Faculty Research

The Department of Earth, Environmental, and Geospatial Sciences at NDSU complements its undergraduate geology program with strong research interests.  Undergraduate and graduate students are involved in most projects.

The  interdisciplinary graduate program in Environmental and Conservation Sciences (ECS) plays an important role in recruiting graduate students to the Department.

Allan Ashworth's primary research interests are in paleontology and stratigraphy. He is currently working on the paleoecology of a terrestrial fossil assemblage from the late Tertiary Sirius Group in the Transantarctic Mountains, about 500 km from the South Pole. He is also studying full-glacial beetle faunas from the Pacific Northwest and from southern Chile. As a result of a collaborative study involving testing of biogeographic hypotheses using molecular genetics, he has become progressively more interested on how the results of paleontological studies might be used to predict the response of insects to global warming. 

Stephanie Day’s research focuses on landscape evolution as a result of anthropogenic and natural changes.  Dr. Day also uses a variety of tools to better understand landscape changes over a variety of temporal and spatial scales.  In addition, she works on exploring diverse applications for using terrestrial laser scanning to better understand the environmental and human systems.  

Ben Laabs'primary interest is in the study of surficial geology for the purpose of understanding how surface flowing ice and water have responded to climate changes in the past.  Through his research he has developed expertise in glacial geology, paleoclimatology, geochronology and geomorphology. Nearly all of his ongoing studies involve field and analytical components, chiefly cosmogenic 10Be surface exposure dating and numerical modeling of surface processes.

Ken Lepper's research is centered around technique development and advanced applications for Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating, an emerging tool for Quaternary geochronology and geomorphology studies.  Specific areas of interest include development and refinement of analytical methods with the goal of more accurate dating of waterlain sediments (fluvial, glacial-fluvial lacustrine, glacial-lacustrine) as well as adaptation of the technique for age dating on Mars.

Peter Oduor carries out research on the fate and transport of contaminants in groundwater systems using experiments, field observations, and theory. He also applies Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to model flow in 4-D.

Bernhardt Saini-Eidukat studies mineralogy, petrology, ore deposit geology and geochemistry. He has researched magmatism in Patagonia, Argentina, ore deposits of Cu-Ni, gold, and the rare metal germanium. He has also been involved in research to assess whether active learning of geologic concepts be promoted using role-playing software. Other projects include investigations of heavy metals in soils of the Upper Midwest, and current research on environmental mineralogy in western North Dakota.

Donald Schwert has diverse research interests, ranging from reconstruction of late Quaternary climates to the development of tools for enhancing earth science education. His current research focuses on the tension between human occupation and geologic processes in the South Pacific.

Lydia Tackett researches the effects of large-scale environmental perturbations on paleoecological structure of marine communities during the Mesozoic Era. Her work incorporates paleontology, sedimentology, and isotope geochemistry to characterize complex relationships between environment, biology, and ecology. ​

Scott Wood is a geochemist with interests in ore deposit geology and behavior of rare earth elements (REEs) in geochemical systems.


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