EES overview

Earth & Environmental Sciences at Lehigh

information about the department

Context

Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) is a diverse department that blends contributions from geologists, ecologists, and environmental scientists. Our goal is to stimulate enquiry and learning about the fundamental physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes that shape Earth's natural environment. We seek to promote understanding of Earth systems and their components by integrating geological and biological views of how these systems function and interact. The department's fundamental work lies in basic research and field-based experiential education, but as a core department in Lehigh's Environmental Initiative we actively cooperate with other students and scholars to examine the ramifications of human interaction with the environment.

EES was formed in 1991 through the merger of faculty from the Geological Sciences Department with environmental biology faculty from the Biology Department. Since then we have worked to develop innovative programs in environmental science while maintaining strengths in studies of the solid Earth and environmental change. Along with Civil and Environmental Engineering, EES is one of two core departments in Lehigh's Environmental Initiative.

The EES Department is part of Lehigh University's College of Arts and Sciences. Lehigh is an independent, nondenominational, coeducational university. Founded in 1865, it has approximately 5,000 undergraduates within its three major colleges: Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Applied Science, and Business and Economics. There are approximately 2,100 students enrolled in various graduate programs and in the graduate-only College of Education. The 700-acre campus includes superb athletic facilities, a health club and cultural venues, including the Zoellner Arts Center.

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (pop. 75,000) is located in the Lehigh Valley, 50 miles north of Philadelphia and 90 miles west of New York City; best access is via Interstate 78, U.S. Route 22, or Lehigh Valley International Airport (airport code ABE). Founded in 1741, Bethlehem has a rich cultural heritage in the Moravian tradition. Historical buildings have been well preserved giving the community a charming Colonial atmosphere. The Lehigh Valley (Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, combined population of some 822,000) is the chief commercial and industrial center for east-central Pennsylvania and is the third largest population center in the state after Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Faculty

  • David J. Anastasio, Professor and Chair. Ph.D. Johns Hopkins 1988. Structural geology, tectonics.
  • Gray E. Bebout, Professor. Ph.D. UCLA 1989. Petrology, high-temperature geochemistry, stable-isotope geochemistry.
  • Claudio Berti, Professor of Practice. Ph.D. UniversitÓ degli Studi G. d'Annunzio Chieti e Pescara, 2009. Field geology, active tectonics, GIS.
  • Robert Booth, Associate Professor. Ph.D. Wyoming, 2003. Ecological response to climate change, paleoecology, paleoclimatology, ecology of testate amoebae.
  • Edward B. Evenson, Professor. Ph.D. Michigan 1972. Glacial and Quaternary geology, environmental geology and soils.
  • Benjamin Felzer, Assistant Professor. Ph.D. Brown 1995. Global change, terrestrial ecosystems, biogeochemical cycling, paleoclimatology.
  • Kenneth P. Kodama, Professor. Ph.D. Stanford 1977. Paleomagnetism, rock magnetism, environmental magnetism.
  • Anne S. Meltzer, Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator; CAS Dean Emeritus. Ph.D. Rice 1989. Seismology, tectonics, geodynamics.
  • Donald P. Morris, Associate Professor. Ph.D. Colorado 1990. Microbial ecology, limnology.
  • Frank J. Pazzaglia, Professor. Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University, 1993. Fluvial and tectonic geomorphology.
  • Stephen C. Peters, Associate Professor. Ph.D. University of Michigan, 2001. Low-temperature (bio)geochemistry, hydrogeology, isotope geology.
  • Joan Ramage, Associate Professor and Director, South Mountain College. Ph.D. Cornell, 2001. Remote sensing of glaciers, snow, and ice, cryosphere.
  • Dork L. Sahagian, Professor. Ph.D. Chicago, 1987. Tectonics, environmental change.
  • Zicheng Yu, Professor. Ph.D. Toronto 1997. Paleoecology, paleoclimatology.
  • Peter K. Zeitler, Iacocca Professor and Graduate Director. Ph.D. Dartmouth 1983. Geochronology, tectonics, geodynamics, geology of Asia.

