Technical Program

Technical Program

Abstract deadline: 24 January 2012

If you have a question about your abstract, please contact Nancy Wright, +1-303-357-1061, . Theme Sessions are listed below.


Dr. Michael Coates, Professor, Dept. of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, University of Chicago.
Mon., 23 April, 6–8 p.m. Open to all registrants and guests. Refreshments will be served.
Michael Coates’ research focuses on early vertebrate diversity and evolution, the reconstruction of evolutionary pattern and process, and the uses of fossils and systematic methods in evolutionary developmental biology. In particular, Dr. Coates and his lab are actively investigating the origin and early radiation of tetrapods, the origin of a tetrapod body plan, and the fin-to-limb evolutionary transition; primitive shark-like fishes and the early evolutionary radiation of jawed fishes (gnathostomes); and ray-finned fish evolution.

Abstract [open/close]

Fish Rising – revising our picture of early vertebrate evolution

Knowledge of the earliest tetrapods and their fish-like relatives has been transformed over the past few years by discoveries of remarkable new fossils and use of a battery of methods to explore evolutionary pattern and process. However, the same is not true for Paleozoic vertebrates in general. The big picture of early vertebrate evolution has lain in the doldrums, with little movement since Janvier’s groundbreaking work in the early to mid-1990s. Although superb new fossils have been discovered, some of which are now known in exquisite detail thanks to advanced imaging techniques, these have contributed little, thus far, to lifting the lid on one of the outstanding questions in vertebrate paleontology: the origin of jawed fishes.

Now, there are signs of change. Radical new ideas about the phylogenetic interrelationships of early fishes look set to transform our views of long-known fossil clades. Discoveries of more complete and earlier fossil members of modern groups are re-shaping ideas about the time-scale early vertebrate evolution. And the growth of the fossil dataset has made feasible the use of analytical methods developed for studies of invertebrate paleobiology, the results of which are delivering a new picture of turnover and change at the roots of the modern vertebrate biota.


