The University of Alabama Department of Geological Sciences (DGS) seeks highly qualified Ph.D. and M.S. students with specializations in topics that complement faculty research interests. Exceptional Ph.D. students will receive Research or Teaching Assistantships and a Lindahl Scholarship totaling $22,000 for a nine month appointment. The University of Alabama covers the cost of non-resident tuition and fee waivers, and health insurance. Funding is renewable for at least 4 years if expectations are met. The DGS also offers M.S. Research or Teaching Assistantships and a Lindahl Scholarship totaling $19,500 for a nine month appointment. The University of Alabama covers the cost of non-resident tuition and fee waivers, and health insurance. Funding is renewable for at least 2 years if expectations are met.

Details of additional financial support options, including the Graduate Council Fellowship and McNair Graduate Fellowship are listed at http://graduate.ua.edu/financial/index.html. Applicants will automatically be considered for these opportunities on applying to The University of Alabama’s Graduate School (http://graduate.ua.edu/). Applicants must contact potential advisors directly (see http://geo.ua.edu/faculty-staff/) to ensure that research interests are aligned. Review of applications for Fall 2014 admission will begin January 15, 2014.

Tenure-Track Faculty Position: Sedimentology/Stratigraphy

The Department of Geological Sciences at The University of Alabama invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position in sedimentology and stratigraphy, beginning August 2014. The position will be filled at the Assistant Professor level. Candidates must have a strong record of research and teaching, and must have received their Ph.D. in Geology, or a related field, at the time of appointment. The successful candidate will be expected to teach introductory geology courses and undergraduate and graduate courses in sedimentology and stratigraphy, attract and supervise graduate students, and establish a vigorous externally-funded research program in sedimentology and/or stratigraphy. The department has a broad range of geophysical, modeling, isotopic and geochemical research facilities available, in addition to University shared facilities at CAF (www.caf.ua.edu). Details regarding existing research programs, equipment and facilities, and departmental activities can be found at www.geo.ua.edu. Questions should be directed to Dr. Alberto Pérez-Huerta (aphuerta@as.ua.edu). Applicants should go to http://facultyjobs.ua.edu to electronically apply for this position. When submitting an application, candidates must provide a cover letter, CV, research and teaching statements, and a list with the contact information for at least three referees.  Applications will be reviewed beginning January 1, 2014, and will continue until the position is filled. The University of Alabama is an Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer and Actively Seeks Diversity in its Employees.

Tenure Track Position: Computational/Quantitative Hydrogeologist

The Department of Geological Sciences at The University of Alabama invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position in Hydrogeology, beginning August 2014. The position will be filled at the Assistant Professor level. Candidates must have a strong record of research and a Ph.D. in hydrogeology or a closely related field, preferably with specialization in computational and numerical approaches, by the time of appointment. The successful candidate will be expected to establish a strong, externally-funded research program and to attract high-quality Ph.D. and M.S. graduate students. The successful candidate also will be expected to teach introductory geology courses and undergraduate and graduate courses in groundwater modeling and quantitative hydrogeology, advise graduate students, and contribute to the Department’s research program in hydrogeology and environmental geology. Opportunities for research collaboration also exist with the Geological Survey of Alabama, the newly established NOAA National Water Center, and the Center for Freshwater Studies, all located on The University of Alabama campus. The Department has a broad range of resources and existing facilities, including modeling and computational resources, field and laboratory equipment, and chemical and stable isotope analytical facilities. Details regarding existing department research programs, equipment, and facilities can be found at: www.geo.ua.edu. Questions should be directed to Dr. Geoff Tick (gtick@ua.edu), Chair of the Hydrogeology Search Committee. Applicants should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, research statement, teaching statement, and names and contact information for at least three referees through the UA Jobs Website at facultyjobs.ua.edu. Review of applications will begin December 2, 2013, and will continue until the position is filled. The University of Alabama is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and actively seeks diversity in its employees.

