SCIPP Lab welcomes 4 new group members

The SCIPP Lab/Petersen Group is very excited to welcome four new members for the coming year. Julia Kelson will arrive as a postdoc under the NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship to study paleoclimate and paleohydrology using clumped and triple oxygen isotopes, in conjunction with the IsoPaleo Lab. Two incoming Masters students, Allison Curley and Heidi O’Hora, will be working on Cretaceous paleoclimate projects. Finally, undergraduate Steve Wedel will join our ranks to work on reconstructing climate during the Last Interglacial in Turks and Caicos.

Serena wins the Undergraduate Excellence Award!

Congratulations are in order to Serena, who was selected as the winner of the Earth Department’s Undergraduate Excellence Award for a senior who excels both academically and in the research sphere. This award was presented at our annual Dorr Dinner, which was broken up this year by the excitement of a tornado warning! All guests brought their plates of fancy dinner to a lower level ballroom at The Graduate while the tornado passed, then returned to the upper level for the presentation of awards.


Congrats Serena! What an accomplishment!

Phase 1 of Reno complete!

Phase 1 of the Stable Isotope Lab renovation is complete! Over spring break, mass specs were moved from the back room (our temporary place of operation) to the newly renovated main lab area. Everything looks so bright and clean! Our prep line now faces a window instead of a dark corner and the mass spec has a nice new corner to live in.

Julie Cole and Kacey Lohmann are also settling their machines and equipment into the shared space. Phase 2 will renovate the back room into a sample prep area with drills, microscopes, table and sample storage space, weighing room, and lab manager office space.

Sierra wins the Crosby Award!!

We are excited to announce that Sierra was selected as a recipient of the UM Crosby Research Award this year! The money from this award will go towards supporting planned field work in Bermuda in April/May, where Sierra and Jade (with collaborator Ian Winkelstern) will be collecting fossil shells from previous interglacial intervals.

Here at UM, we are lucky to be at an institution with a commitment to supporting their female and junior faculty, and the Crosby Award is a perfect example of the type of program that makes life just a little bit easier for a young female PI. Thank you ADVANCE program for this award!

Lab Renovation Update – Feb2019

Open shelving where there used to be a wall! New cabinets! The framework in the back is where we will build out vacuum line for preparing gas standards.

The bulk liquid nitrogen tank installed outside the lab in the loading dock area. LN2 will be piped directly into the lab, with one outlet per mass spec (and a manual dewar filling station). This will save money, hassle, and waste!

The Stable Isotope Lab renovation continues. We are very excited to get into the new lab space and things are looking better and better each day! We hope to be done with “Phase 1” in the next week or so and plan to begin moving mass specs during spring break. After that, we will be fully operational in the main room while they complete “Phase 2”, finishing renovating the back room into an awesome sample preparation space, complete with balance room, micromilling stations, and lots of counter space to lay out samples to look at them all together!

7th International Clumped Isotope Workshop: We’re on a boat!

The curving hallways running the length of the ship. Disorienting!

Jade and Sierra attended the 7th International Clumped Isotope Workshop in Long Beach, California this past weekend. All attendees stayed aboard the historic Queen Mary (a Titanic-era cruise liner that has been permanently parked and turned into a hotel). We heard lots of great talks/posters and caught up with colleagues (including lab visitors Ryan Venturelli and Robin Dawson who visited us in the fall). Sierra gave a talk on the community-wide project to update published clumped isotope calibration data to the new “Brand parameters” (paper in revision) and a poster on calibrating the clumped isotope paleothermometer in modern gastropods (with Becca and Serena as coauthors!). A real group effort! Jade particularly enjoyed the poster session and meeting graduate students from other groups. A very invigorating meeting!

Welcome to Jon!

The Petersen group just keeps growing! We have added another member, undergraduate Jon Hoffman. Jon will be working with our new postdoc Matt to reconstruct climate and oceanographic conditions in the Western Interior Seaway during the Cenomanian/Turonian. Jon found his way to us by being a top student in Sierra’s Intro Oceanography class last semester. To all you undergraduates out there looking for research experience – the best way to get into a lab is to impress your professors in class and then follow up outside of class and express your interest!

Welcome to Matt!

The Petersen group is very excited that our newest member, postdoc Matt Jones, has finally arrived! Matt joins us from Northwestern University, where he completed his PhD studying Ocean Anoxic Events in the Western Interior Seaway, among other things. Matt plans to apply the clumped isotope paleothermometer to try and reconstruct climate change across OAE2.

Welcome to our new UROP students

The Petersen group welcomes two new UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program) students for the coming year. Tianna Kilgore will be building an automated sample delivery system for clumped isotope samples to increase our sample throughput. Becca Heaman will be analyzing the clumped isotopic composition of modern gastropods to expand the gastropod calibration dataset. We are excited to have both of them joining us and to continue to grow our family!