1. Applications of Remote Sensing to the Geological and Environmental Sciences.
Doyle Watts , Wright State University; Umesh Haritashya, University of Dayton.
The science of remote sensing spans many applications in many disciplines related to the geological and environmental sciences. The resources available to the investigator are immense, with many federal and state agencies providing affordable, often free, imagery and data for downloading that can be analyzed with inexpensive or open-source software. We invite papers that describe applications of remote sensing to any problem within this broad range of disciplines that emphasize utilization of available resources. We particularly welcome studies relevant to the Great Lakes and Midcontinent region.
2. Mercury Biogeochemistry.
Chad R. Hammerschmidt, Wright State University; Gary Conley, Ohio University.
Atmospheric transport and deposition of mercury have contaminated Earth’s landscapes and aquatic systems on a global scale. The problem is exacerbated by continuing anthropogenic emissions, recycling of a large reservoir of historic mercury pollution, and the microbial transformation of inorganic mercury to methylmercury—a highly toxic, bioaccumulative compound that can biomagnify in aquatic food webs to levels that may be harmful to fish, wildlife, and humans. This session will include papers focused on the transport, transformation, bioaccumulation, and fate of mercury in fresh-water, terrestrial, atmospheric, and marine systems.
3. Special Poster Session on Undergraduate Research.
Cosponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research Geoscience Division.
Robert D. Shuster, University of Nebraska; Allen McGrew, University of Dayton.
These posters are authored and presented by undergraduate students detailing their research projects, activities, techniques, and/or preliminary results. Coauthored papers for which the student is senior author and presenter will be considered. Any geoscience field is acceptable.
5. Geoscience Student Engagement: Innovations in Labs, Activities, Field Trips, and In-Class Pedagogy for K–16 Classrooms.
Carrie L. Wright, University of Southern Indiana.
Our global society is rife with news and worries over climate change, increasing human populations vulnerable to geologic hazards, and environmental crises like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Geoscience education is more important than ever for the general population as well as the next generation of geoscientists. Geoscience educators are incredibly creative people, constantly coming up with intriguing new methods to teach earth-science concepts to kindergarten students through senior geology majors. This theme session will include some of these great new ideas for geology laboratory experiences, field trips, field courses, short activities, and demonstrations, as well as in-class methods for younger grades through college level courses. Speakers will present the lesson plans and ideas they have created and tested in their classrooms. The session will be organized based on grade level, and contact information (and/or websites) will be given for access to lesson plans.
8. Vertebrate Paleontology.
Jeremy L. Green, Kent State University at Tuscarawas.
This comprehensive, diverse session is aimed at exploring current research involving a range of topics in vertebrate paleontology, including systematics, paleoecology, diversity, extinction, biogeography, and physiology. Research involving extinct fish, amphibians, archosaurs, therapsids, and mammals will be included.
9. Bridging the Gap between the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event and Late Carboniferous Life: Conodonts, Climate Change, and Biodiversity Patterns.
Cosponsored by Pander Society and IGCP Projects 591 and 596.
Mark Kleffner, The Ohio State University; Jeff Bauer, Shawnee State University.
This session will include a wide variety of presentations that focus on Early Ordovician to Late Carboniferous faunas and floras, particularly related (but not restricted) to biodiversity patterns and climate change.
10. Navigating Ancient Midwestern Seas: The Geologic Record of Flooding and Emergence on a Large Paleozoic Platform.
Cosponsored by Great Lakes Section SEPM.
Don Mikulic, Illinois Geological Survey.
This session will focus on the sequence stratigraphy, depositional environments, and paleoecology of the Paleozoic rocks of the central region of North America, as well as related topics. These rocks document a long history of repeated emergence and shallow marine flooding on a broad platform, which greatly impacted the depositional and biotic character of this classic area’s geologic record.
11. Dimensions of Biodiversity: A Paleontological Perspective.
Alycia L Stigall, Ohio University; Daniel I. Hembree, Ohio University.
Understanding patterns of biodiversity and the processes that drive them is of particular importance in the modern world, where habitat destruction and invasive species threaten global diversity. Paleontology offers a tremendous wealth of information on ancient biodiversity patterns and the responses of organisms to environmental change that may inform on modern issues. In this session, we invite presentations on all aspects of ancient biodiversity, including paleoecological, paleobiogeographical, evolutionary, systematic, biostratigraphic, ichnologic, and taphonomic analyses.
13. New Frontiers in Planetary Geology.
Keith A. Milam, Ohio University; Tasha Dunn, Illinois State University.
A variety of researchers from planetary geology, meteoritics, impact cratering, spacecraft missions, and planetary science in general will present results of their exciting new research.
14. Applications, Quantification, and Modeling of Groundwater–Surface-Water Interactions.
Jonathan Levy, Miami University.
This session will highlight a wide range of issues associated with groundwater–surface-water interactions. We welcome presentations regarding the role that groundwater–surface-water interactions play across all temporal and spatial scales. These issues may include the effects on the hyporheic zone, sustaining and managing ecosystem habitats, assessing groundwater availability, riverbank filtration, and integrated modeling of groundwater and surface-water systems. Also welcome are applications of new methods to quantify the fluxes and processes of the exchange between groundwater and surface water.
15. Watersheds, Hydrogeology, and Environmental Site Investigation in the Midwest Basin and Arches Region.
E. Scott Bair, The Ohio State University; Robert W. Ritzi Jr., Wright State University.
We seek presentations on science and engineering as they are related to processes of fluid flow and mass and energy transport across a broad range of scales, from watersheds down to specific sites of environmental investigation. We encourage presentations of basic research as motivated by the desire to quantify and understand these processes, as well as applied research motivated by the desire to improve professional practice, management, regulation, and public policy.
16. Climate Change: Past, Present and Future.
Shuang-Ye Wu, University of Dayton.
This session will feature a wide range of studies exploring past and present climate change as well as studies projecting future climate change and its likely impacts on the natural environment and human societies.
18. Economic Development and State Geological Surveys.
Larry Wickstrom, Ohio Geological Survey.
State geological surveys originated largely to provide for the development of minerals and coal because miners knew the value of geologic maps and scientific information to aid them in their search and state legislatures sought economic development for their states. The mission has broadened over the years to include oil and gas, environmental concerns, engineering geology, and geologic hazards. However, the underlying need for accurate, unbiased geologic information to provide for economic development is the same. As a recent American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) committee paper reports: “State geological surveys are vitally important to the economy of each state and to the nation.” Unfortunately, in the current economic climate, the very existence of many state surveys is threatened by budget cuts. It is irony at its best when, during an economic downturn, we eliminate one of the few state agencies that provides a basis for economic development. This session will highlight the economic development roles of state surveys with examples and economic impact analyses.
19. Geothermal Resources of the Central United States—An Important Source of Renewable Energy.
Mike Angle, Ohio Division of Natural Resources Geologic Mapping & Industrial Minerals Section.
In 2010, The U.S. Dept. of Energy, through the Association of American State Geologists (AASG) began a multi-state project to assess the geothermal energy potential throughout the United States, with 47 of the state’s geological surveys participating. This session would welcome all aspects of research on geothermal energy, both shallow and deep, and will be a good venue for discussing the research and progress being made on the AASG project.
20. The Museum as Geological Muse: Outreach, Online Catalogs, Blogs, Student Internships, and More.
Joe Hannibal, Cleveland Museum of Natural History; Brenda Hunda, Cincinnati Museum Center.
This session will cover topics related to modern museum methods and to initiatives used to inspire the public, provide data to a broad spectrum of people, and involve students and others in geological activities.
21. Geoarchaeology and Cultural Geology: Exploring the Geological Aspects of Archaeological and Cultural Materials and Settings.
Cosponsored by the GSA Archaeological Geology Division
Andrew Bauer, DePauw University; Joe Hannibal, Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
This session will cover topics related to all aspects of geoarchaeology and cultural geology. These can include studies of archaeological materials, petroglyphs, building stones, terrain, and terroir.
22. Shales during the Devonian: Facies Observed through New Stratigraphic, Sedimentologic, and Paleoenvironmental Perspectives.
Gordon Baird, SUNY Fredonia; Jeff Over, SUNY Geneseo; Charles Ver Straeten, New York State Geological Survey.
Despite their economic significance, Devonian shales and mudstones remain variably enigmatic with regard to existing depositional models. Problems such as the long-standing question of water-column depth as well as newer questions regarding the pace and nature of mud accumulation, bottom energy levels, the geochemical nature of oxygen-deficient settings, and the relationship of black shales to surrounding strata, are benefiting from a host of ongoing stratigraphic, chronostratigraphic, sedimentological, and geochemical discoveries and new ideas. Hence, we call for contributions from a broad spectrum of research on Devonian-age organic-rich shales and other strata from foreland basin settings to cratonic platforms, arches, and terrestrial environments to honor these developments.
23. Near-Surface Geophysics.
Ernie Hauser, Wright State University.
This session will highlight the geophysical methods used to address the shallow subsurface for environmental, archaeological, engineering, and geological problems. Novel applications of geophysical methods are especially encouraged.
28. CO2 Sequestration.
Neeraj Gupta, Batelle Labs.
Papers are encouraged on geologic sequestration of CO2 in saline reservoirs, oil and gas fields, coal seams, or other targets. The session will broadly cover all aspects of geologic storage, including characterization, modeling, monitoring, permitting, economics, stakeholder outreach, and laboratory experiments.


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