Students and Faculty in the News

January, 2014……….. Josh Vanlandingham, an undergraduate student at DGS was selected to receive the Second Place Gordon I. Atwater Award for his poster, “Unraveling Gulf Coast paleo-rainfall variability using climate proxies archived in Alabama stalagmites,” presented at the 2013 Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies (GCAGS) Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. This is based on undergraduate research he is conducting with Drs. Aharon and Lambert.

 

December, 2013……….. Dr. Samantha Hansen was among the 102 researchers receiving the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. This is the first time that UA scientist receives this highly prestigious award.

http://uanews.ua.edu/2014/01/obama-honors-outstanding-young-scientists-including-ua-researcher/

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/12/23/president-obama-honors-outstanding-early-career-scientists

Dr. Hansen was acknowledged for  her  CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation. She attempts to better understand how the mountain range formed some 55 million years ago across Antarctica using the signals collected by a network of seismographs in the area.

 

December, 2013……….. Dr. Ernest A. Mancini, internationally renowned educator and a leading researcher in stratigraphy and petroleum geology of the Gulf of Mexico, both onshore and offshore, has been named the 2014 recipient of the Sidney Powers Memorial Award – AAPGʼs highest honor. Mancini is a distinguished research professor of petroleum geology and stratigraphy at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.

http://www.aapg.org/explorer/2013/12dec/honorsawards1213.cfm

Joining Mancini at the top of this yearʼs AAPG awardees list is past AAPG president Peter R. Rose, retired founder and president of Rose & Associates, Austin, Texas, who has been named recipient of the Michel T. Halbouty Outstanding Leadership Award.

Mancini and Rose lead the list, but they are just two of the 47 award winners who have been announced by AAPG and who will be recognized at the opening session of the 2014 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, set April 6-9 in Houston. AAPG awards, approved by the Executive Committee, are presented annually to recognize individuals for service to the profession, the science, the Association and the public.

Mancini, when he receives his award in Houston, will become the 67th Powers medalist in AAPG history, first awarded in 1945 to legendary geologist Wallace E. Pratt.

The Powers Award is given annually in recognition of distinguished and outstanding contributions to, or achievements in petroleum geology.

October, 2013……….. Dr. Chunmiao Zheng, George Lindahl III Endowed Professor in Hydrogeology and Water Resources at the Department of Geological Sciences, UA was awarded the highly prestigious O.E. Meinzer Award 2013 in Hydrogeology, given by the Geological Society of America. The O.E. Meinzer Award is presented annually to the author or authors of a published paper or body of papers of distinction that advanced the science of hydrogeology or some closely related field.

http://www.geosociety.org/awards/divisions.htm

The 2013 O.E. Meinzer Award is presented to Dr. Chunmiao Zheng for contributions to understanding and quantifying solute transport in groundwater. His landmark modeling code MT3DMS (Zheng, C., and P.P. Wang, 1999, Contract Report SERDP-99-1, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, MS, 169 pp.) is a boon to researchers and has fundamentally transformed the groundwater consulting industry by providing an open-access, user-friendly platform to construct reliable transport models. Moreover, the availability of MT3DMS motivated others to develop biochemical and geochemical reaction modules (e. g. RT3D, PHT3D) that link with MTDMS to simulate complex multi-species bio/geo- chemical reactions. Furthermore, MT3DMS has been adapted as a heat transport code and is the building block for SEAWAT, a USGS supported code for simulating density-dependent transport in groundwater.

Chunmiao is also recognized for his textbook Applied Contaminant Transport Modeling, first published in 1995 and now in a 2nd edition (Zheng, C., and G.D. Bennett, 2002, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 621 pp.). This popular textbook provides comprehensive treatment of the fundamentals of transport modeling and is extremely well written, presenting material with exceptional clarity and at a level accessible to both students and experienced practitioners.

 

October, 2013……….. The Tuscaloosa News has approached Dr. Samantha Hansen to interview her about her awarded CAREER grant and the consequences of the last two-week government shutdown on her planned research fieldwork during the Antarctic Polar Summer 2013.

