NOVA Science Seminar: SI’s Leslie on Rorqual Whales via drones, DNA, & fossils

All Faculty, Staff, and Students are cordially invited to a Science Seminar

Friday, September 29, 2017
CE Building, Forum
12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.

Matthew S. Leslie
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution)


“Integrating DNA, Drones, and Fossils to Clarify Relationships Among Rorqual Whales”

Abstract: The systematic relationships among the lunge-feeding whales (rorquals; family Balaenopteridae) have been difficult to resolve, resulting in a history of taxonomic confusion. I am approaching this problematic group using a combination of traditional taxonomy and cutting-edge research techniques. I am integrating DNA sequencing of Ultra-Conserved Elements for molecular systematics, morphological examination and re-description of a Miocene rorqual for anchoring early divergence dates, and pioneering the use of drones to test subspecific relationships within blue whales. This presentation will provide highlights and updates on these ongoing initiatives aimed at the resolution of evolutionary relationships among rorqual whales.

Bio: Dr. Leslie uses emerging technology, natural history collections, field research, and genetics to describe marine mammal diversity for conservation management decisions. Currently he focuses on elucidating the evolutionary relationships of balaenopterid whales using skulls, DNA, and drones. In addition to research, Dr. Leslie strives to inspire others to fall in love with Earth’s wildlife and wild places through teaching and public education.
Education: Ph.D. Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 2016; M.S. Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 2011

For upcoming seminars and further information on the NOVA Seminar Series visit


GSW 1521: Rifts and columns

The 1521st meeting of the Society will be on
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
featuring :

Columnar Jointing Mechanics in Three Dimensions
Michael Ryan
, The Magma Physics Project

Normal faulting and graben development as catalysts for Late Cenozoic landscape change, Fish Lake Plateau, Utah
Chuck Bailey
, The College of William & Mary

Evolution of a Neoproterozoic intracontinental rift: New insights from provenance analysis of conglomerates in the Mount Rogers Formation, SW Virginia
Beth McClellan
, Radford University

Meeting flyer to post

20 minutes each

Refreshments at 7:30 PM; Formal program at 8:00 PM
John Wesley Powell Auditorium, 2170 Florida Avenue NW, Washington, DC

UMD: Kelsey Young on The Integration of Field Portable Instruments into Planetary Surface Exploration

2017 University of Maryland Geology Colloquium Series

Friday, September 22nd 2017 at 3:00 pm
in PLS 1130

Kelsey Young
NASA/Jacobs Technology Inc.

The Integration of Field Portable Instruments into Planetary Surface Exploration

While the six Apollo lunar surface missions were successful in returning samples to Earth and developing a better understanding of lunar geologic history, the next generation of crewed planetary surface exploration will seek to develop a deeper understanding of the Inner Solar System. New and higher-resolution technology will enable future human crews to rapidly and in real-time collect and interpret geochemical and geophysical data, whether it is on the Moon, Mars, or an asteroid. These technologies not only have applications in planetary exploration but also in industry and mining, as any in situ tool rapidly increases the rapid and real-time capabilities of the user. This flexibility is crucial in instrument development, as any crew member will seek to deploy these technologies in a number of different capacities during long-duration spaceflight. This presentation focuses on the multiple uses of field portable instrumentation, its incorporation into NASA operational field tests, and how ongoing field campaigns seek to evaluate the operational concepts for using in situ analytical capabilities in future exploration.

Open House at NOAA Center in College Park, Maryland Sept. 16

The NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction will host an open house on Saturday, Sept. 16, at its College Park, Maryland, campus. The public is invited to tour the facility and meet NOAA research scientists and meteorologists to explore how they forecast and monitor the weather across the country, use satellite data, track atmospheric dispersion of airborne material, and model air quality.

Watch global weather and climate systems come to life on NOAA’s newest Science on a Sphere®, a 3D educational tool. Sphere presenters will use satellite data and other datasets to explore swirling hurricanes, atmospheric rivers, clouds, ocean currents and global climate patterns such as El Nino.

WHAT:  Open House, Science on a Sphere ribbon cutting at 10:30 a.m.

WHEN:  Saturday, Sept. 16, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

WHERE: NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction
5830 University Research Court
College Park, MD 20740

Admission is free, and government-issued photo I.D. is required for entry. Free parking is available, and a free University of Maryland shuttle bus service is available every 15 mins from the College Park Metro station. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from your favorite food trucks.

