Doctorate in Environmental Sciences

Seminar Series

The Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program hosts a weekly seminar series during the academic year featuring presentations by individuals (students, faculty and invited guests) discussing their research within the environmental sciences. These presentations are free and open to the public.

Click here to view previous semester's seminar schedules.

Our Next Seminar:


Monday, 1 December 2014 - 4:00 pm - Room CP 350

Paleogene Foralgal Reefs: The Once and Future Reefs?

Dr. Richard Fluegeman,
Ball State University

The reefs of the Paleogene Period (66-23 million years before the present) are environments where the framework builders of the reef are dominated by large (> 2 mm diameter) foraminifera and green algae. The term “foralgal reef” has been applied to these bioherms to distinguish them from the post-Paleogene coral reefs which have framework organisms dominated by corals and red coralline algae. The foralgal reefs developed and thrived under the “Greenhouse Earth” conditions (no standing continental ice) while the coral reefs developed and thrived under the “Icehouse Earth” conditions of the Neogene –Recent. Modern coral reefs are currently under ecologic stress due to increasing water temperatures, rising eustatic sea-level, and increasing nutrient levels among other factors. There is interest in the Paleogene foralgal reefs as they may represent the ultimate result of global change on modern reefs.

Despite being known for over 100 years, there has been no comprehensive global study of foralgal reefs to develop a standard paleoecologic model. The main paleoecologic proxy will be the fossil foraminifera. Foraminifera are single celled organisms and provide information on temperature, salinity, water depth, distance from shore, and nutrient levels. They serve as excellent paleoecologic proxies as they are abundant and well preserved in the foralgal reef limestones. These characteristics, along with their relatively small size, allow for large, statistically significant populations of foraminifera to be obtained from each sample.

The main focus of this project will be the unstudied foralgal reef recovered in 2011 from Integrated Ocean Drilling Project (IODP) core U1376 on Burton Seamount in the Louisville Seamount Chain. This is an interesting sequence as it may be the oldest known foralgal reef (earliest Paleogene). This interval of time follows a mass extinction event and the reef likely developed in response to the end of the cool water, low productivity “Strangelove Ocean”. Burton Seamount is an isolated, submarine extinct volcanic peak with a well-documented subsidence history. This will permit the study of reef development in the absence of active volcanism, convergent tectonics, and continental influence.

Download a flyer (PDF) for this presentation.

This Semester's Seminar Schedule:

Perdue Monday, 18 August, 2014
Dr. Michael Perdue,
Director Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program

"Introduction to the Seminar Series"

Monday, 25 August, 2014
Dr. Andrew Hunt,
US Geological Survey

"Application of Noble Gas Geochemistry to USGS Scientific Investigations"

Monday, 1 September, 2014

Labor Day - No Seminar


Monday, 8 September, 2014
Dr. William Richardson,
US Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

“Quantitative Analysis of Fatty Acids: A Biochemical Tool to Evaluate Food Quality, Source and Animal Health”


Monday, 15 September, 2014
Dr. Randy Bernot,
Ball State University

“Body Snatching Parasites: What Are They and What Are They Doing to Our Aquatic Ecosystems?”

Monday, 22 September, 2014
Dr. Emil Khisamutdinov,
Ball State University

"Enhancing Immunomodulation Effect by Shape Transition Among RNA Triangle, Square, and Pentagon Nanovehicles."


Monday, 29 September, 2014
Dr. Zhihai Li,
Ball State University

“Atomic and Molecular Point of View on Environmental Protection and Surface Corrosion”


Monday, 6 October, 2014
Dr. Thomas Lauer,
Ball State University 

“Exotic Critters of our Great Lakes (and other places): Biological Pollution in Action”


Monday, 13 October, 2014
Dr. Michael Sukop,
Florida International University

"The Enigmatic Biscayne Aquifer"


Monday, 20 October, 2014

Fall Break - No Seminar


Monday, 27 October, 2014
Dr. Lee Florea,
Ball State University

“Rates of Inorganic Carbon Flux and Landscape evolution in the Karst Aquifers of the Appalachian Lowland Plateaus”

Monday, 3 November, 2014
Jason Doll,
Candidate, Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program

"History and Management of Walleye (Sander vitreus) in Indiana Reservoirs"


*TUESDAY*, 11 November, 2014

Dr. Eric Roden,
University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Iron Isotope Fractionation by Microbial Iron Reduction in Modern and Ancient Sediments"


Monday, 17 November, 2014
Lee Moores,
Candidate, Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program 

"The Tenets of Green Chemistry"


Monday, 24 November, 2014
Nicole Chodkowski,
Candidate, Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program 

"Exploring Nature’s Cryptic Show: The Importance of Parasites in Ecosystems"


Monday, 1 December, 2014
Dr. Richard Fluegeman,
Ball State University

"Paleogene Foralgal Reefs: The Once and Future Reefs?"

  Monday, 8 December, 2014

Ball State University Career Services - Speaker to be determined.

"Resume Creation for the Beginning Scientist"