AGI Announces First Recipients of DCO Diversity Awards

DCO recently partnered with the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) to engage and actively recruit geoscientists from traditionally underrepresented groups in the United States.

Earlier this year, AGI put out a call for eligible geoscientists to apply for grants to facilitate a variety of activities and become more engaged with DCO. These grants will fund travel to national and international conferences, DCO-related workshops, conferences and events, lab or fieldwork to advance DCO-aligned research, or instrumentation time at DCO-affiliated facilities. 

“I’m excited to connect my networks with the DCO community to bolster participation of traditionally underrepresented groups in the U.S. conducting deep carbon science,” said Heather Houlton, Workforce Development, Education and Outreach Specialist at AGI. “I’m looking forward to seeing the wonderful collaborations and research that will result from this effort.”

The inaugural recipients of these awards are:

Celina Suarez, Assistant Professor, University of Arkansas

“My research aims to characterize the occurrence of large scale fluxes of carbon into the atmosphere by identifying the hallmark of rift eruptions, a large negative carbon isotope excursion in the rock and fossil record and associating it with the occurrence of extinction on land. This study to some extent is an experiment that tests what can happen given large-scale carbon flux into the atmosphere.”

Marina Suarez, Assistant Professor, University of Texas San Antonio

“The deep carbon reservoir is linked to Earth's surface through volcanic activity which has varied in the past. In the Cretaceous Period, high volcanic activity was linked to global warmth. I'm interested in how this affected the continental environments. The continental record is important because it is intimately tied to the Earth system as a source for nutrient input to the oceans.”

More about Marina’s research.

Jeremy Williams, Assistant Professor, Kent State University

“My research focuses on reconstructing the paleo-environment of black shale areas through geochemical proxies, to better understand the mechanisms needed to create hydrocarbon resources. By reconstructing these environments we will better understand the source of hydrocarbon resources that may lead to better practices in exploiting this natural resource.”

Yadira Ibarra, Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University

“I study mineral springs in the coastal western United States.  These springs, which are primarily made of limestone, can help us learn more about changes in climate and water over the past tens of thousands of years. Active springs are especially interesting as they serve as natural laboratories to investigate how living things, such as plants and microorganisms, interact with the rock.”

John Paul Balmonte, PhD Candidate, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

“I investigate the carbon processing capabilities and community composition/diversity of surface and subsurface water and benthic microbes using geochemical and genomic approaches. This information will help us understand how the climate-induced acceleration in glacial melting and subsequent increase in carbon export could change the structure and function of microbial communities in fjords.”

Follow John Paul on Twitter @jpbacteria.

Matthew Medina, PhD Candidate, University of Michigan

“I study microbial communities that live in The Middle Island Sinkhole (MIS) of Lake Huron. The MIS hosts microbial mats that thrive under low-oxygen, sulfidic conditions and thus represent a modern analogue of Precambrian microbial mats ecosystems. I’m interested the biogeochemistry of the MIS and the metabolisms of sulfate reducing bacteria found both in microbial mats and sediment.”

The application window is currently open for the next round of DCO Diversity Grants through AGI. Interested applicants should visit this page for more information. Application deadline: 6 June 2016


Further reading
Enhancing Deep Carbon Science: Integrating Diverse Perspectives into Our Community

All photos courtesy of AGI. 

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