Two weeks into her first-ever research cruise, doctoral student Solveig Schilling still could not stop smiling. The trip, which was delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, would provide her with data that will form the basis of her research over the next five years. It was also the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
“Being on a ship and getting to do science: This is what I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid,” said Schilling, calling from on board the Tommy Munro research vessel in April.
Schilling is studying micropaleontology at the University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics. She peers into the past through the lens of a microscope, reading tiny fossils to reconstruct the stories of ancient environments. And her current mission is to piece together the history of a lost river valley that’s buried beneath the seafloor in the Gulf of Mexico.
What she and her shipmates learn could improve predictions for how climate change will alter the Texas coast. But the research has an additional, more practical purpose. The buried valley likely contains troves of a coveted resource that could help Texas prepare for the climate-driven s... Read more