Geologist Tracy Frank has earned respect from many of her colleagues at UNL and across the nation – demonstrated by her recent election to the 2015 class of Geological Society of America Fellows.
Fellowship in the society, which is made up of thousands of Earth scientists, is an honor bestowed on the best in the profession.
Frank, Susan J. Rosowski Professor and chair of Earth and atmospheric sciences, has been a member of the society since she was in graduate school. She said she had not expected the honor, which she shares this year with more than 70 others.
“It is a recognition from a community of my peers,” Frank said. “To me, it was a nice surprise that my colleagues decided my research was worthy of this recognition.”
Fellows must be nominated by existing GSA Fellows and are elected by the society’s governing council. Linda C. Kah, an associate professor in Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, nominated Frank. Two others wrote letters in support.
“Tracy Frank combines a background strength as a carbonate petrologist and sedimentologist with skills in stable isotope geochemistry and a superb knowledge of oceanographic processes to create a formidable partnership with which to explore ocean chemistry signals throughout geologic time,” Kah wrote in her nomination letter.
Frank’s selection was based on her research, which uses limestone to examine changes in the oceans and climate over the span of millions, even billions, of years.
“Limestones are produced by organisms with shells and skeletons,” Frank said. “These limestones have a biological origin, but they’re also chemical precipitates. Because of that, they serve as biological and chemical archives of past oceans. I can use the assemblages of organisms that are preserved in the rock for clues to the environment and I can also use the chemistry of the rocks, the chemical signals preserve information on things like temperature and nutrient levels. Looking at changes in these proxies through time, we can infer changes in the oceans and climate.”
Frank has earned numerous teaching awards, an NSF CAREER Award and has published more than 50 refereed articles. She joins the ranks of other GSA fellows in her department, including Christopher Fielding, Professor and Coffman Chair of Sedimentary Geology; R. Matthew Joeckel, professor; David Loope, Professor and Schultz Chair in Stratigraphy; Vitaly Zlotnik, professor; and Priscilla Grew, professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences and director of the the University Museum.