Emeriti

  • Bobb Carson, Professor Emeritus. Ph.D. Washington 1971. Sedimentary processes, sedimentation, tectonics, marine geology, submarine hydrology.
  • Bruce Hargreaves, Professor . Ph.D. UC Berkeley 1977. Physiological and ecosystem ecology, bioptics, limnology.
  • Paul B. Myers Jr., Professor Emeritus. Ph.D. Lehigh 1960. Hydrogeology, geographic information systems.
  • Dale R. Simpson, Professor Emeritus. Ph.D. Caltech 1960. Mineralogy.
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Study

For undergraduates, the EES Department offers BA and BS degrees as well as a minor. The accessible BA degree in Earth and Environmental Sciences is ideal for students interested in geology, environmental science, and/or ecology but having career goals in areas such as law, journalism, business, and government. The flexible BA degree in EES also makes it easy for students to pursue a double major or design a degree that matches their interests. For students interested in technical careers in research or industry, the department offers a BS degree in EES. Finally, EES offers a straight-forward minor program that can include a significant component of field-based learning.

For graduate students, the department offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Earth and Environmental Sciences. M.S. programs typically require two years of full-time effort and a Ph.D. about four years.

Faculty research programs span numerous disciplines within the fields of ecology, environmental science, and geology. The department has particular depth of expertise the areas of the solid Earth and environmental change. The intermediate size of the department (15 faculty, three support staff, several postdocs and research scientists) and its range of active research programs provide an intimate atmosphere in which students receive extensive experience with diverse analytical and theoretical approaches to the study of geological, ecological, and environmental processes. We usually have about 20 to 25 students in the EES graduate program who have come to us from many states and several foreign countries.

In recent years, our graduates have been very successful in finding employment in environmental consulting firms and oil companies, as post-doctoral researchers, in governmental agencies, and as faculty at colleges and universities.

Facilities

EES was long housed in Williams Hall, a venerable building that has hosted much Lehigh history. In July of 2010, we moved into the new STEPS building along with other components of Lehigh's Environmental Initiative (STEPS - Science, Technology, Environment, Policy, and Society). This state-of-the-art LEED-certified green building was designed by the architectural firm of Bohlin, Cywinski and Jackson and is proving to be an exciting new addition to Lehigh's intellectual and campus life.

Equipment for ecological research includes microscopes, environmental chambers, centrifuges, sampling nets, current meters, incubators, and autoclaves. The Department has a long history of multidisciplinary research in experimental and comparative studies of aquatic communities and ecosystems. Faculty operate facilities capable of a wide variety of analyses relevant to aqueous biogeochemistry, and also maintain automated meteorological and hydrological facilities as well as terrestrial and water-column instrumentation for measuring solar UV radiation.

To support research in paleoecology and paleoclimatology, we maintain sediment-coring and other sampling equipment, as well as labs for sample-preparation and analysis in areas such as tree-ring studies, palynology, and other high-resolution records in sediments and peat.

For research in the areas of geological science, EES houses a geochronology laboratory dedicated to Ar-Ar and U-Th/He analyses; a stable-isotope laboratory equipped to handle a range of geological and environmental materials; a geochemistry facility that includes an ICP/MS; lab facilities outfitted for biogeochemical analyses; and standard petrographic facilities, including cathodoluminescence and camera lucida digitizing apparatus. Geophysical equipment includes a complete paleomagnetism laboratory including cryogenic magnetometer and shielded room; a seismology laboratory equipped for data acquisition and processing at a range of scales, including multi-channel seismograph and ground-penetrating radar; and other field geophysical equipment including a gravimeter, proton precession magnetometer; and borehole logging equipment. Excellent sample characterization facilities are also available on campus in the Materials Sciences department (electron probe, TEM, SEM, and much more).

