Department News

Isabel Montañez photo portrait

Isabel Montañez | National Academy of Sciences, 2021 Member

Isabel Montañez has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Her work has informed a better understanding of Earth’s ocean, land and atmospheric records of the past half billion years and suggests what the ancient carbon dioxide record may mean for future climate change. The National Academy of Sciences was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and—with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine—provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.


Isabel Montañez photo portrait

Isabel Montañez | New Director of the John Muir Institute of the Environment

From the Office of Research: The University of California, Davis, Office of Research is pleased to announce the selection of Isabel Patricia Montañez as the new director of the John Muir Institute of the Environment (JMIE) effective September 20. Montañez, a UC Davis distinguished professor and a chancellor’s leadership professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, is a renowned field geologist and geochemist specializing in past records of ancient climate change. Her work involves reconstructing global and regional climates, in particular those during warming and major climate and ecosystem perturbations to show how the baseline climate behavior of these interconnected components contribute to future climate change.

Nicholas Pinter photo portrait

Nicholas Pinter | The Long U.S. History of Relocating Communities Because of Flooding

From Slate: As communities across the United States and around the world are increasingly threatened by climate-driven flooding and sea-level rise, academic researchers and disaster managers alike agree that managed retreat—the abandonment of occupied land and the removal or relocation of population and infrastructure—will eventually be unavoidable.

Tessa Hill portrait

Tessa Hill | Hard Times for Hard Shells

From AAS: "Having a conversation about wildfires may be an unusual way to help educate people about climate change in our oceans. But for Northern California-based marine scientist and AAAS Fellow Tessa Hill, Ph.D., both topics are urgent and closely related. Deadly, fast-moving wildfires have touched nearly everyone in the region. And the fires’ link to climate change provides a non-threatening way for her to engage with her community about heat waves, both on land and in the oceans."

Magali Billen photo portrait

Magali Billen | Graduate Studies Announces the First Faculty Academy of Graduate Student Well-Being

Magali BIllen has been selected to participate in the Faculty Academy of Graduate Student Well-Being. The inaugural cohort of the academy was selected from a competitive pool of individuals and represents a variety of departments across campus. As part of the academy’s program, the selected participants will learn relevant scholarship on mental health and develop facilitation skills to lead conversations and seminars on well-being. These faculty members will go on to facilitate a graduate-level seminar within their departments to help graduate students enhance their well-being and professional success.

David Gold photo portrait

David Gold | NSF CAREER Award

David Gold has been granted a prestigious 5-year NSF "Early Career" award to continue his research on the interpretation of chemical biomarkers in the rock record: "An Evolutionary Framework for the Molecular Fossil Record". This grant supports David's continued use of genetics to identify what groups of living organisms have the ability to make various biomarkers that are used to trace the history of evolution, source rocks for petroleum, and pollution sources. David will also use the genetic data, calibrated to the rock record, to help pin when in the past each group gained the ability to make specific biomarkers. Early Career grants include a strong outreach component, and David will be developing courses to train early career geologists to use genetic tools for their own research. He will also be developing a mentoring program for promising Native American scholars, a group that has been historically harmed by geoscientists through land and resource theft.

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