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Department News


Kari Cooper

Professor & Department Chair Dr. Kari Cooper | Deciphering the Black Box of Volcanoes: Kari Cooper Receives Norman L. Bowen Award

Our own Professor and Department Chair, Dr. Kari Cooper, a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Geological Society of America, has now won the American Geophysical Union’s Norman L. Bowen Award, which honors a mid-career or senior scientist for outstanding contributions to the fields of petrology, volcanology and geochemistry. You can read an article about Dr. Cooper on the UC Davis College of Letters and Science website and you can find out more about the Norman L. Bowen Award here.

David Gold, Geerat Vermeij, Sandra Carlson and Ryosuke Motani | Reanalysis Shows Dinosaurs Not So Warm-Blooded

EPS faculty members David Gold, Geerat Vermeij, Sandra Carlson and Ryosuke Motani posted an article about a Nature study. Here's a link to the article:

Congratulations to the following graduate students who received prestigious fellowships and awards in 2022-2023:

  • Tessa Brunoir - Paleontological Society Research Grant

  • Hannah Kempf - California Sea Grant Award

  • Christian Kroemer - 2023 NASA FINESST fellow.

  • Yvonne Leon - AGeS Research Grant

  • Sierra Rack - AGeS Research Grant

  • Jackie Ramatlapeng - 2023 National Geographic Society Wayfinder award.

  • Alba M. Rodriguez Padilla - Outstanding student presentation award at the 2022 and 2023 Seismological Society of America's Annual Meeting.

  • Elaine Young - 3rd position at the GSA Fall 2022 Meeting Geologic Map Competition.

  • Meghan Zulian - UC Davis Dissertation Year Fellowship 2023-2024

  • Meghan Zulian - UC Davis Public Scholars for the Future Award 2022

  • Meghan Zulian - Melbourne R. Carriker Student Research Award in Malacology 2023
David Gold photo portrait

Professor David Gold | Interviewed for a New York Times Article

David was interviewed for a New York Times article presenting research on some of the oldest jellyfish fossils yet discovered, based on his expertise in jellyfish evolution and animal development. Link to Article

Isabel Montanez sitting on a mountain.

Isabel P. Montañez | EPS' Distinguished Professor Isabel Montañez has been awarded the Arthur L. Day Medal

Isabel Montañez has been awared the Arthur L. Day Medal by the Geological Society of America for outstanding distinction in the application of physics and chemistry to the solution of geologic problems. The medal will be presented at the President’s Awards Ceremony in Pittsburgh, PA in Oct. 2023.

About the Medal

The Arthur L. Day Medal was established in 1948 through a donation by Arthur L. Day, Founding Director of the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. It is awarded annually, or less frequently at the discretion of the Council, to recognize outstanding distinction in the application of physics and chemistry to the solution of geologic problems, with no restriction to the particular field of geologic research. It was Dr. Day's wish to provide an award to recognize outstanding achievement in research and to inspire further effort, rather than to reward a distinguished career, and so it has been the longstanding practice of the Society to award this medal to geoscientists actively pursuing a research career.

Caden Williams, one of our majors in EPS, has been awarded a prestigious 2023 Barry Goldwater scholarship!

Caden is the only Goldwater Scholar from UCD this year, and one of only 10 in the last six years. Congratulations Caden!

Congratulations to Mandy Rousseau, who has been selected from a very competitive field for a 2023 NACADA Global Outstanding Advising award

From the award notification: "Established in 1983, the NACADA Global Awards Program for Academic Advising honors individuals and institutions making significant impact on academic advising. NACADA is a representative and advocate of academic advising and those providing that service to higher education.”

In Memoriam | Peter Schiffman

It is with great sadness that we share with you that Professor Emeritus Peter Schiffman, passed away suddenly on May 26th, 2023. Peter was a field geologist, petrologist and geochemist, and his research largely focused on hydrothermal systems (active and ancient). In addition, he served as department chair and was for many years the director of the microprobe facility. He was also an avid fan of playing and listening to music, and an upbeat and cheerful presence in the department. He will be sorely missed.

