David Gillikin

Professors Gillikin and Goodwin (Denison U.) in North Carolina retrieving the YSI data logger after it recorded water temperature, salinity, pH, DO, and depth every hour for three months.


I had a really fun year at Union. Last fall, I taught Biogeochemistry and with Professor Verheyden took 14 students to a remote island in Panama for the 10-day field component of the course. We studied carbon cycling in mangroves, coral reefs, karst streams, and swamp forests. We found that high CO2 in mangrove sediments does not lead to acidification of waters over the adjacent corals because sulfate reduction leads
to high alkalinity buffering the system. Students did an awesome job and they presented the research at the NE GSA meeting last spring! I also taught Introduction to Oceanography and Earth and Life Through Time – including a weekend trip to the Catskills. This past summer three students (Hayley Bennett, Heidi O’Hora, and Elizabeth Cilia) and I joined forces with Denison University Professor Goodwin and two Denison students to conduct fieldwork in coastal North Carolina. We sampled waters, algae, and bivalves around the Cape Lookout region. We’re investigating sources of nitrogen pollution as well as the natural carbon cycle in the estuarine creeks and adjacent bays. All five students are working hard preparing their posters for national GSA next week! This past year I was promoted to Full Professor and was elected GSA Fellow–two major milestones in my career. I was also awarded two NSF research grants that will keep me and several students busy with Portuguese speleothems and Antarctic scallops for the next few years. We hope to develop paleoclimate records from the Iberian Peninsula covering the past 2,500 years using speleothems from several caves in Portugal. In Antarctica, we are using scallop shell geochemistry to reconstruct the persistence of sea ice. Life home at the farm is keeping us busy as usual – moving firewood, brush-hogging fields, sugaring, gardening, and dreaming of the renovations that always seem to be in the future…
In short, this has been an awesome and really busy year!

Professors Gillikin and Verheyden (and their son Lucas) in Panama with the Biogeochemistry class just before sampling cave waters .

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