St. Mary’s College of Maryland News for November 18, 2019

By: Michael Bruckler, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

St. Mary’s College Student Cam Kelley Published in UReCA: The NCHC Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity

St. Mary’s College Student Cam Kelley has been published inUReCA: The NCHC Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity. UReCA is an online, peer-reviewed journal that fosters the exchange of intellectual and creative work between undergraduate students, providing a platform where students can engage with and contribute to the advancement of their individual fields.

“Asking Advice Across Time” is a series of 12 narrative poems (https://nchcureca.com/asking-advice-across-time/) in a conversation between a female narrator and the statue Venus of Willendorf discussing femininity throughout history. The poems were written in Associate Professor of English Karen Leona Anderson’s 400-level poetry course on the poetic sequence. According to Kelley, “Anderson was a dedicated supervisor who helped me numerous times with edits and submissions.” 

Kelley has also been published in the Sprout Club Journal, Scholastic Best Teen Writing of 2016and Left of the Lakemagazine.

Selections for UReCA are made from submissions received by a team of undergraduates at multiple colleges across the nation. Submissions are received throughout the year and represent a wide range of subjects, including creative works, scientific studies, and humanities research. Submissions are received on a rolling basis, and final decisions are made every August. This year only 25 students were accepted into the journal at a 13 percent acceptance rate.


Associate Professor Kevin Emerson Published in Scientific Journal PLoS ONE

Associate Professor of Biology Kevin Emerson, along with his colleagues at SUNY Albany and Universidade de São Paulo, has recently been published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.  Their paper continues their studies on the relationship between land-use changes associated with deforestation and the genetic differentiation of the primary malaria-transmitting mosquitoes in the Amazon.

The full article can be found here: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/authors?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0225005


Assistant Professor Bowers and Alumnus Larsen ’19 Author Paper in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Geoffrey Bowers is the lead author on an article published this week in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C. St. Mary’s College alumnus Randy Larsen ’19 is co-authored on the paper “Influence of Smectite Structure and Hydration on Supercritical Methane Binding and Dynamics in Smectite Pores.” 

The paper is a continuation of Bower’s and Larsen’s long-standing work to try and understand the fundamentals of how fluid particles interact with surfaces and the details of how they stick and move on a molecular-scale. Through specialized experiments at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the two learned several important things about how methane interacts with pores.

One finding was that methane can be trapped in several different types of pores in packed clay, a common component of shales. They also provided the first clear evidence that the methane in these different types of pores can hop, or exchange, between the pores, as well as provided an idea of the rates that such exchange occurs – a critical component of understanding gas transport underground.  

They also learned that the chemical shift of the carbon in methane is sensitive to the size of the pore that methane dynamically explores, meaning methane can be used to measure pore sizes in porous materials.

The article can be found at https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcc.9b08875.

This is the seventh paper Bowers has authored or co-authored in the calendar year 2019.  He recently received the Norton T. Dodge Award for Scholarly and Creative Achievement by a Junior Faculty Member in 2019.


Students McPhillips and Welles Attend Naval Academy Science and Engineering Conference; McPhillips Presents Poster

St. Mary’s College environmental studies major Erin McPhillips ’20 and chemistry major Coleman Welles ’20 attended the ninth annual Naval Academy Science and Engineering Conference in Annapolis, Maryland, in November. The theme of the conference was Oceans: Exploration, Conservation, and Extreme Events. Both McPhillips and Welles hope to pursue careers in the environmental field.  

McPhillips presented a poster titled “Effects of Tidal Resuspension with Eastern Oyster, Crassostrea virginica, Biodeposits and Filtration in a Simulated Chesapeake Bay Ecosystem.”

Based on her summer research with Elka Porter, University of Baltimore, McPhillips tested the effect of oysters and biodeposit resuspension on the nutrient and oxygen dynamics, by performing two 4-week experiments in three turbulence resuspension mesocosm tanks and three non-resuspension tanks in 2018 and 2019.

All tanks contained defaunated muddy sediment and brackish estuarine water. In 2018, tanks received daily additions of oyster biodeposits, and in 2019 they contained 35 oysters per tank.

Sediment and biodeposit resuspension production were examined and recorded in each tank, along with seston, in-vivo fluorescence levels, and oyster growth. Nutrient and biogeochemical flux analyses are ongoing.


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