Faculty Research Interest
Recent Publications and Presentations
Research Activities and Pictures
Faculty Research Interests
Dr. Isam E. Amin (ieamin AT ysu DOT edu); Ph.D., University of Nevada-Reno, 1987
Specialization: hydrogeology, environmental geochemistry, and environmental geology
Dr. Amin’s research interests focus on the quantification of natural hydrologic processes. He believes that quantification of these processes leads to the highest level of their understanding. Dr. Amin has published research on the quantification of groundwater residence times, groundwater recharge, groundwater leakage between aquifers, seawater intrusion, groundwater mining, movement of groundwater contaminants between rivers and their banks (Mahoning River in northeastern Ohio), and sediment transport in streams and rivers. He has also published on the water resources of Lebanon and intra-state water conflicts with special emphasis on the water resources of the politically and economically marginalized regions of Sudan – Eastern, Western (Darfur), and Southern Sudan. While at YSU, Dr. Amin has involved five undergraduate students and six graduate students, including three students from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon in his research projects. Of the 11 students, 8 were co-authors on 8 papers presented at national conferences (annual meetings of the Geological Society of America) and one was a co-author on a conference proceeding paper.
Dr. Felicia P. Armstrong (fparmstrong AT ysu DOT edu); Ph.D., Oklahoma State University, 2003
Specialization: environmental chemistry of soils, ecotoxicology, and soils remediation
Most of Dr. Armstrong’s research is centered around soil and water contamination and their affects on plants and organisms. Interests include: 1) Investigation of native Ohio plants for use in remediation of contaminated soils. Several varieties of native grasses have been grown in zinc and lead contaminated soils for potential use in phytoremediation. To identify where these plants may be most usable, analysis for metal contaminants in the shoreline of the Mahoning River will start in the fall 2008; 2) Biomonitoring using macro-invertebrates. Used macroinvertebrate diversity and chronomids deformalities to evaluate clean-up of the Shenango River (Westinghouse superfund site). Sediment samples were collected and analyzed for the absence or presence of certain varieties of macro-invertebrates and ; 3) The Shenango River is also part of research to identify spawning areas of walleye, which are a popular recreational fish that are currently stocked in the Shenango Lake. With better management of river banks and water flow there is the potential to improve the natural spawning of this popular fish; 4) Wetlands are under constant threat due to destruction or contamination. Several wetland studies are being conducted including water quality changes in suburban wetland and diversification of a monoculture in a wet meadow using various shading levels and water depth.
Dr. Raymond E. Beiersdorfer (ray AT cc.ysu DOT edu); Ph.D., University of California-Davis, 1992
Specialization: environmental geochemistry, metamorphic and igneous petrology, tectonics, and environmental geology
Throughout the early stages of his career, the main focus of Dr. Beiersdorfer's research was to increase understanding of the geochemical processes that occur during the low-temperature fluid-rock interaction of basaltic rocks. He began studying terrestrial basalts, in 1994 expanded to include the lunar environment, and on research problems in soil geochemistry, specifically on the development of a solid-substrate, slowrelease fertilizer for space and terrestrial applications. Essential plant nutrients, as well as a solid support substrate, can be provided by a synthetic soil, composed of ammonium- and potassium-saturated clinoptilolite (a mineral) and apatite (a calcium phosphate). This zeoponic-substrate can provide slow-release fertilization of plants via dissolution and ion-exchange reactions. A better understanding of the ability of zeoponic-substrates to release essential nutrients is an important step in NASA's long-term goal of implementing a regenerative life support system for Lunar and Martian outposts. This technology has been embraced enthusiastically by organizations and companies concerned with nutrient pollution due to conventional liquid fertilizer application. Dr. Beiersdorfer makes an effort to include YSU students in his research and to assist them in finding research opportunities in areas outside his expertise. The premier example of this is the effect Dr. Beiersdorfer has had on the career of one particular YSU Geology B.S. graduate (1999). In 1998, Dr. Beiersdorfer received funding for the student to work at the NASA Johnson Space Center as a component of his NASA/ASEE Faculty Fellowship. The research was published in the NASA Contractors Report - 1999-208923. The student received several grants directly related to this work, is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program in Planetary Science at Arizona State University studying the geology of Mars, and was chosen by NASA as a collaborating scientist for the 2003 Mars Rover Mission.
Dr. Jeffrey C. Dick (jcdick AT ysu DOT edu); Ph.D., Kent State University, 1992
Specialization: engineering geology, hydrogeology, geophysics, and petroleum geology
Dr. Dick's primary research interests are centered around ground water occurrence and contamination, coastal processes of Lake Erie and San Salvador, Bahamas, and geographic information system applications in the geosciences. The primary focus of Professor Dick’s academic career has been integrating technology and field experiences to improve undergraduate education. His efforts were initially supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (1993) which funded the acquisition of geophysical and drilling equipment to support hydrogeology and subsurface investigation courses. Dick also established an international studies course based in San Salvador, Bahamas in 1993 with the purpose of providing a field-based course (Field Investigations in Geology) for exploring new methods in undergraduate geoscience education. Over the past fifteen years this course has produced more than twenty undergraduate research projects, one master’s thesis (in progress) and four separate professional publications. Professor Dick has also served Youngstown State University since 2003 as Director of Undergraduate Research and is the main force behind increased student and faculty participation in the YSU QUEST research event.
