David P. Gillikin


Ph.D. in Biogeochemistry,
Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), 2005

M.Sc. in Marine Ecology,
Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), 2000

B.Sc. in Environmental Geology,
State University of New York at New Paltz, 1994


Teaching | Research | Potential Thesis Ideas | CV | Publications (see also Google profile) | Contact info

Stable Isotope Laboratory

4th International Sclerochronology Conference, 2016 (Maine, USA)
info coming soon

Career/Teaching

The central theme of my research program involves the use of geochemical proxies (stable isotopes and trace/minor elements) to understand past and present biogeochemical cycles as well as paleo-climatological and paleo-environmental conditions. I focus on the use of biological carbonates as environmental/climatic record keepers, a field known as sclerochronology (analogous to dendrochronology). More precisely, I study how well skeletal chemistry records the environment. All proxies have their own limitations, and one of the main drawbacks in using a biologic carbonate is that the biology of the organism may interfere with equilibrium reactions in the skeleton. Understanding these 'vital effects' is part of my specialty.I am an Assistant Professor of Geology at Union College where I teach Stable Isotopes in Environmental Science, Restless Oceans, The Earth and Life Through Time and Biogeochemistry.

The core of my teaching philosophy revolves around actively including students in research and developing their critical thinking. I achieve this through exposing students to scientific peer-reviewed papers, the peer-review process, class discussion on controversial topics in environmental sciences (both intro and upper level classes) and having students conduct their own research project (upper level classes). I have taken several students to regional and national meetings for them to present their research. I also strongly feel that a field component should be incorporated into all classes. I find that field trips can make learning fun, and help me connect with the students as well as creating a ‘community’ feeling in the class and department.

 

 

      

 

Research

Essentially all we know about past climates and ecosystems is derived from either chemical or physical proxy records stored in solid structures such as tree-rings, ice-cores, or carbonate skeletons. Understanding how precisely these proxies record their environment is of paramount importance to understanding global climate change. It is well known that each proxy has its benefits and drawbacks. For example, ice cores can only be obtained from limited locals; trees only provide terrestrial records. Biological carbonates, however, are found from the poles to the tropics and from shallow freshwater and marine systems to the deep oceans. My research focuses on the use of biological carbonates as environmental/climatic record keepers, a field known as sclerochronology (analogous to dendrochronology). More precisely, I study how well skeletal chemistry records the environment (or sclerochemistry, a term a colleague and I recently proposed [Grocke and Gillikin, 2008]). One of the main drawbacks in using a biologic carbonate is that the biology of the organism may interfere with equilibrium reactions in the skeleton. Understanding these ‘vital effects’ is my specialty. I have worked on trace elements such as Sr/Ca, Ba/Ca, Mg/Ca, and Pb/Ca as well as stable isotopes (see publications bellow). My current projects include estuarine and freshwater biogeochemistry, freshwater mussel shell geochemistry, isotope chemostratigraphy and chemical dendrochronology.

 

 

Keck 2012 in Montana

 


Measuring beach profiles on Long Island in GEO-106

Lauren Graniero - Freshwater mussel shells as archives of past African river biogeochemistry
(now in the PhD program at the University of North Carolina)

Taylor Labrecque - Anthropogenic environmental change recorded in Ballston Lake, New York
(now in the PhD program at Northern Arizona University)

Two Union students at the 2012 NE-GSA meeting in Hartford CT.

Students: Potential thesis ideas

Full CV

Publications [§ = students]
Geochemistry papers
Full text reprint §O’Neil, D.D., and D. P. Gillikin (2014). Do freshwater mussel shells record road salt pollution? Scientific Reports (Nature) 4:7168; DOI:10.1038/srep07168.
Full text reprint Bouillon, S., A. Yambélé, D. P. Gillikin, C. Teodoru, F. Darchambeau, T. Lambert, and A. V. Borges (2014). Contrasting biogeochemical characteristics of right-bank tributaries and a comparison with the mainstem Oubangui River, Central African Republic (Congo River basin). Scientific Reports (Nature) 4:5402; DOI:10.1038/srep05402
Full text reprint

Schöne, B. R., and D. P. Gillikin (2013). Unraveling environmental histories from skeletal diaries - advances in sclerochronology. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.11.026

Full text reprint Gillikin, D. P. and F. Dehairs (2013). Uranium in aragonitic marine bivalve shells. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 373:60-65 doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.02.028
Full text reprint Goodwin, D.H., D. P. Gillikin and P.D. Roopnarine (2013). Preliminary evaluation of potential stable isotope and trace element productivity proxies in the oyster Crassostrea gigas. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 373:88-97 doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.03. 034
Full text reprint Bouillon, S., A. Yambele, R. G. M. Spencer, D. P. Gillikin, P. J. Hernes, J. Six, R. Merckx, and A. V. Borges (2012). Organic matter sources, fluxes andgreenhouse gas exchange in the Oubangui River (Congo River basin). Biogeosciences, 9, 2045-2062. doi:10.5194/bg-9-2045-2012
 