MEDIA RSVP: Reporters must register to attend by emailing


  • Watch a weather balloon launch
  • Learn the ABC’s of weather forecasting
  • Hear stories from a hurricane hunter pilot and a NOAA Corps officer
  • See how scientists measure and model pollutants in the atmosphere
  • View live microorganisms from the Chesapeake Bay
  • Meet a forecaster on the National Forecast Operations Desk
  • Learn about NOAA’s exciting science and service to America

This is the center’s first open house since opening the building five years ago. This open house supports NOAA’s efforts to build a Weather-Ready Nation, one that is ready, responsive and resilient to extreme weather, water and climate events. For the schedule and more information about the open house, visit:

Media contact
Maureen O’Leary, 301-427-9000

Paleontological Society of Washington sept. 2017 meeting

The Paleontological Society of Washington

7:00 pm, Wednesday, September 20

National Museum of Natural History, Constitution Ave. entrance

New frontiers in crinoid paleobiology: building and exploring the crinoid tree of life

Selina R. Cole

Springer Post-doctoral Fellow Department of Paleobiology
National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

Crinoids are a diverse group of marine invertebrates with a rich fossil record that spans nearly 500 million years and includes over 8,000 named species. Recently, significant efforts have been made to resolve evolutionary relationships among crinoids, resulting in major advances in understanding the crinoid tree of life. As a result, crinoids are rapidly becoming a model group for addressing paleontological questions within an evolutionary context. This has opened many new avenues for research in crinoid paleobiology, including studies of extinction, evolutionary radiation, paleoecology, and morphologic change.

Non-Smithsonian visitors will be escorted from the Constitution Ave. entrance of the NMNH to the Q?rius auditorium at 6:50 and 6:55 p.m. Society members will host the speaker for dinner at the Elephant & Castle (1201 Pennsylvania Ave.) prior to the meeting. Members may meet at the restaurant or inside the Constitution Ave. entrance of the NMNH at 5:00 and walk to the restaurant as a group.

GSW 1521: Rifts and the extrusive rocks within them

The Geological Society of Washington
founded 1893
MICHAEL RYAN, The Magma Physics Project
Columnar jointing mechanics in three dimensions
CHUCK BAILEY, The College of William & Mary
Normal faulting and graben development as catalysts for Late
Cenozoic landscape change, Fish Lake Plateau, Utah
BETH MCCLELLAN, Radford University
Evolution of a Neoproterozoic intracontinental rift: New insights
from provenance analysis of conglomerates in the Mount Rogers
Formation, SW Virginia
Refreshments at 7:30 p.m. Formal program at 8:00 p.m.
John Wesley Powell Auditorium
2170 Florida Avenue NW, Washington, DC

Meeting flyer to post

Wendy Bohon on “rocks from space” (Nerd Nite)

Nerd Nite for September 9, 2017

Nerd Nite Plays Rock, Paper, Scissors! 

Just in time for heading back to school, we’re going to get reacquainted with rock, paper, scissors, Nerd Nite style! Get your three-ring binders, textbook covers and new kicks ready to roll. Wendy Bohon will be talking rocks from space, Carrie Smith is going to tell us how to save our paper, and Jill Nelson will make sure you know how to cut the right wire when monitoring a solar eclipse! And we’ll also be welcoming back our special guest host Rachel Pendergrass!

Where: DC9 Nightclub at 1940 9th St NW, just south of U St.
When: September 9th, 2017. Doors at 6PM. Show starts at 6:30 and ends around 8:30.
Tickets: Get your tickets here. $10 each.

We’ll also have t-shirts, buttons and stickers for sale. And, yes, we take credit card!

Wendy Bohon


ROCKS FROM SPACE!…or Using ASTER Remote Sensing Data to Make Geologic Maps of Remote Locations in the Ladakh Himalaya 

Wendy Bohon started out her academic career in Theatre but after taking a Geology class in college she released her inner science nerd and got a double major in Theatre and Geology from James Madison University. From there she to moved to LA to pursue a career in acting which again got derailed by geology – this time in the form of the Hector Mine earthquake. After that life shaking event she went to work as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program in Pasadena. Finally succumbing to the siren song of science, Wendy went back to school and earned an MSc in Geology from THE Ohio State University and a PhD in Geology/Tectonics from Arizona State University. She now studies earthquakes and mountain building processes and is passionate about science education and communication. Wendy is currently the Informal Education Specialist and Science Communicator for the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology and serves on the National Leadership Board for 500 Women Scientists.

more details here