Frenkel ’16 Paper on Deep Sea Coral published in Academic Journal

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Megan Frenkel (Freiberger) ’16 preparing a coral sample at the National Ocean Sciences Accelerator (NOSAMS) mass spectrometry facility in Woods Hole

Megan Frenkel ’16 is making waves in ocean science. Frenkel, who changed his name from Freiberger last year, is the lead author of a recently published article in the journal High Seas Research I. Frenkel, majoring in chemistry and earth sciences and oceanography, became researcher Clare Boothe Luce as well as a visiting student at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She is now a graduate student at Columbia University. The project on which his article is based was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation to Frenkel’s Supervisor at Bowdoin, Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences and Oceanography Michèle LaVigne.

The research for his paper, “Quantifying the Nonlinearity of Bamboo Coral Growth Rate with Radiocarbon Bomb Peak: A New Model for the Development of Paleooceanographic Chronology,” was carried out with the help of co-author Hannah Miller ’17; LaVigne was the main author. Colleagues Tessa Hill from UC Davis and Ann McNichol and Mary Lardie Gaylord from the National Ocean Sciences Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Facility (NOSAMS) in Woods Hole also participated in the project.

LaVigne said that Frenkel had successfully used radiocarbon dating techniques to reconstruct coral growth, “and she found that the growth rates of these corals slow down as they get bigger. Previously, it was believed that they were increasing at a constant rate. This is a critical discovery for paleooceanographers who use these corals as climate records, “she continued,” because it allows us to interpret our climate records with a time scale. And because it advances our understanding of bamboo coral growth, it helps us measure how quickly deep-sea coral habitats might recover from damage. “

Deep sea bamboo coral. Photo: Tessa Hill

LaVigne said that Frenkel and Miller had impressed his collaborators on this project with the quality of their work at NOSAMS up to the writing of the article. “When Meg presented her thesis at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting in her senior year, several of my colleagues in the field assumed she was presenting her doctorate. research. Meg and Hannah also won the award for best student poster when they presented this project to an international audience at the 2016 International Sclerochronology Conference last summer.

Frenkel said the article has evolved a lot over time, from some initial results she presented as part of her distinction project. “It’s great to have a final product from these two years of work. As the first article, this is certainly an academic, professional and personal achievement.

“I am proud of this work and hope that the community of scientists studying bamboo corals will find it useful.” Frenkel said the work also allowed him to conduct research at other institutions, connect with other scientists, “and start seeing myself as a ‘real’ scientist, which ultimately led me to to pursue my doctorate. program at Columbia University.

“Above all,” she said, “I feel incredibly lucky to have found not only an inspiring project, but a fabulous teammate to Hannah (Miller) and an irreplaceable advisor to Michèle (LaVigne). them, the EOS department, my co-authors, and anyone who offered feedback, help, and encouragement throughout the process.


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