Summer Research

There are plenty of opportunities for geology and other science students to conduct research over the summer.

Wisconsin Freshwater Springs

A flowing stream in a forest. The Beloit College Geology Department will host a Keck Geology Consortium research project for rising sophomores in summer 2021. The project is part of the Gateway Program for students who are considering a major in science or earth science. Gateway research experiences are designed to deepen student’s understanding of the nature of the earth sciences and its intersections with socially relevant issues.

Professor Sue Swanson and four students will explore how local variations in topography, surficial geology, and bedrock geology influence the spatial distribution of temperature and geochemistry in freshwater springs. Using an infrared camera that is suspended above a spring pool, there are opportunities to examine the thermal properties of springs in a relatively quick and noninvasive manner. Our goal is to collect detailed temperature data sets from springs in a variety of geologic settings across Wisconsin. To complement the thermal data and further characterize spring pool characteristics that can influence aquatic habitat, field water quality indicators such as pH, specific conductance, and dissolved oxygen, will also be measured and mapped across each spring pool.

Springs serve many functions both locally and globally. In Wisconsin, they support the state’s vast wetlands, lakes, and world-class trout streams and sustain critical habitat for endangered and threatened species. Wisconsin’s springs are also part of a rich cultural history and contribute to agriculture and tourism, two of the largest economic enterprises in the state.

Testing the Impact of Forest Evolution on Devonian Black Shale Geochemistry

Professor Jay Zambito is leading a project that aims to decipher carbon cycle changes that occurred as a result of the evolution of forests during the Devonian (~375 million years ago). More specifically, we will use a variety of geochemical proxies to analyze organic-rich marine black shale deposited concurrently with the evolution and spread of forests in order to constrain terrestrial organic matter flux to the oceans at this time.

These summer research positions are tailored to rising seniors that plan to use this project for their geology senior theses.

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read our Web Privacy Policy for more information.

Got it! ×