Monday, June 13, 2022

2022 Division Awards for Outstanding Geobiologists

Every year the GBGM executive committee selects exceptional scholars to receive awards for their accomplishments in research, education/mentoring, and service in geobiology. This year we had an exceptional list of nominees so thanks to all those who nominated someone!

We are pleased to announce that the 2022 awards go to Lidya Tarhan (pre-tenure), Cara Santelli (post-tenure), and John Valley (distinguished career). Please check out their brief biographies below and explore their websites for further details about their research.

Pre-Tenure Award Recipient: Lidya Tarhan (Yale University)

Dr. Lidya Tarhan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Yale University and an Assistant Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology at the Yale Peabody Museum. Her research focuses on using the sedimentary record to reconstruct the co-evolution of ancient life and environments during critical intervals of Earth’s history. She also investigates the processes responsible for fossilization and how preservational biases modify stratigraphic and geobiological archives. She combines field-based paleontological and sedimentological investigations with a geochemical, petrographic and modeling toolkit. Her recent work has centered on reconstructing the emergence of early animals as ecosystem engineers. In addition to her geologic investigations, she also studies the environmental factors shaping animal-sediment interactions in modern marine settings.

Post-Tenure Award Recipient: Cara Santelli (University of Minnesota) 

Dr. Cara Santelli is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the BioTechnology Institute at the University of Minnesota.  Cara is a geomicrobiologist who examines the impact of microbial activity on wide-ranging geological and environmental processes.  In addition to answering key questions on the mechanisms, metabolic pathways, and geochemical impact of mineral-metal-microbe interactions, her research seeks to inform and improve strategies for remediating pollutants to improve the health of water and soil environments. Her work also seeks to advance environmental justice through community based participatory research that prioritizes and addresses the voices of communities.

Distinguished Career Award Recipient: John Valley (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

John Valley is the Emeritus Van Hise Professor of Geochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he has taught for 36 years. Valley is interested by all kinds of rocks (igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary) of all ages (Hadean to Recent). He has worked to improve microanalysis techniques of stable isotope ratios by laser and ion beam, and founded the WiscSIMS Lab at UW-Madison. His current projects investigate zircons and their inclusions to understand evolution of the crust and growth of continents. He has collaborated in geobiology research employing in situ analysis of O and C isotopes to evaluate vital effects vs. diagenesis, examine seasonality and paleoclimatology, determine migration history and paleodiet, and test biogenicity. This has included samples ranging from modern foraminifera, mollusks, otoliths, and  teeth to Earth’s oldest microfossils. Its been a lot of fun.

Please join us in congratulating these exceptional scientists at the 2022 GSA Connect Meeting in Denver; the awardees will be giving invited talks in our "New Voices in Geobiology" and "New Advances in Geobiology" sessions! Awards will be presented at the Geobiology Division Award Presentation (a.k.a. the GBGM Lunch).