WVU ‘fossil detective’ links past to future in discovering what drives the evolution of new animals
Fossil records that reveal how new animals evolve is key not only to understanding the history of life on Earth, but could play a role in guiding modern conservation efforts in predicting responses to future climate change, according to West Virginia University geologist James Lamsdell. The results of his research will end up in the hands of public school students in age-appropriate science curricula.
Lamsdell will use fossil records to study how arthropods, such as crustaceans and horseshoe crabs, as well as extinct species like sea scorpions and trilobites, have adapted to new environments by changing the speed or timing of their development to reshape their adult forms. He will also examine whether these changes in their development alter the speed at which their evolution occurs.
“We can potentially use the past to help predict responses to future climate change as species are faced with rising sea levels and changing temperatures across the globe,” Lamsdell said.
A National Science Foundation CAREER award of $500,000 will allow Lamsdell and
his research assistants to travel to museums in the U. S. and Canada to study
fossil collections and present their findings at scientific conferences, and
also to build new curricula for public school and college students.
A rapid research response to COVID-19’s effect on communities
A WVU Geography professor, Jamison Conley, is among an interdisciplinary team of researchers from WVU to study Appalachia from a wide range of perspectives.
Over the next eight weeks, the team will conduct a series of surveys of Appalachian residents to measure their thoughts, feelings and behaviors related to COVID-19 and how they change over time. Their goal is to learn what attributes about people determine their perceptions of crisis recommendations and how they respond.Read more about COVID-19 Research.
WVU Humanities Center announces recipients of ‘Life in the Time of COVID-19’ grants
A WVU Geography assistant professor, Jamie Shinn, was awarded one of seven “Life in the Time of COVID-19” grants to research projects that address the pandemic from a humanistic perspective.
Funded by the WVU Humanities Center through a WVU endowment from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, all of the projects offer a voice to those living in smaller towns and rural areas, as well as address what might otherwise be substantial gaps in our understanding of Life in the Time of COVID-19 in the Appalachian region.
Finding renewal in the aftermath of floods
Four years after the disastrous flooding in southern West Virginia, new research from West Virginia University’s Department of Geology and Geography highlights the role faith-based groups and other community organizations have played in the relief and recovery efforts.
In summer 2017, assistant professors of geography Jamie Shinn and Martina Angela Caretta in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences interviewed 21 Greenbrier County residents and members of relief organizations to understand the lasting effects of flooding in their communities.
“Once we spent some time talking to people and seeing firsthand the devastating impacts the floods had there, we were motivated to understand the social impacts more deeply,” Shinn said. “In particular, we wanted to understand how the recovery efforts following the floods created a new sense of hope among residents that they could rebuild their towns into something better than they had been before the floods. Instead of the story being one of recovery, it became one of revitalization.”Read more about flood recovery.
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Geography doctoral student, Sara Loftus featured in WBOY video.
Sara Loftus, a West Virginia University geography doctoral student who is studying how to build an online community is featured by WBOY.
Read more about building community.
Quenching the need for water quality data in West Virginia
A new portal created by the Department of Geology and Geography is increasing access to surface and groundwater water quality data from shale gas regions around the state to inform stakeholders about trends in water quality. The West Virginia Water Quality Impact Portal, developed by geology doctoral student Rachel Yesenchak and professor Shikha Sharma, allows people to investigate water quality in shale gas regions of West Virginia. It contains data for more than 1.3 million surface and ground water samples from 14 counties where most Marcellus Shale gas development has occurred.Read about the new portal.
Geography Master's Student named a Rachel Carson Campus Fellow
Brandon Rothrock is a second-year master’s student at West Virginia University where he is working towards his Master of Arts in Geography and a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies. Brandon’s work focuses on the intersection of climate change and gender and sexuality.
Read more about the Campus Fellow.
We offer several student organizations to help you make the most of of your education.
Summer Undergraduate Research Experience
Selected students are awarded a $3,500 stipend for eight weeks of mentored research. An additional $2,000 is available for travel to a professional conference or for supplies.