2005 Marvin L. Wesely Distinguished Graduate Research Environmental Fellowship Award


Erika Marin-Spiotta, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley has been selected to be awarded the third Marvin L. Wesely Distinguished Graduate Research Environmental Fellowship (GREF) by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Global Change Education Program (GCEP).

The award was established in honor of the late Dr. Marvin L. Wesely, Argonne National Laboratory senior meteorologist and chief scientist of the DOE Atmospheric Chemistry Program, who died Jan. 20, 2001 from heart cancer. The Marvin L. Wesely Fellowship is awarded to the Graduate Research Environmental Fellow (GREF) who has made the best use of their DOE mentor and facilities in improving the quality of his/her research efforts.  The award is given for a one-year period to a current GREF fellow who has been supported to do global change research as part of the Global Change Education Program (see http://www.atmos.anl.gov/GCEP/ for details).

The first Marvin L. Wesely Fellow was Dr. Heather Price of the University of Washington, Seattle, who has since graduated from that institution in the area of atmospheric chemistry. The second MLW Fellow was Dr. Steven Allison of Stanford University who obtained his Ph.D. in Environmental Microbiology.

Erika Marin-Spiotta has been a fellow in the GCEP Graduate Research Environmental Fellowship (GREF) program since September 2002. Her graduate research involves the study of how past land-use activities lead to differences in carbon sequestration in soils as the systems return to the original ecosystems after agricultural and/or pasture usage. Her studies have involved work in tropical ecosystems that were selected for study in Puerto Rico. Erika has been doing her GREF studies under the direction of Professor Whendee L. Silver in the Ecosystems Sciences Division in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at the University of California, Berkeley and her DOE Mentor Dr. Margaret Torn of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who is working in Carbon Sequestration and Ecosystem Research. As part of her research, Erika is applying isotopic methods for determining carbon turnover rates using both stable carbon isotopes and radiocarbon measurements making use of the facilities at LBNL and also at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories Center for Accelerator Mass Spectroscopy for 14C determinations. Ms. Marin-Spiotta has also made use of the 13C NMR facilities at the Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to examine weathered tropical soils under land use change. Erika has also been active as a mentor of undergraduates interested in ecological studies at the University of California, Berkeley. The GREF efforts of Erika Marin-Spiotta are yielding new insights into the soils of tropical ecosystems as a function of land use history that should aid in improving carbon sequestration strategies and land management in the tropics.


The Global Change Education Program is funded by the
U.S. Department of Energy

Office of Biological and Environmental Research