Peter's family will be setting up a memorial fund honoring Peter in lieu of flowers. More information will be posted here when that is available.

In Memoriam Page

In Memoriam | William (Bill) E. Glassley

Bill - a long time Research Associate in our department - passed away suddenly last month while on a trip to Copenhagen, where he was to meet with his Danish collaborators to plan their final field season in Greenland.

Prior to joining us, Bill had a long and distinguished career as a professor at Middlebury College, researcher at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, and Director of the California Geothermal Energy Collaborative.  

In his time at EPS, Bill published influential research contributions on ultra high pressure metamorphism of Archean rocks from West Greenland, a textbook on Geothermal Energy, and a memoir: “A Wilder Time” - winner of several awards for nature and natural history writing  and chronicling his many years of field studies in remote regions of West Greenland.

Bill was a caring and compassionate human who always made time for friends, colleagues, and students. For those of us lucky enough to have been considered his close friend, his loss is deeply felt.


Mandy Rousseau | has been awarded Winner in Region 9 Excellence in Advising - Primary Role Advisor

On behalf of NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising, congratulations to Ms. Mandy Rousseau for being awarded Winner of Region 9 Excellence in Advising - Primary Role Advisor. They will be recognized at the upcoming Region Conference.
NACADA is the leading association globally for the advancement of student success through excellence in academic advising in higher education. We provide our members with exemplary and innovative opportunities for professional development and personal growth. To learn more about NACADA and our Vision and Mission, visit

Hannah Kempf | Some Indigenous People Crushed Up Dead Clams. Maybe We Should Too?

An interview with Hakai Magazine republished in The Atlantic

Clamshells could help make the ocean less acidic — a problem that is affecting clams themselves.

In the sea gardens of the Pacific Northwest, [Indigenous] caretakers crushed the shells of harvested clams and mixed the fragments back into the beach. Recent research has shown multiple positive effects of this broken-shell “hash,” including opening spaces in the sediment so young clams can more easily burrow and grow, and releasing chemical cues that encourage larval clams to settle nearby.

Kari Cooper photo portrait

Kari Cooper | Mushy Magma Under Yellowstone

Professor Kari Cooper, volcanologist and chair of the UC Davis Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, wrote a perspective article accompanying the new paper from researchers at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign.

Volcanologists used to think of the magma reservoir below a volcano as a single "big tank" of molten rock. A modern view is that the magma reservoir is more like a slushy or snow cone, albeit a very hot one, with both solid and liquid components throughout, Cooper wrote. Collections of liquid magma could range in size from a thin film between solid grains, to blobs a few centimeters across, to much larger pods tens of meters across. 

Ryosuke Motani photo portrait

Ryosuke Motani | elected as a California Academy of Sciences Fellow.

"Nominated by their peers and elected by the California Academy of Sciences’ Board of Trustees, Academy Fellows are a group of over 450 distinguished scientists who have made notable contributions to science. This year, the Academy is pleased to welcome 11 new members to this illustrious group."

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Alyssa Griffin | has been selected as one of the 2022-23 CAMPOS Faculty Scholars.

CAMPOS faculty scholars are exceptional STEMM scientists who are “selected for their transformative thinking, unique perspectives, interdisciplinary approaches, and leadership potential to impact their discipline in profound and enduring ways. Their discoveries, innovations, and technological breakthroughs will contribute to the public good, locally, nationally, and globally. They are role models for future scientists and scholars who share their vision of diversity and inclusion as a key component of academic excellence.”

Estella Atekwana, the dean of the College of Letters and Science, stands in front of the college on November 22, 2021.