The Department's computing facilities include a variety of workstations, networked microcomputer laboratories, and numerous stand-alone PC's and Macintoshes, and departmental computers support a variety of GIS and remote sensing software packages. The university supports high-speed networking to offices, labs, and classrooms and provides access to high-performance workstations and computing clusters for computationally intensive tasks.

Graduate Theses

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  • 2015
  • Travis Andrews (Ph.D.). Why Precipitation and Forest Structure are Changing in the Eastern US: Insight from Analysis of Large Empirical and Climate Model Datasets. (advisor: Booth, Felzer)
  • Jill Burrows (Ph.D.). Geochemical factors controlling the fate of Fe, Al, and Zn in coal-mine drainage in the anthracite coal region, Pennsylvania, USA. (advisor: Peters)
  • Kathleen Cleary (M.S.). Carbon sequestration implication of shrub expansion, peat initiation, and sphagnum growth in Arctic Tundra on the north slope of Alaska. (advisor: Yu)
  • Helen Malenda (M.S.). New Quaternary geochronometric constraints on river incision in the Virginia Piedmont: Relative contributions of climate, base-level fall, knickpoint retreat, and active tectonics. (advisor: Pazzaglia)
  • Daniel Minguez (Ph.D.). Chronostratigraphic applications of paleomagnetism and rock magnetic cyclostratigraphy: Case studies from the Ediacaran and Devonian Periods. (advisor: Peters)
  • Chandler Navara (M.S.). The effects of interspecific interations on the reporductive success of Carolina Chickadees (Poecile carolinensis). (advisor: Booth)
  • Stephanie Souza (M.S.). Upper mantle structure beneath the Hangay Dome, central Mongolia and implications for high topography and magmatism. (advisor: Booth)
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  • 2014
  • Johanna Blake (Ph.D.). Geologic, tectonic, and geochemical signatures leading to arsenic in groundwater in the Gettysburg Basin. (advisor: Peters)
  • Eric Ellison (M.S.). Characterizing iron-nitrogen colimitation interactions in a chemostat model of freshwater environments. (advisor: Peters)
  • Katharine A. LeBoeuf (M.S.). Holocene Vegetation, Hydrology, and Fire in the North-Central Adirondacks of New York. (advisor: Booth)
  • Michelle E. Spicer (M.S.). The Legacy of Planting: A Century-Long Experiment in Forest Development at Lehigh University. (advisor: Booth)
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  • 2013
  • Jennie Cook-Kollars (M.S.). Carbon retention in deeply subducted sedimentary rocks: Evidence from HP/UHP metamorphic suites in the Italian Alps. (advisor: Bebout)
  • Christopher Dempsey (Ph.D.). The Use of Headwater Catchments to Understand the Age, Availability, and Fate of Organic Matter Exported from Terrestrial to Fluvial Systems. (advisor: Morris)
  • Kellen Gunderson (Ph.D.). Spatial and Temporal Variability of Deformation in the Northern Apennines, Italy. (advisor: Anastasio)
  • Eric Klein (Ph.D.). Differential Response of Alaska Peatlands to Climate Changes of the Last Millennium. (advisor: Booth)
  • Kathryn Semmens (Ph.D.). Passive Microwave Derived Snowmelt Timing: Significance, Spatial and Temporal Variability, and Potential Applications. (advisor: Ramage)
  • Meng Zhao (M.S.). Recent glaciar surface snowpack melt in the Novaya Zemlya and Servernaya Zemlya derived from active and passive microwave remote sensing data. (advisor: Ramage)
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  • 2012
  • Travis Andrews (M.S.). Testate amoebae as hydrological proxies in the Florida Everglades. (advisor: Booth)
  • Rachel Baxter (M.S.). Sediment provenance and transport in a mixed use, mid-sized, impaired mid-Atlantic watershed, Saucon Creek, Pennsylvania. (advisor: Pazzaglia)
