IsoCamp and SPATIAL 2018

Announcing two Stable Isotope Short Courses at the University of Utah, June 2018

Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry and Ecology, June 11-22, 2018

Isotopes in Spatial Ecology and Biogeochemistry, June 11-22, 2018

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We are pleased to announce that the application period for the 2018 Stable Isotope Short Courses at the University of Utah is open now through Feb. 3, 2018.

*Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry and Ecology (aka “Iso-Camp”) emphasizes fundamental environmental and biological theory underlying isotope fractionation processes and a broad spectrum of ecological and environmental applications

*Isotopes in Spatial Ecology and Biogeochemistry (aka “The SPATIAL Short Course”) focuses on large datasets, programming, GIS analysis and modeling, and applying isotopic data to solve problems in diverse systems using these tools

Both classes will be limited-enrollment, multi-instructor lecture (morning) and laboratory (afternoon) short courses.  The courses are targeted to graduate students and postdoctoral investigators interested in learning more about the application of stable isotopes in environmental, biogeochemical, marine, and ecological studies.  A limited number of lecture-only slots will be reserved for postdocs and faculty looking to gain exposure to course content without the full immersion experience offered by the lecture + lab sequence.  The courses will:

1)      be offered at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City,

2)      offer limited enrollment in order to maximize interaction and access to laboratory resources,

3)      consist of morning lecture/discussion and afternoon laboratory; each course will feature ~17 instructors, experts selected from across the country for their breadth of experience and for their interest in teaching and interacting with students,

4)      include hands-on, project-based laboratory experiences.

For Iso-Camp, laboratories will include use of ThermoFisher isotope ratio mass spectrometers and Picarro cavity-ring down spectrometers. IRMSs used in the course are equipped with elemental analyzers, continuous flow capacities, GC, TCEA, pre-con, laser, and common-acid-bath. Students will also gain experience with vacuum line preparation of organic and inorganic compounds.

For the SPATIAL short course, students will work with Picarro CRDS analyzers and a range of geospatial data management and modeling environments, including MySQL, ArcGIS, IsoMAP, R, and various research software packages developed and used by the instructors, their students, and collaborators.

Many of the evenings in both courses will be set aside for discussions of current research interests, group dinners and special-topics talks. Social events will include time in the nearby Wasatch Mountains.

IsoCamp and SPATIAL participants have come from all across the United States as well as from many foreign countries.  Students are selected with diversity of academic interests, gender and race, geography, and research experience in mind. We encourage applications from members of STEM-underrepresented groups. We seek students who are interested in learning broadly about stable isotope applications and in interacting with other students and faculty. Past participants have had backgrounds in disciplines including animal and plant physiology, ecology and ecosystem science, biogeochemistry, anthropology, atmospheric science, marine science, oceanography, paleontology, forensic science, industry, and geology.

Applications will be accepted from December 4, 2017 until February 3, 2018. Application forms for both courses can be reached through the webpage We will notify applicants by the last week of February 2018 regarding acceptance into the course and how to begin planning for lodging arrangements, tuition payments, reading materials, etc.

We will be offering a limited number of participant support awards to offset expenses related to participation in the courses. If you are interested in being considered for one of the awards, additional application materials are required. Details are posted on the application website. We will announce recipients by the last week of February 2018, as well.

On behalf of all the instructors who participate in these courses, from our campus as well as from across (and beyond!) the United States, we look forward to your application and encourage you to explore the program information on our website.

URI Coastal Institute Senior Fellow

Excited to join the URI Coastal Institute as a Senior Fellow.

The Coastal Institute was founded to provide Rhode Island with a neutral setting where knowledge is advanced, issues discussed, information synthesized, and solutions developed for the sustainable use and management of coastal ecosystems. The Coastal Institute is dedicated to increasing our understanding of the relationships between human activity and the condition of the coastal environment and its resources. Working in partnership with local, state, federal, and international agencies, the Coastal Institute strives to use this understanding to contribute to the solution of the complex problems of human use and development in coastal environments.

Kelton McMahon

UCSC press release on millennial scale plankton regime shifts

UCSC press release highlights our work with deep-sea corals as living sediment traps recording past ocean changes in response to climate shifts.

Hawaiian gold coral is a long-lived, deep-sea coral found in the North Pacific Ocean. (Photo credit: HURL)
Layers of coral skeleton laid down over the past 1,000 years can be seen in this polished section of a deep sea coral. (Photo by M. McCarthy)