DMCS Oceanography graduate students Jennifer Walker and Stanley Ko awarded Louis Bevier and NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Jennifer Walker and Stanley Ko awarded Louis Bevier and NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

PhD candidate Jennifer Walker was awarded the Louis Bevier Fellowship. This award supports graduate students in completing their dissertation thesis. Jennifer studies past sea-level change to bridge the gap between short-term instrumental records and long-term geological reconstructions and to better understand future sea-level rise under changing climate. Her research focuses on reconstructing Holocene sea-level changes along the U.S. Atlantic coast using biological and geological indicators. These proxies are used to quantify rates of sea-level change and examine spatial and temporal variability.

Stanley Ko, a second-year PhD student in Oceanography, has won the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. The NSF GRFP awards 2000 fellowships annually, from about 12,000 applications. Stanley is one of 8 recipients at Rutgers-New Brunswick in 2018, and one of just 3 in the field of Marine Geology and Geophysics nationally.

With three years of funding from the fellowship, Stanley will use a multi-pronged approach to calibrating nutrient, carbonate ion, and temperature proxies in the deep-sea coral, Desmophyllum dianthus, in an effort to reconstruct the past environment in the southwest Pacific Ocean. In collaboration with Dr. Carles Pelejero et al. (Institut de Ciéncies del Mar, Barcelona), Stanley and advisor Rob Sherrell have embarked on a two-year experiment to culture D. dianthus in controlled seawater chemistry conditions and temperatures to generate precise paleo-proxy calibrations. Additional field-calibrations of live-collected corals from subantarctic waters off the coast of New Zealand will be conducted to account for regional differences and ensure the proxies’ accuracy. Stanley will then apply these calibrations to a collection of fossil D. dianthus that grew in Antarctic Intermediate Water proximal to New Zealand to understand the role of preformed nutrients in the Southern Ocean’s biological pump, and changes in circulation during the past ~40,000 years.