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 Birdsall-Dreiss Lectures

2010 Lecturer

Susan S. Hubbard has been selected as the 2010 Birdsall Dreiss Distinguished Lecturer. The lectureship is made to one person annually by the GSA Hydrogeology Division; Hubbard is the 32nd GSA Birdsall-Dreiss Lecturer and the first from a National Laboratory. Susan S. Hubbard is a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where she leads the Environmental Remediation and Water Resources Program. She received a BA in geology from UC Santa Barbara, an MS in geophysics at Virginia Tech, and a PhD in Engineering from UC Berkeley. She has previously worked at the U.S. Geological Survey and for the petroleum industry. Her research at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory focuses on advancing the use of geophysical methods for shallow subsurface characterization and monitoring, with a particular emphasis on development of data integration methods and application of those methods to water resource and environmental-remediation problems. She co-edited the first book on hydrogeophysics and has published over 60 papers on this topic. She serves on several scientific advisory boards, as the Associate Director for the Berkeley Water Center, as a Co-Editor for the Vadose Zone Journal, and as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Hydrology. At the request of interested institutions, Susan will present one of the two lectures summarized below.

More information and a lecture request form are available at

Toward X-Ray Vision: Geophysical Signatures of Complex Subsurface Processes.
Developing a predictive understanding of water and contaminant fate and transport is complicated by natural heterogeneity, as well as by the disparity of scales across which hydrological, geochemical, and microbiological processes dominate. Because some geophysical attributes are sensitive to hydrological and biogeochemical properties that govern flow and transport, geophysical methods hold potential for minimally invasive subsurface characterization and monitoring. This presentation will describe recent hydrogeophysical and biogeophysical advances, obtained using laboratory experiments; radar, seismic, and complex electrical field datasets; and stochastic integration methods. This research suggests that geophysical methods can provide significant insights about our complex subsurface system. This seminar is intended for engineering, hydrogeology, and earth science audiences who are interested in advanced approaches to explore complex subsurface systems as is needed to guide environmental remediation and water resources management.

Waves and Wine: Geophysical Characterization to Guide Precision Viticulture.
Precision viticulture strategies that focus on promoting uniformly high winegrape quality throughout vineyard blocks require information about the nature and interaction of factors that can impact grape quality-such as soil moisture, canopy density, and micrometeorological properties. Although advanced ground-based and airborne geophysical datasets are now available to provide information about soil variability and vegetation, the wine industry is still at an early stage in using these approaches to guide viticulture. This presentation discusses advances in precision viticulture that have been realized through experimentation at several California vineyards through interpretation of geophysical attributes (electrical, ground penetrating radar, and remote sensing) in terms of soil and canopy properties and the use of such data within statistical and water-balance numerical models to explore vineyard variability. The overall objective of this research is to use advanced approaches to delineate and guide the management of vineyard based on natural site variability. Such approaches are expected to lead to more uniform vegetation and winegrape characteristics within vineyard blocks, while potentially reducing water, fertilizer, and energy use. This lecture is intended for those interested in the practical use of advanced datasets to guide precision agriculture.

Download a PDF file of the announcement and presentation abstracts

Background of the Birdsall-Dreiss Lectureship

Birdsall-Dreiss Lectures
The Birdsall Lectureship began in 1978, as part of a bequest left to the Geological Society of America – Hydrogeology Division in memory of John Manning Birdsall. Mr. Birdsall was a prominent geologist, retired from the Water Resources Division of the U.S. Geological Survey. He was a scientist, a dedicated public servant and a gentleman. The bequest was used to provide travel funds for outstanding scientists working in the field of hydrogeology to visit other institutions and give talks on their research. The first lecturer, Dr. Jacob Bear from the Israeli Institute of Technology, visited only the University of Wisconsin – Madison, which hosted one of the premier hydrogeology programs of that era. The subsequent list of Birdsall-Dreiss lecturers includes many outstanding scientists from academia and government. The number of institutions visited by each lecturer grew rapidly, with recent lecturers typically giving 40 to 50 talks, mainly in the U.S. and Canada, but also in Europe, Asia and Australia.

One of the most popular Birdsall Lecturers was Dr. Shirley Dreiss from the University of California – Santa Cruz. Shortly after her very successful 1992 lecture tour, Shirley was killed in an auto accident. Her many friends and admirers honored her by contributing to the GSA Birdsall Lectureship, which was renamed the Birdsall-Dreiss Lectureship. The Birdsall-Dreiss Lecturer is chosen each year by a panel of former B-D lecturers. There are no applications for this position and they make their choice solely on the reputation of perspective candidates for their research excellence and ability to communicate.

The Birdsall-Dreiss endowment pays for part of their travel and candidates typically obtain additional travel funds from their home institution. Universities or other institutions wishing to host a Birdsall-Dreiss lecture send in their application in the fall, with the tour officially starting each January and ending at the fall meeting of the Geological Society of America.

Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lecturer Description: The lecturer shall be selected based on outstanding contributions to hydrogeology or a closely related field through original research and public communication, and the potential for continued contributions to the profession.

How to nominate: Include at least one letter of nomination, a copy of the nominee’s curriculum vitae, and at least two supporting letters describing the significant contributions or accomplishments constituting the basis for the nomination.

Submit nominations to:

Deadline: February 1, every year

Previous Lectures

Click here to query the Birdsall-Dreiss Lectures Database. The database includes year, lecturer, employer, and lecture title(s).

Mug Series
Mug Series
Mugs are available at the GSA national meeting, and through the Division Secretary-Treasurer. A limited number of earlier mugs in the series are also available (more).
The photographs in the Images from Division Meetings are from 2003-2006. A new image appears on each web page refresh. Click here to see all the images with captions.
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