Ben Fertig's dissertation defense; 6 July 2010

Bill Dennison ·
7 July 2010
Learning Science | 

Ben Fertig, graduate student, became Dr. Ben Fertig following his successful dissertation defense at Horn Point Laboratory on 6 July 2010. His thesis is titled "Stable nitrogen isotopes (δ15N) in the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) as an indicator of nitrogen source". Ben gave a powerpoint thesis summary (5 years compressed into 45 minute talk) to a large gathering of Horn Point faculty and students. His powerpoint slides provide a great case study of organization, clean graphics, active titles, use of animations (aka, builds), summary and thought provoking ideas. As a result of this clear presentation, the audience questions were able to focus on broader implications and interesting ideas including identifying nitrogen sources, use of oyster growth data, and oyster/isotopes interactions.

Ben and Elana
Ben and his wife Elana after his successful defense.

Following Ben's public seminar, he met with his thesis committee, Drs. Bill Dennison, Tim Carruthers, Tom Fisher, Don Meritt from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Mark Altabet from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth and Mike Kearney from the University of Maryland, College Park. Part of the job of the thesis committee was made easier in that Ben has already published two of the thesis chapters in peer reviewed scientific journals (Estuaries and Coasts 32: 773-786; Marine Pollution Bulletin, in press). Ben also published science newsletters and co-authored book chapters (in Shifting Sands and Integrating and Applying Science), presented posters and talks at local, regional and national scientific meetings, served as a teaching assistant, and was an active member of the Integration and Application Network.

Ben's committee went through his 250+pp. thesis in detail and had a wide-ranging discussion of the assumptions, conclusions, and implications of his research. Following the closed session with his committee, a celebration was held in the Nelson Marshall tea room at Horn Point Laboratory, which then migrated to Clearview restaurant. Congratulations Ben!

Ben's congratulatory cake.

About the author

Bill Dennison

Dr. Bill Dennison is a Professor of Marine Science and Vice President for Science Application at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Dr. Dennison’s primary mission within UMCES is to coordinate the Integration and Application Network.

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