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20131018/NEWS/131019710?tc=cr

Dr. Hansen’s project has been identified as one of the top priority research activities to be re-started as the new budget is approved.

September, 2013……….. Congratulations to two of our Hydrogeology MS students, John Ellis and Nathan Coburn who won respectively the 1st place for student oral presentation,”Groundwater contribution to coastal nutrient loading along the Gulf Shores of Alabama: groundwater modeling constrained by Rn-222 tracer data“, and the 2nd place for student poster presentation, “Using electrical resistivity tomography to validate and calibrate seawater intrusion models along the Alabama Gulf coast“, competitions at the 27th Annual Alabama Water Resources Conference held 4-6 September, 2013, Perdido Beach Resort (http://auei.auburn.edu/conference/). Good job guys!

April, 2013 – Hillary Sletten ……….. PhD student Hillary Sletten was recently awarded a Smithsonian Institute Graduate Fellowship to conduct her dissertation fieldwork in Fall 2013 in Panama at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). During her 10-week stay, Sletten will collect coralline algae from Panama’s Pacific gulfs to test if their elemental content can be used as an indicator for ocean acidification. With the aid of Hector Guzman, staff scientist at the STRI, Sletten will setup in-situ monitoring and laboratory aquaria experiments to observe how coralline algae will respond to acidified ocean conditions. For more information about Smithsonian Institute fellowship opportunities please visit: http://www.si.edu/ofg/.

April 9, 2013 – Yuehan Lu ……….. One of the most recent Dr. Yuehan Lu’s publications “Lu et al., Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, doi: doi:10.1002/jgrg.20048, 2013″ was selected by AGU journal editors to be included in AGU journal highlights and appear on EOS. The study shows that agricultural and urban organic runoff may break down slower than forest runoff, potentially contribution to an observed long-term increase in river organic compound concentrations in Europe and North America and decreasing water quality in downstream environments. (read more)

February 1, 2013 – Lance Wilson ……….. Gradaute student in Geology, wins the University of Alabama Outstanding Thesis Award for his work intitled, “The Origin and Development of the Tampa Embayment: Implications for the Tectonic Evolution of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.”  (read more)

August 25, 2012 – Dr. Ryan Ewing ………. Ewing, now an assistant professor in the University of Alabama’s Department of Geological Sciences, is collaborating with a University of Texas researcher who is a participating scientist with the Mars mission. The team will analyze rock outcrops, the part of a rock formation that appears above the surface, and assess whether the rocks are derived from wind-blown sediments. (read more)

July 5, 2012 – Dr. Samantha Hansen ………. was awarded a $715,000 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation to study a new approach to investigating the seismic velocity structure beneath Antarctica. These awards are NSF’s most prestigious recognition of top-performing young scientists beginning their careers. (read more)

July 11, 2011 – Dr. Paul Aharon, Dr. Joe Lambert, and Hillary Sletten ………. a group of UA scientists spent July 8th – August 5th on the island Niue (pronounced new-ay). (read more)

February 3, 2011 – Jonathan Stone ………. On weekends, University of Alabama graduate student Jonathan Stone is the lead guitarist for the rock band Lunar Rain, but Monday through Friday he can be found in a lab conducting scientific research that has the potential to one day save lives. Stone’s work at UA is focused on predicting the timing and scale of a volcanic eruption. (read more)

July 23, 2010 – Dr. Andrew Goodliffe …………”€œThis is an unparalleled opportunity to get a really high-resolution image of exactly what’s going on beneath our feet,”€ said Andrew Goodliffe, a geology professor at the University of Alabama. “€œIt’s going to be a massive leap forward in our knowledge of the geological history of Alabama.” (read more)

April 15, 2010 – Dr. Fred Andrus ………… “Shells from mollusks presented to the dead during ancient funeral ceremonies are keys to helping a University of Alabama geologist gauge ocean movements near the Peruvian coast from as much as 13,000 years ago.” (read more)