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Costigan et al. Awarded New REU Site

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CO2 levels now higher than any time in the last 23 million years

One of the most pressing messages that climate scientists attempt to convey to the public is how today’s CO2 levels compare to those of the Geologic past. Such comparisons can provide public context for current CO2 rise, as well as important information on the response of global temperatures to rising CO2. A new study published in Geology suggests that present-day CO2 levels (412 ppmv) are now likely higher than at any time in at least the last 23 million years!

In this newly published study, a team led by Brian Schubert, Associate Professor in the School of Geosciences at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, used the remains of dead plants to produce a new record of atmospheric CO2 that spans 23 million years of uninterrupted Earth history. Their findings relied on the nearly continuous record of terrestrial photosynthesis provided by organic matter accumulated from partially decomposed plants.

“When plants grow, the relative amount of the two stable isotopes of carbon, carbon-12 and carbon-13, changes in response to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere,” says Schubert. “One can therefore measure the relative amount of these two isotopes and calculate the CO2 concentration under which the plants grew.”

The remains of land plants can be used to calculate the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere. Photo credit: A. Hope Jahren

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Two Graduate Students win the GSA Graduate Research Grant

Please join us in congratulating two of our graduate students who recently won a GSA Graduate Research Grant for 202

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The School of Geosciences wins prestigious Field Camp Award

As our 2020 virtual field camp is kicking off today, our School has just been informed that we are this year's recip

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Led by Dr. Katie Costigan (School of Geosciences), an interdisciplinary team consisting of ICaWR faculty members, UL Office of Sustainability, Bayou Vermilion District, Teche-Vermilion Freshwater District, and the T.E.C.H.E. Project has been awarded a new Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site by the National Science Foundation.

This program will support 10 undergraduate students for 8 weeks each summer over the next 3 years to participate in an intensive learning and research program to study watershed and coastal processes and resources within the southern Louisiana environments. This program will support students both within and outside of UL, with attention to underrepresented groups. “This grant also has opportunities for students to be invited back to participate for multiple years in a row” said Costigan.

Students participating in this program will work with UL faculty mentors to expand understanding of watershed and estuarine resources in urban- and agriculturally-influenced systems. Students will receive life-changing experiences by conducting research, visiting field research stations, writing, and presenting at a student symposium. All of which will prepare students for future graduate school endeavors and careers in science.

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