Bouillon, S., R.M. Connelly, and D. P. Gillikin (2012). Use of stable isotopes to understand food webs and ecosystem functioning in estuaries. In: Heip C, Philippart K, & Middelburg JJ (eds) Ecosystem processes in estuaries and coasts. Volume 7 of Wolanski & McLusky (eds) Treatise on Estuarine and Coastal Science. Elsevier Pages 143-173. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-374711-2.00711-7 email for reprint

Full text reprint Nerot, C., A. Lorrain, J. Grall, D. P. Gillikin, J.-M. Munaron, H. Le Bris, Y.-M. Paulet (2012). Stable isotope variations in benthic filter feeders across a large depth gradient on the continental shelf. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 96: 228-235. doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2011.11.004
Full text reprint Versteegh, E.A.A., D. P. Gillikin and F. Dehairs (2011). Analysis of δ15N values in mollusk shell organic matrix by EA-IRMS without acidification: an evaluation and effects of long-term preservation. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 25: 675-680. doi: 10.1002/rcm.4905
Full text reprint

Cunningham, M. A., K. M. Menking, D. P. Gillikin, S. L. Belli, §C. Freimuth, §K. C. Smith, A. M. Pregnall, M. A. Schlessman, P. Batur, (2010). Influence of open space on water quality in an urban stream. Physical Geography 31:336-356.

Full text reprint
§Poulain, C., A. Lorrain, R. Mas, D. P. Gillikin, F. Dehairs, R. Robert, and Y.-M. Paulet (2010). Experimental shift of diet and DIC stable carbon isotopes: influence on shell δ13C values in the Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum. Chemical Geology 272: 75-82.
Full text reprint
Schöne, B. R., Z. Zhang, D. Jacob, D. P. Gillikin, T. Tütken, D. Garbe-Schönberg, T. McConnaughey, and A. Soldati (2010). Effect of organic matrices on the determination of the trace element chemistry (Mg, Sr, Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca) of aragonitic bivalve shells (Arctica islandica) – comparison of ICP-OES and LA-ICP-MS data. Geochemical Journal 44: 23-37.
Full text reprint
Gillikin, D. P., §K. Hutchinson and §Y. Kumai, (2009). Ontogenic increase of metabolic carbon in freshwater mussel shells (Pyganodon cataracta). Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences 114, G01007,doi:10.1029/2008JG000829.
Full text reprint
Cunningham M. A., C. M. O’Reilly, K. M. Menking, D. P. Gillikin, §K. C. Smith, §C. A. Foley, S. L. Belli, A. M. Pregnall, M. A. Schlessman, and P. Batur (2009). The suburban stream syndrome: evaluating land use and stream impairments in the suburbs. Physical Geography 30: 269-284.
Full text reprint
Gillikin, D. P., A. Lorrain, Y.-M. Paulet, L. André, and F. Dehairs, (2008). Synchronous barium peaks in high-resolution profiles of calcite and aragonite marine bivalve shells. Geo-Marine Letters 28: 351-358.
Full text reprint
McConnaughey, T. A. and D. P. Gillikin, (2008). Carbon isotopes in mollusk shell carbonates. Geo-Marine Letters 28: 287-299.
Full text reprint
Gröcke D. R. and D. P. Gillikin, (2008). Advances in mollusc sclerochronology and sclerochemistry: tools for understanding climate and environment. Geo-Marine Letters 28: 265-268.
Full text reprint
Gillikin, D. P., A. Lorrain, §L. Meng and F. Dehairs, (2007). A large metabolic carbon contribution to the δ13C record in marine aragonitic bivalve shells. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 71: 2936-2946.
Full text reprint
Gillikin D. P. and S. Bouillon (2007) Determination of δ18O of water and δ13C of dissolved inorganic carbon using a simple modification of an elemental analyzer – isotope ratio mass spectrometer (EA-IRMS): an evaluation. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 21: 1475-1478.
Full text reprint

Gillikin, D. P., F. Dehairs, A. Lorrain, §D. Steenmans, W. Baeyens, and L. André (2006). Barium uptake into the shells of the common mussel (Mytilus edulis) and the potential for estuarine paleo-chemistry reconstruction. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 70: 395-407.

