Staff & Student News

Research Associate and Committee on Science member George Rabb (Zoology) attended the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists from July 6–11 in Minneapolis, MN.  While there he helped introduce the newly appointed officers of the Amphibian Survival Alliance, Executive Director Jaime Garcia Moreno and Chief Scientist Phil Bishop, who both helped draft a resolution endorsing this conservation initiative, which was passed by the ASIH and the Herpetologists League.  The resolution endorses the mission of the ASA, which is fuller implementation of IUCN's Amphibian Conservation Action Plan published in 2007, and urges support for the coordinating and facilitating activities of the ASA in such implementation.  The amphibian conservation crisis is the worst of all major classes of organisms, with over 30% of species threatened with extinction and over 40% of species declining in population numbers.  In late July, the Board of Directors of the Society for the Study of Amphibian and Reptiles approved the resolution of endorsement of the ASA.

Research & Publications

Robert A. Pritzker Assistant Curator of Meteoritics and Polar Studies Philipp Heck (Geology) is the first author on a paper, entitled “SIMS Analyses of Silicon and Oxygen Isotope Ratios for Quartz from Archean and Paleoproterozoic Banded Iron Formations,” published in the peer-reviewed journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, on the geochemistry of Banded Iron Formations (BIFs).  BIFs are economically important chemical sediments that formed in Earth's early oceans and consist of alternating layers of quartz and iron oxide (see figure).  The samples Philipp and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin, Madison studied include some of Earth’s oldest rocks from southwest Greenland that are 3.8 billion years old.  Other samples studied were 2.5 billion year old rocks from Western Australia and South Africa, and 1.9 billion year old samples from Minnesota.  Philipp and his co-authors used the ion microprobe at UW-Madison to analyze the isotopes of silicon and oxygen in BIF quartz.  The silicon isotopic composition of some of the BIF quartz suggests that weathering of continents was important even 3.8 billion years ago.

Fieldwork & Collections

Nicopolis ad Istrum, BulgariaAdministrative Assistant Dilyana Ivanova (Anthropology) returned from her annual two-week trip to Bulgaria on July 21.  Her trip, funded by the America for Bulgaria Foundation Archaeological Grant Opportunities Program, included a week at the American Research Center in Sofia (ARCS), followed by a week of visiting the museums and sites for the 2010 and 2011 archaeological grant recipients.  Included in her travels were four archaeological locations: the Roman Town Nicopolis as Istrum, administrated by the Regional Museum of History in Veliko Turnovo (2010 grant recipient); the Roman Archaeological Reserve Deultum-Debelt, administrated by the History Museum of Sredetz, Burgas District (2010 grant recipient); the Bishop Residence from the late Middle Ages on the Medieval Town of Cherven, administrated by the Ruse Regional Museum of History (2011 grant recipient); and the archaeological storage facility of the Museum of History Iskra in Kazanlak (2011 grant recipient).  All of these locations have dramatically improved through the support of the America for Bulgaria Foundation Archaeological Grant Opportunities Program.  The success of the ABF program has resulted in the renewal of funding for another year.  Applications for 2012 will be available in the near future and can be found at the ARCS website.

Public Education & Media Coverage