  • Pin-Chin Hsu (M.S.). Factors influencing mercury photoreactions in fresh waters: An experimental approach using light and DOC. (advisor: Peters)
  • Stephanie Hunt (M.S.). Postglacial climate, disturbance and permafrost peatland dynamics on the Seward Peninsula, western Alaska. (advisor: Yu)
  • Kristen Lazzeri (M.S.). Storage of nitrogen in silicate minerals and glasses. (advisor: Bebout)
  • Alex Ireland (Ph.D.). Assessing the sensitivity of kettle ecosystems to climatic and anthropogenic disturbances. (advisor: Booth)
  • Julie Loisel (Ph.D.). Autogenic and allogenic controls on carbon dynamics in peatlands from Alaska and Patagonia. (advisor: Yu)
  • Erik Mason (M.S.). A comparison of early Holocene orbital insolation and present-day greenhouse gas forcings and their influences on Alaska ecosystems. (advisor: Feltzer)
  • Ryan McKeon (Ph.D.). Apatite U-Th/He thermochronometry in slowly eroding landscapes: Addressing age dispersion to understand appalachian topographic development. (advisors: Pazzaglia, Zeitler)
  • Allison Teletzke (M.S.). Unsteady deformation of the Spanish Pyrennan mountain front. (advisor: Anastasio)
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  • 2011
  • Tsering Dhundup (M.S.). Morpho-tectonic analysis of the Tsona-Chusum Rift, Tibet. (advisor: Meltzer)
  • Shree Ram Sharma Dangal (M.S.). Modeling the carbon and nitrogen dynamics following disturbance in eastern U.S. (advisor: Felzer)
  • Zachary Spahn (M.S.). Resolving the Latemar Controversy: A new magnetostratigraphy at the Latemar correlated section of Rio Sacuz. (advisor: Kodama)
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  • 2010
  • Elizabeth (Wolyniak) DiCesare (Ph.D.). Impact of biofilm on the fate and transport of Cryptosporidium Oocysts (advisors: Hargreaves/Jellison)
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  • 2009
  • Dario Bilardello (Ph.D.). A new technique for measuring the magnetic fabric of hematite-bearing sedimentary rocks, hf-AIR: Inclination correction case studies from carboniferous red beds from the maritime provinces of Canada. (advisor: Kodama).
  • Michael Bubb (M.S.). Mercury emission from in-situ tidally exposed mudflat sediments using a dynamic flux chamber. (advisor: Peters).
  • Chris Dempsey (M.S.). The role of phosphorus limitation in regulating microbial respiration in streams. (advisor: Morris).
  • Andrew Gonyo (M.S.). An 800-year multiple-proxy record of atmospheric circulation, climate change, and aquatic productivity from Kepler Lake, south-central Alaska. (advisor: Yu/Bebout).
  • Erin Markel (M.S.). A comparative study of testate amoebae and 13C of sphagnum as surface-moisture proxies in Alaskan peatlands. (advisor: Ramage).
  • Patricia Monahan (M.S.). Spatial and temporal AMSR-E derived melt variability and runoff timing on the southern Patagonian Icefield. (advisor: Ramage).
  • Annie Palya (M.S.). Storage and mobility of organic nitrogen and carbon in the continental crust: evidence from partially melted metasedimentary rocks, Mt. Stafford, Australia. (advisor: Bebout).
  • Jennifer Wollenberg (Ph.D.). Factors affecting mercury emission from aquatic systems. (advisor: Peters).
  • Cheng Zhao (Ph.D.). Holocene climate change and climate variability in the northeastern United States and northwestern China. (advisor: Yu).
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  • 2008
  • Shanshan Cai (M.S.). Peatland responses to Holocene climate change in a temperate poor fen, northeastern Pennsylvania. (advisor: Yu).
  • Joanna Troy (M.S.). Synsedimentary tectonic strain and fold kinematics recorded by AMS in Pyrenean Flysch. (advisor: Anastasio).
  • Karl Wegmann (Ph.D). Tectonic geomorphology above Mediterranean subduction zones: northeastern Apennienes of Italy and Crete, Greece. (advisor: Pazzaglia).