Full text reprint
Gillikin, D. P. , A. Lorrain, S. Bouillon, P. Willenz and F. Dehairs, (2006). Stable carbon isotopic composition of Mytilus edulis shells: relation to metabolism, salinity δ13CDIC and phytoplankton. Organic Geochemistry 37: 1371-1382.
Full text reprint
Schöne, B. R., D. L. Rodland, D. M. Surge, J. Fiebig, D. P. Gillikin, S. M. Baier, and A. Goewert (2006). Comment on “Stable carbon isotopes in freshwater mussel shells: Environmental record or marker for metabolic activity?” by J. Geist et al. (2005). Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 70: 2658-2661.
Full text reprint
Lorrain A., D. P. Gillikin, Y.-M. Paulet, L. Chauvaud, A. Le Mercier, J. Navez, L. André, 2005. Strong kinetic effects on Sr/Ca ratios in the calcitic bivalve Pecten maximus. Geology 33: 965-968. [see our image on the cover]
Full text reprint
Gillikin, D. P., F. Dehairs, W. Baeyens, J. Navez, A. Lorrain and L. André, 2005. Inter- and intra-annual variations of Pb/Ca ratios in clam shells (Mercenaria mercenaria): a record of anthropogenic lead pollution? Marine Pollution Bulletin 50: 1530-1540.
Full text reprint

Gillikin, D. P., A. Lorrain, J. Navez, J. W. Taylor, L. André, E. Keppens, W. Baeyens and F. Dehairs, 2005 . Strong biological controls on Sr/Ca ratios in aragonitic marine bivalve shells. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 6, Q05009, doi:10.1029/2004GC000874.

Full text reprint
Gillikin, D. P., F. De Ridder, §H. Ulens, M. Elskens, E. Keppens, W. Baeyens and F. Dehairs, 2005 . Assessing the reproducibility and reliability of estuarine bivalve shells (Saxidomus giganteus) for sea surface temperature reconstruction: implications for paleoclimate studies. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 228: 70-85.
Full text reprint
[6.98 Mb]
Gillikin, D.P., 2005. Geochemistry of Marine Bivalve Shells: the potential for paleoenvironmental reconstruction. Ph.D. thesis. Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, p. 258. [6.98 Mb]
Full text reprint
De Ridder, F., R. Pintelon, J. Schoukens and D. P. Gillikin, 2005. Modified AIC and MDL model selection criteria for short data records. IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement 54 (1): 144-150.
Full text reprint
De Ridder, F., R. Pintelon, J. Schoukens, D. P. Gillikin, L. André, W. Baeyens, A. de Brauwere and F. Dehairs, 2004. Decoding Non-linear Growth Rates in Biogenic Environmental Archives. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 5, Q12015, doi:10.1029/2004GC000771.
Mangrove crab ecology papers
Reprint
Gillikin, D.P. and C.D. Schubart, 2004. Ecology and systematics of mangrove crabs of the genus Perisesarma (Crustacea: Brachyura: Sesarmidae) from East Africa. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 141 (3): 435-445. (a new species of Kenyan mangrove crab)
Reprint
Gillikin, D.P., B. De Wachter and J.F. Tack, 2004. Physiological responses of two ecologically important Kenyan mangrove crabs exposed to altered salinity regimes. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 301(1):93-109.
Reprint

Gillikin, D.P. and §C.P. Kamanu, 2005. Burrowing in the East African mangrove crab, Chiromantes ortmanni (Crosnier, 1965) (Decapoda, Bracayura, Sesarmidae). Crustaceana.78: 1273-1275.

Reprint
Gillikin, D.P., 2004. Osmoregulatory ability of Chiromantes ortmanni (Crosnier, 1965) subjected to dilute and hypersaline seawater. Crustaceana 77(1): 67-74.
Reprint
Gillikin, D.P., S. De Grave and J.F. Tack, 2001. The occurrence of the semi-terrestrial shrimp Merguia oligodon (De Man, 1888) in Neosarmatium smithi H. Milne Edwards, 1853 burrows in Kenyan mangroves. Crustaceana 74(5): 505-508.


Geology Field Excursion

Student guidance:

Post Doc
Ongoing     Daan Vanhove, Reconstructing the biogeochemistry in tropical aquatic ecosystems using elemental and stable isotope tracers in freshwater bivalve shells. Joint Post Doc with KU Leuven, Belgium.

PhD
In prep       Zita Kelemen. Freshwater bivalve shells as archives of riverine geochemistry and discharge in African river basins. Ph.D. KU Leuven, Belgium (co-advisor).
In prep       Hillary Sletten. Rhodolith geochemistry as an ocean acidification proxy. Ph.D. University of Alabama (committee member).

