Professor Andrew Green.

Fulbright Scholarship for UKZN Marine Geology Expert

Professor Andrew Green of Geological Sciences has received a Fulbright Visiting Research Scholar Program (FVRSP), enabling him to conduct research in marine geology in the United States for three to nine months.

The FVRSP aims to strengthen academic programmes or curricula at the scholar’s home institution.

‘This is the most prestigious fellowship awarded in science and receiving it will allow me to work together with the people at the forefront of my field of research,’ said Green.

Green, academic leader and Head of the Marine Geology Research Unit in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES), has been at the institution, which is also his alma mater, since 2010. He chose to remain at UKZN, despite the offer of a postdoctoral fellowship in Texas.

The fellowship provides Green with the opportunity to draw on material collected from the United States in a new context and with new equipment; creating a good starting point for further mutual projects, both in South Africa and in the US. He hopes it will offer perspective on how research is conducted in South Africa, provide experience in writing of papers and supervision of students and widen his network of collaboration.

Green has focused his research in marine geology on the morphology and sedimentary building blocks of coastal and shelf systems.

‘The focus is on using old deltas left submerged on the seafloor to reconstruct the rates and magnitudes of sea level rise over the last 18 000 years,’ said Green. These data, when input into computer models, could contribute to understanding how shorelines may change with the rising sea levels predicted to occur in a changing climate. In some cases, the rate of sea level rise was 10 times that predicted in the worst case scenarios envisioned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, so these are the times we especially hope to focus on,’ said Green.

He said he was excited about the prospect of being able to focus more on paper and grant-writing, and especially to do so in an academically fertile environment. He will visit colleagues at the University of MaineMassachusetts Institute of Technology and the United States Geological Survey in Boston from September to December this year and plans to follow-up with a visit during his 2019 sabbatical. He also hopes to visit colleagues at the University of Rhode Island and the University of Texas.

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photograph: Dr Lauren Hoyer