  • Fenglin Yan (M.S.). Combining AMSR-E observations, modeling and stream discharge records to interpret flow timing and magnitude in the Pelly River Basin, Canada. (advisor: Ramage).
  • Brian Zurek (Ph.D.). The evolution and modification of continental lithosphere dynamics of the 'Indentor Corners' and imaging the llithosphere across the eastern syntaxis of Tibet. (advisor: Meltzer).
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  • 2007
  • Jeremy Apgar (M.S.). Snowmelt timing and variation in subarctic heterogeneous terrain using passive microwave AMSR-E observations. (advisor: Ramage).
  • Iain Barton (M.S.). Calculating the peak discharge of the outburst flood from Glacial Lake East Fork in the Big River Valley, east-central Idaho. (advisor: Evenson).
  • Patrick Belmont (Ph.D.). Landscape evolution and aquatic ecology: long-term sediment dynamics and landscape influences in stream ecosystems. (advisors: Pazzaglia and Morris).
  • Matthew Bennett (M.S.). Erosion transport processes: Describing the discharge and sediment relationship. (advisor: Pazzaglia).
  • Timothy Guida (M.S.). Bacterial mechanisms for coping with the population and molecular level affects of ultraviolet radiation. (advisor: Morris).
  • Shannon Haight (M.S.). Changes in the concentration and quality of DOC during storm events as a function of land cover. (advisor: Hargreaves).
  • Andrea Luebbe (M.S.). Hydrology and dissolved organic carbon dynamics of a temperate bog wetland. (advisor: Hargreaves).
  • Christina Majerowicz (M.S.). Quaternary rupture history of the Lima Reservoir fault, SW Montana. (advisor: Anastasio).
  • Christopher Mason (M.S.). Calibrating plug-flow bioreactors as a tool for the assessment of dissolved organic matter biolability in lotic systems. (advisor: Morris).
  • Valerie Sousa (M.S.). Drought, lake-effect snow, and the Late Holocene beech decline a paleoecological study at Pinhook Peatland in northewestern Indiana. (advisor: Booth).
  • Maura Sullivan (M.S.). Ecohydrology of a calcareous fen in northeastern Pennsylvania: a comparison of temporal patterns of water-table depth in shrub and herb dominated areas. (advisor: Peters).
  • Luke Wilson (M.S.). A fluvial record of active fault-propagation folding, Salsomaggiore anticline, northern Apennines, Italy. (advisor: Anastasio) EXXON.
  • Paula Zelanko (M.S.). Multi-proxy evidence for late glacial and early Holocene climate oscillations at Silver Lake, New Jersey. (advisor: Yu).
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  • 2006
  • Sarah Flanagan (M.S.). Traverse drainages, divides and landscape evolution in the Great Valley, eastern United States. (advisor: Pazzaglia).
  • Chris Forstall (M.S.). Correlating hemispherical photography with riparian canopy transmittance and UV-B exposure of low-order streams. (advisor: Hargreaves).
  • Josh Galster (Ph.D.). The connections between rivers and their watersheds over multiple scales. (advisor: Morris/Pazzaglia).
  • Robert King (Ph.D.). Melange a Trois metamorphic controls on recycling and mass transfer within subduction zones. (advisor: Bebout).
  • Michael Kutney (M.S.). The timing of topographic development in southeastern Tibet from low-temperature thermochronology. (advisor: Zeitler).
  • Jeremy Laucks (M.S.). Divide mobility and migration in the Appalachian Mountains. (advisor: Pazzaglia).
  • Long Li (Ph.D.). Estimates of carbon and nitrogen input fluxes in subduction zones and investigation of natural and human-induced environmental changes from lake sediments using carbon and nitrogen concentrations and isotope compositions. (advisor: Bebout).
  • Michael Newton (M.S.). Rock magnetic cyclostratigraphy, orbital forcing, and high-resolution age constraints from an Eocene marine flysch, Spanish Pyrenees. (advisor: Anastasio).
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  • 2005