MSc
2014          Heather Black. δ15N in mollusk shells as a potential paleoenvironmental proxy for nitrogen loading in Chesapeake Bay. M.Sc. University of Alabama (committee member).
2005          Ivy Meert. Reconstructing the environmental conditions of a European estuary (the Scheldt) over the past 800 years using Mytilus edulis shells. M.Sc. thesis. Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. [winner of “best thesis of the year” awarded by the Flemish Institute of Sea Research (VLIZ)]
2004          Dirk Steenmans. Validation of marine bivalve carbonate skeletons as recorders of paleo-productivity. M.Sc. thesis. Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
2004          Li Meng. Can bivalves be used as archives of anthropogenic carbon input to the marine environment? M.Sc. thesis. Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.
2003          Hans Ulens. The potentials of Saxidomus giganteus as a paleoclimate proxy. M.Sc. thesis. Gent University, Belgium.

Union college BSc

In prep       Nicholas Weidhaas. Biogeochemistry and sediment transport though a tropical Andean paternoster lake system. Undergraduate honors thesis, Union College.
In prep       Robert Queirolo. A 4,200 year climate record from O and C isotopes in a New York speleothem. Undergraduate honors thesis, Union College.
In prep       Christopher Kelly. A 4,200 year climate record from trace elements in a New York speleothem. Undergraduate honors thesis, Union College.
In prep       Matthew McGavick. Eemian seasonality from a Belgian speleothem. Undergraduate honors thesis, Union College.
2014          Kyle McQuiggan. Holocene climate records from Belgian speleothems. Undergraduate honors thesis, Union College.
2014          Holly Havel. Recent sub-Saharan African climate change tracked using freshwater mussel shell geochemistry. Undergraduate honors thesis, Union College.
2013          Max Davidson. Vital effects on stable carbon isotopes in freshwater bivalve shells. Undergraduate honors thesis, Union College (MSc program, U Delaware).
2013          Patrick Manning. Post-Irene suspended sediment, alkalinity and metal dynamics in the Schoharie and Mohawk Rivers. Undergraduate honors thesis, Union College.
2012          Lauren Graniero. Past biogeochemistry of remote African rivers recorded in freshwater mussel shells. Undergraduate honors thesis, Union College. (MSc from Texas A&M; now in PhD program at UNC)
2012          Taylor LaBrecque. Holocene climate and environmental change from a short lake core in Upstate NY. Undergraduate honors thesis, Union College (with Donald Rodbell). (PhD program, Northern Arizona University)
2012          Marc Zeyak. Holocene climate and environmental change from trace elements in a Belgian speleothem. Undergraduate honors thesis, Union College.
2011          Damon Byrne. Tracking responses to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill using trace elements in molluscan shells. Undergraduate honors thesis, Union College.

Vassar College BSc

2010          Rachel Lowenthal. Carbonate biogeochemistry of estuaries in a high CO2 world: past, present, and future consequences for calcifying organisms. Undergraduate honors thesis, Vassar College. [Awarded: Sigma Xi]
2010          Zakary Ratajczak. Using wood chemistry (δ13C & δ18O) and tree anatomical physiology (tracheid density) to detect hurricane storm surges and predict future responses of Loblolly pine to climate change. Undergraduate honors thesis, Vassar College. (PhD program, Kansas State) [Awarded: Botanical Society of America Young Botanist; Sigma Xi]
2010        Sarah Ledford. The effect of mill-dam ponds on the biogeochemistry of small streams. Undergraduate honors thesis, Vassar College. (PhD program, Syracuse University) [Awarded: Sigma Xi]
2010          Nadine Reitman. Paleoecology and chemostratigraphy of the Amansair and Tsagaanbulag Formations, Gobi-Altai Terrane, Shine Jinst, Mongolia. Undergraduate honors thesis and Keck Geology Consortium project, Vassar College. (MSc program, CU Boulder)  [Awarded: Sigma Xi]
2009          Erika Noll. Carbon cycling in small streams in Dutchess County, NY. Undergraduate Research Summer Institute project. (MSc program, UC Riverside)
2009          Wilson Salls. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope signatures of freshwater algae from the Caspserkill (Eastern NY). Undergraduate honors thesis, Vassar College. (MSc program, UC Davis) [Awarded: Sigma Xi]
2009          Matthew Winnick. Evaluating the freshwater mussel Elliptio complanata as a proxy for road salt pollution in northeastern US streams. Undergraduate honors thesis, Vassar College. (PhD program, Stanford) [Awarded: Sigma Xi]
2008          Adam Jost. Carbon isotope stratigraphy and the Silurian-Devonian boundary in the Eastern Appalachian Basin. Undergraduate honors thesis, Vassar College. (PhD program, Stanford) [Awarded: Sigma Xi]
2008          Shana Volesky. Dendrochemistry as an indicator of soil salt concentrations. Undergraduate honors thesis, Vassar College. (works at Schlumberger)

 



Contact Information

David P. Gillikin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Geology
Department of Geology
Union College
807 Union St
Schenectady, NY 12308

phone: 518-388-6679
fax: 518-388-6417
email: gillikid@union.edu




Perisesarma samawati Gillikin & Schubart 2004



Updated 24-Nov-2014