What Shells Tell: Studying Abalone with Meghan Zulian

Shellfish, along with other marine organisms, are facing a crisis, one that affects the integrity of their shells. As carbon dioxide emissions increase in the atmosphere, so too does the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by our oceans, leading to ocean acidification. Graduate student Meghan Zulian has devoted her doctoral studies to understanding how ocean acidification, and more broadly climate change, affects culturally, economically and ecologically important shellfish, including abalone

Geerat Vermeij Discusses New Book ‘The Evolution of Power: A New Understanding of the History of Life’

For decades, Geerat Vermeij has forged an illustrious career in the sciences by studying the intricacies of ancient seashell fossils. The findings he’s gleaned from his meticulous work have yielded broader insights about evolution, humanity, biology, economics and now, the role of power. In his new book, Vermeij explores how “the history of life on Earth can be meaningfully and informatively interpreted as a history of power” with the human species representing the current apex.

Deciphering the Black Box of Volcanoes: Kari Cooper Receives Norman L. Bowen Award

A fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Geological Society of America, geochemist Kari Cooper, a professor of earth and planetary sciences in the College of Letters and Science at UC Davis, 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.

Reanalysis Shows Dinosaurs Not So Warm-Blooded

Modern birds and mammals are “warm-blooded” or endothermic, maintaining a constant body temperature and generating heat internally, while reptiles rely on heat from their surroundings. It has been known for some time that at least some dinosaurs, including the direct ancestors of modern birds, were also endotherms. 

Aluminum Isotope in the Early Solar System

A little over four and a half billion years ago, dust circling our young sun was collecting into balls that would become planets. Heat from radioactive decay melted these balls of dust into blobs of molten rock, growing as they accumulated more material. A small piece of one of these molten objects broke away and traveled around the solar system for eons before falling to Earth as a meteorite in the Algerian desert. Now, very accurate dating of this meteorite is giving new insight into the formation of the Solar System. The work, by an international team including Professor Qingzhu Yin and colleagues at the UC Davis Department of Earth and Planetary Science and collaborators at Australian National University, was published Aug. 29 in Nature Communications.

A Career Built in Deep Time: Geochemist and Paleoclimatologist Isabel Montañez Wins Arthur L. Day Medal

Over the course of her career, Distinguished Professor Isabel Montañez has created a research niche in the fields of geochemistry and paleoclimatology: applying an Earth systems science approach to recreate Earth from eons past. For her monumental work in the geology field, Montañez recently received the Geological Society of America’s Arthur L. Day Medal.

Helping Clams Deal With Climate Change Using Interdisciplinary Tools

As we reckon with the effects of climate change, so too must the other organisms that call Earth home. But what if you couldn’t move away from your dwelling to escape a threat? What if your shelter, your refuge, was a part of your body? Shellfish face this plight. Supported by an $80,000 California Sea Grant Graduate Research Fellowship, UC Davis doctoral candidate Hannah Kempf is exploring how to unify modern scientific techniques with Indigenous shellfish management practices to help protect shellfish from ocean acidification.