  • Chris Call (M.S.). Geophysical profiling in the Interandean Valley, Ecuador. (advisor: Meltzer).
  • James Cascione (M.S.).Insights to the character and possible seasonal evolution of the subglacial drainage system of the Matanuska Glacier, Alaska; as determined by dye-injection experiments. (advisor: Evenson).
  • Diana Latta (Ph.D). Structural, lithotectonic, and rock magnetic student of decollement folding, Coahuila Margional Folded Province, northeast Mexico. (advisor: Anastasio).
  • Yongxiang Li (Ph.D). Paleomagnetism of the Valle Group, Baja California, Mexico, and environmental magnetism of White Lake, New Jersey, USA. (advisor: Kodama).
  • Lora Sterner (M.S.). Measuring the organic carbon biolability of the Lehigh River using plug-flow biofilm reactors (advisor: Morris).
  • Karina Walker (M.S.). Post-glacial vegetation and climate history of the Matanuska Valley, Alaska: a multiple proxy approach. (advisor: Yu).
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  • 2004
  • Aaron Clauser (Ph.D.). Zooplankton to amphibians: sensitivity to UVR in temporary pools. (advisor: Williamson).
  • Molly Malloy (M.S.). Rapid erosion at the Tsangpo knickpoint and exhumation of southeastern Tibet. (advisor: Zeitler).
  • Laura Shirey (M.S.). Mechanisms of UV radiation tolderance displayed by stream Mayfly nymphs. (advisor: Williamson).
  • Yen Tang (M.S.). Multidisciplinary approach to studying lake-level change, northern New Jersey (advisor: Meltzer).
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  • 2003
  • Joseph W. Corona (M.S.). The purple tide: A case study regarding the effect of elevation on the patch dynamics of Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), in the Great Swamp of Quakertown (Advisor: Windham).
  • K. Teryn Ebert (M.S.). Identifying glaciohydraulic supercooling at Hoffellsjokull and Kviarjokull, Iceland. (Advisor: Evenson).
  • Dani Frisbie (M.S.). The photobleaching potential of the Lehigh River at the Rt. 378 bridge. (Advisor: Don Morris).
  • Shawna Gilroy (M.S.). UV interactions with Dreissena larvae in a high UV lake. (Advisor: Williamson).
  • BangYeon Kim (Ph.D). Rock magnetism applied to tectonic and environmental problems. (Advisor: Kodama).
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  • 2002
  • Scott A. Alderfer (M.S.). X-ray photoelectron diffraction study of the lead sulfide surface. (Advisor: Moses).
  • Kurt L. Frankel (M.S.). Quantitative topographic differences between erosionally exhumed and tectonically active mountain fronts: Implications for late-Cenozoic evolution of the southern Rocky Mountains. (Advisor: Pazzaglia).
  • Nathan W. Harkins (M.S.). Neotectonics along the Red Rock Fault, Southwestern Montana: implications for fault kinematics and tectonic geomorphology. (Advisor: Anastasio).
  • Kathleen G. Kresge (Ph.D.). Bacterioplankton, DOM and UVR: A complex interaction in Lakes. (Advisor: Morris)
  • Adrienne C. Johnson (M.S.). Syntectonic fluid-rock interactions involving surficial and hydrothermal waters in the sevier thrust belt, Tendoy Montains, southwest Montana. (Advisor: Anastasio)
  • Emily J. MacFayden (M.S.). Molecular response to climate change: Effect of temperature on UVR-induced DNA damage in Daphnia. (Advisor: Williamson).
  • Nicholas J. Scala (M.S.). Neogene to present contractional growth structures and partitioning of strain along the San Andreas fault borderland, southern Point Arena Basin, offshore Northern California. (Advisor: Meltzer).
  • Jordan D. Vaughn (M.S.). Two studies on the accuracy of sedimentary paleomagnetic remanence, the effects of rapid deposition in a flume study and remanence of the Perforada Formationof Baja California. (Advisor: Kodama).
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ornamental image of rhododhendron and Tibetan stream