Dr. Alan M. Jacobs (jmjacobs AT ysu DOT edu); Ph. D. Indiana University, 1967
Specialization: engineering/environmental/surficial geology, hazardous waste management
Professor Jacobs has been an interdepartmental/intercollege instructor in the following programs since 1996: Environmental Studies (undergraduate and graduate), Geology (undergraduate), Environmental Engineering (graduate), and Public Health (graduate). He also developed the Masters Program in Environmental Studies at YSU. He spent a sabbatical year in Italy (2003-04), lecturing and conducting research, at the University of Genoa (Ph.D. students in Environmental Chemical Engineering and undergraduates in General Engineering) and also at D’Appolonia S.p.A. Professor Jacobs has completed consulting projects throughout the United States and in Italy, Spain, Sweden, Venezuela, the Caspian Sea Coast, Pakistan, and Korea involving the siting of major construction projects. He was the project manager on the Woodlawn Landfill superfund site from 1988-93, after which he continued peer-reviewed published research on monitoring contaminant attenuation in the groundwater at that site. Dr. Jacobs has also developed specialized techniques and hardware for underground and underwater television probes used in boreholes, monitoring wells, and mines and subsurface investigations using these probes have been conducted in 16 US states. Professor Jacobs has received external funding from: Ohio Environmental Education Fund (PI, No. 97G-062) May 1, 1997 - October 31, 1998- “Environmental Education for Adult Audiences Using Theatrical Presentation” Total: $46,174; National Science Foundation (No. DUE 9552347) “Instrument and Laboratory Improvement -- Environmental Studies Program” Total: $30,000; Ohio Environmental Education Fund (No. 98G-018) May 15, 1998 - June 30, 1999- extended to December 31, 1999 “Curriculum Development in Risk Assessment” Total: $34,071;
Recent Publications and Presentations
Ridgway, K. D., Thoms, E. E., Layer, P. W., Lesh, M. E., and Smith, Shane V., 2007, Neogene Transpressional Foreland Basin Development on the North Side of the Central Alaska Range, Usibelli Group and Nenana Gravel, Tanana Basin: Geological Society of America Special Paper 431; p. 507-548.
Jacobs, Alan M., Amin, I.E., and Fisher, O.N., 2007. Persistence of Vinyl Chloride in Ground Water at the Woodlawn Landfill Superfund Site, Northeastern Maryland, USA., Environmental Geology , vol. 52, pp. 1253-1260.
Amin, Isam E. and Jacobs, Alan M., 2007. Accounting for Sediment Sources and Sinks in the Linear Regression Analysis of the Suspended Sediment Load of Streams: The Rio Puerco, New Mexico as an Example, Environmental Geosciences, vol. 14, pp.1-14.
Smith, Shane V., and Wolff, J. A., 2009. Emplacement of the Wilbur Creek, Lapwai, and Asotin flows, Columbia River Basalt Group: GSA Abstracts with Programs, v. 41, no. 7, p. 225.
Jacobs, Alan, Isam Amin, Jennifer Jacobs, and Steve Buffone. 2009. Contaminant Transport from Banks to River Channel is Significant, Mahoning River, Ohio. Ohio River Basin Consortium for Research and Education, Hanover College, Hanover, Indiana, October 2009.
Armstrong, F. P. and N. T. Basta. 2008. The Use of Plant and Earthworms for Evaluation of Iron-based Remediation of Arsenic Contaminated Soils. Agron. Abstr. (CD-ROM) Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting, Houston, TX, Oct. 5-9.Smith, Shane V., 2008. Sedimentology and stratigraphy fieldtrips in the urban jungle of Youngstown, Ohio: GSA Abstracts with Programs v. 40, no. 6, p. 232
Beiersdorfer, R. E., Smith, Shane V., and Sturrus, W. G., 2008, The Ohio Partnership for the Far East Region Science Teachers: GSA Abstracts with Programs v. 40, no. 6, p. 248.
Amin, Isam and Alan Jacobs. 2008. Contaminant Transport between river bank sediment and the water in the channel of the Mahoning River, Ohio. Ohio River Basin Consortium for Research and Education, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. October 2008.
Smith, Shane V., and Wolff, J. A., 2007. A fused tuff in the Tertiary Grande Ronde Basalt, Columbia River Basalt Group, west-central Idaho: GSA Abstracts with Programs v. 39, no. 6, p. 392.
Smith, Shane V., and Dick, J. D., 2007. Learning geology by doing geology: integrating authentic research and field investigations to improve students’ understanding of geology: GSA Abstracts with Programs v. 39, no. 6, p. 580.
Water Quality Investigations in the Cranberry Run Wetland - Graduate and undergraduate student took and analyzed water samples from surface water and subsurface water.
Investigation on walleye spawning in the Shenango River - Graduate students are setting egg mats in the Shenango River to trap fish eggs. Graduate and undergraduate students are removing eggs trapped on the egg mats.
Wet Meadow research (left), Mahoning River shoreline soil analysis for metals (right)
Shenango River fish and macro-invertebrate sampling