GSA, SEPM, and AAPG Student Funding Opportunities

1. GSA Student Research

GSA Research Grants – Geological Society of America
Graduate Student Research Grants. 2016 Research Grants Application Form.

2. SEPM Student Research

Students – SEPM
To apply for a Student Grant only a single application is required to be considered for any or all applicable SEPM research funds.

3. AAPG Grant – in – Aid

AAPG Foundation Grants-In-Aid Program –

Dr. Michael Hren receives award from American Chemical Society’s Petroleum Research Fund

Profile_hren.jpgMichael Hren was awarded $110,000 from the American Chemical Society – Petroleum Research Fund for a proposal entitled “Evaluating the Preservation Potential of Buried Organic Carbon: A Laboratory and Field Study of the Impact of Burial Diagenesis on Stable Isotopic and Organic Molecular Records”. The proposed research will focus on understanding how the distribution and stable isotopic composition of organic molecular biomarkers change during the process of burial diagenesis and has direct implications for petroleum research and paleoclimate reconstructions.



Patrick Getty received coverage in Science News for presentation at GSA

PatrickGettyCongrats to Patrick Getty for the article written in Science News about his presentation “Ancient larvae built predator-thwarting mazes” that was given at the recent GSA Conference in Baltimore, MD!

Here’s an excerpt from the article: “Branching tunnels called Treptichnus embedded inside ancient rocks are among the oldest and most widespread preserved structures built by ancient animals, first appearing about 541 million years ago. The mazelike layout of these subterranean passageways was meant to frustrate unwanted intruders, paleontologist Patrick Getty of the University of Connecticut in Storrs proposed November 1 at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting.”



Student Trips and Events

Geoscience Alumni Career Panel

The UConn Foundation is holding an alumni career panel focused on Geosciences and Geography.

Date: Tuesday, October 20th

Time: 7:00-8:30PM

Location: Laurel Hall 301


Day Trip: Brooklyn Botanic Garden & Brooklyn Museum, NYC

Saturday October 10, Departing from Storrs and Cromwell

Advance registration required: Bus Fee UConn Student Special: $35

Email Dave Colbert to register


Beautiful in the fall, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden represents the very best in urban gardening and horticultural display, with over 10,000 taxa of plants within its 52 acres. Adjacent to the Botanic Garden you will find the Brooklyn Museum, one of the oldest and largest art museums in the country. Its world-renowned permanent collections range from ancient Egyptian masterpieces to contemporary art, and represent a wide range of cultures from across the globe.

The bus will leave Storrs at 8 am and make a second pick-up in Cromwell at 8:45 am. The bus will depart Brooklyn at 5 pm. Please arrive and be prepared to board the bus prior to departure times. Admission to the Museum and Botanic Garden are not included and should be paid at the door. Both offer a discounted “Art and Garden Ticket” to visit both venues. For admission packages, visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden website at and the Brooklyn Museum website at

Congrats to Sarah Vitale for 1st Place in the 3 Minute Thesis Contest

SVitale WebsitePhD student Sarah Vitale came in 1st place in the Three Minute Thesis contest sponsored by the graduate school on Tuesday, September 29th.  The competition involves PhD students standing on stage and explaining their dissertation work in just three minutes.  There was a lot of competition, but Sarah was able to come out on top and will go on to compete internationally among students from the U-21 member universities.  She won a $1000 travel award, a free lunch for her lab group and a trophy.  Congratulations Sarah!

Thorson’s Walden’s Shore receives rave reviews!

waldens-short-197x300Walden’s Shore: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth-Century Science

by Robert M. Thorson
Harvard University Press, 2015

There’s a fine line geology professor Robert Thorson walks in his utterly fascinating book Walden’s Shore, now out in a somber paperback (it has, contain yourself now, the picture of a rock on the cover), and he actually quotes the legendary E. O. Wilson on the tectonic plates sitting on either side of that fine line: “The love of complexity without reductionism makes art,” Wilson writes in Consilience, “The love of complexity with reductionism makes science.” Read full review here:

New England Keck Project concludes at UConn

  • Keck Connecticut project leaders

UConn Professors Will Ouimet and Michael Hren, several UConn graduate students, and six students from other institutions around New England, spent the last month on UConn’s campus and out in the field investigating Holocene and Anthropocene sediments and landforms to understand the regional history of floods, climate change and human impact, as part of the New England Keck Project, funded from an NSF Grant received by Ouimet and Hren.

The primary goal of the New England Keck project was to provide a unique and innovative research experience that integrated the diverse expertise of the project leaders to develop sedimentary and geochemical records of climate, landscape change, and human impact using field measurements and collected cores/samples. Use of UConn’s facilities allowed students to participate and actively engage with thriving research communities and be involved in a mix of field and laboratory research.   Students were housed at UConn, and made day and overnight trips throughout Connecticut and other parts of the New England region.

Some of the broad research questions that were investigated include:

  • What is the record of Holocene floods in southern New England, providing a Holocene context for events such as Hurricane Irene in 2011?
  • How do records of Holocene climate change vary across the region?
  • Is there a record of frequent fire in northeastern forests over the Holocene?
  • What is the erosional and depositional legacy of historic land use and sediment mobilization?
  • How does landscape response to widespread deforestation in de-glaciated regions such as southern New England compare to well-studied examples in un-glaciated landscapes in the mid-Atlantic US?
  • What is the role of slope and surface geology in affecting land use and degree of landscape response?
  • What is the legacy of historic land use on soil morphology, carbon storage and geochemistry in now reforested terrain?

They answered these questions by employing the following GIS, field and laboratory methods:

  • LiDAR based mapping, spatial analysis, field calibration and site selection
  • Field mapping of landforms, and surveying
  • Collection of sediment cores in wetlands, kettle ponds adjacent to river courses, and mill dams
  • Trenching, soils description and collection of soil samples
  • Sedimentological analysis of all sediment samples (grain size analysis, LOI)
  • Organic geochemistry of select sediment cores (C and H isotopes of plant waxes in soils and sediments; C/N isotopes in organic matter; H isotopes; Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – PAHs)
  • Tree surveying (for biomass calculations) and tree coring (dendrochronology and tree ring isotope analysis)
  • ICP analysis of major and trace cations and metals (e.g., Hg) in sediments
  • Sample collection and prep associated with 137Cs, 210Pb and 14C dating

More information about this project can be found here.

Professor Tim Byrne receives award at FACET Conference in Taiwan.


UConn Professor Tim Byrne shakes hands with Minister of Science and Technology’s Dr. Jyuo-min Shyu, as Professor Byrne accepts an award of honor for organizing the FACET 2015 Conference that was held on May 28th through June 2nd in Taipei, Taiwan.  The FACET (Feedbacks and Coupling Among Climate, Erosion, and Tectonics) Conference was attended by over 200 Taiwan and American scientists and included 3 days of meetings in Taipei and 2 days of field trips.  Over 40 North American scientists received support through an NSF Grant awarded to Byrne and Dr. Crespi that supported travel to the meeting, housing, meals, and field trip expenses.  The Conference was a great success!

Read more about the FACET Conference.