Estella Atekwana | AGU 2022 Class Of Fellows

Estella Atekwana has been selected as an AGU Fellow in recognition of her remarkable and sustained scientific impact. She joins a prestigious group, since 1962, less than one tenth of 1% of AGU members have been selected to receive this honor each year. More information can be found here.

Geerat Vermeij portrait

Geerat Vermeij | National Academy of Sciences, 2022 Member

Geerat Vermeij has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his outstanding contributions to paleobiology. Members of the National Academy of Sciences are elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. The organization is the oldest scientific academy in the U.S., and membership is considered among the highest national honors for scientists.

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Alyssa Griffin | The Capacity to Care On Blue Carbon, Parenthood and Climate Anxiety

From UC Davis News: Both wetsuit and lab coat constitute office attire for scientist Alyssa Griffin. She’s on a search for blue carbon – the carbon the ocean stores within its sandy seabed, coral and blades of seagrass — and ways to better capture and store it to help reduce the impacts of climate change. Continue Reading

Alyssa Griffin | Appointed Assistant Professor in the Earth and Planetary Science Department.

We are thrilled to congratulate and welcome Dr. Alyssa Griffin to our department as the newest member of the faculty. Dr. Alyssa Griffin is a marine biogeochemist researching carbon cycling in coastal ecosystems and working towards a more just, equitable and inclusive earth science community. Continue Reading

Martian Meteorite Upsets Planet Formation Theory | Sandrine Péron and Sujoy Mukhopadhyay

From UC Davis News: A new study of an old meteorite contradicts current thinking about how rocky planets like the Earth and Mars acquire volatile elements such as hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and noble gases as they form. The work is published June 16 in Science. A basic assumption about planet formation is that planets first collect these volatiles from the nebula around a young star, said Sandrine Péron, a postdoctoral scholar (Péron is now a postdoctoral fellow at ETH Zürich, Switzerland) working with Professor Sujoy Mukhopadhyay in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, Davis.

Doctoral Fellow Solving Botswana Water Scarcity Crisis | Goabaone Jaqueline Ramatlapeng

From the College of Letters and Science: EPS graduate student Goabaone Jaqueline Ramatlapeng can vividly remember when she would go without water from domestic pipes for days. Growing up in Kopong, a rural village in Botswana, Ramatlapeng and her family faced a plight that those in surrounding villages knew as well: water scarcity. And when the water did flow, it was salty. “This part of my childhood made me develop a desire to venture into water chemistry research and be resourceful to my country in terms of informing their water management decision-making and devising strategies to augment water supply,” said Ramatlapeng. 

Professors for the Future | Elaine Young

EPS graduate student Elaine Young is a 2022-23 UC Davis Professors for the Future Fellow. Professors for the Future (PFTF) is a year-long competitive fellowship program designed to recognize and develop the leadership skills of outstanding graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who have demonstrated their commitment to professionalism, integrity, and academic service.

AAUW International Doctoral Fellowship | Goabaone Jaqueline Ramatlapeng

Goabaone Jaqueline (Jackie) Ramatlapeng has been selected as a 2022-23 recipient of an American Association of University Women (AAUW) International Doctoral Fellowship. Since 1888, AAUW has been one of the largest funders of women’s graduate education, investing in women who go on to change the world.

Isabel Montañez photo portrait

Isabel Montañez | Carbon, Climate Change and Ocean Anoxia in an Ancient Icehouse World

From UC Davis News: A new study describes a period of rapid global climate change in an ice-capped world much like the present — but 304 million years ago. Within about 300,000 years, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels doubled, oceans became anoxic, and biodiversity dropped on land and at sea. “It was one of the fastest warming events in Earth’s history,” said Isabel Montañez, distinguished professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of California, Davis. Montañez’s lab has studied the period from 300 million to 260 million years ago, when Earth’s climate went from a glacial icehouse to a hot, ice-free greenhouse. In 2007, they showed that the climate swung back and forth several times during this period. Read the paper (PNAS)

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