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     A Publication of THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
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January 29, 2002
Vol. 28, No. 14

Headlines:

Homepage

UT faces projected deficit; proposes $230 increase in student fees

Teresa Graham Brett named dean of students

Behavior of midwater fishes under Antarctic ice: Observations by a predator

Student group displays pro-life exhibit at West Mall area

Meningitis ruled cause of university student's death

New study examines effects of memory training

Endowed scholarship honors Myers

Researchers get $4.5 million to study child language therapy

New engineering chair made possible by $2.35 million gift

Global extinction rate reaches historical proportions

Special programs highlight celebration of Black History Month

Nichols named associate vice president for research

Texas Exes to honor teachers for their excellence as educators

Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Program Policy Statement

University approves new policy for lighting UT Tower

Coral study challenges long-held theory on glacial cycles

UT research shows radiation zapping Mars may affect biological evolution

Growing number of U.S.-Mexican border residents using herbs to treat ailments

News Briefs

Faculty Council

UT researchers receive $5.5 million to study effects of curricular changes in schools

Dana Center receives $94,000 award for math education

KUT adds Marketplace and The World to its program lineup

Arete: Harlan Miller

Critics program Viewpoint 2002 begins on Jan. 31

UT student returns home to conduct Corpus Christi Symphony in Rockport

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Arete

By Rick Cherwitz and Courtney Dillard
Office of Graduate Studies

arete column  

Name: Harlan L. Miller III
Hometown: Parker, Colo.
Department: Marine Science
Advisor: Dr. Kenneth H. Dunton

Harlan (Lanny) Miller's interest in Arctic marine ecosystems began at a seminar in 1992 at Trinity College. Dr. Robert Wilce presented a lecture on the biogeography of Arctic seaweeds, and he invited students to accompany him on his next expedition. Miller joined Wilce at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and traveled to the Canadian high arctic in September 1994.

miller
Miller
He quickly discovered how remarkable arctic water is — particularly the intense colors, the diffuse turquoise blue of the sea-ice above and the purple and reds of encrusting algae — and the diversity of plants and animals that thrive in these frigid waters. Miller completed his master's thesis, which described the life history, reproductive biology and ecology of a new species of red algae.

In 1996, Miller continued his graduate education with Dr. Ken Dunton at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas. He quickly recognized and appreciated the multi-disciplinary aspect of marine science.

Most notably, he learned that the biology, geology and chemistry of the ocean are tightly inter-connected and that, together, they play a prominent role in regulating Earth's climate.

Eventually, this realization led to his interest in issues of global climate change and its effects on arctic marine environments. Miller's doctoral research addresses the important question of whether continued stratospheric ozone depletion will result in a decrease in photosynthetic production in Arctic kelp forests. He said "understanding changes in polar communities is vital because this is where we first expect signs to climate change to be manifest."

Editor's Note: Arete is an ancient Greek word for virtue, describing the quest for individual excellence. In this regular feature of On Campus, the university salutes its graduate students—whose considerable contributions to the academy and larger community are truly virtuous. These features will be framed and posted in the lobby of the Office of Graduate Studies, Main 101.
Supported by National Science Foundation grants, the Smithsonian Institution and University of Texas at Austin Environmental Science Institution fellowships, Miller’s research has taken him on multiple field expeditions to the Canadian and Norwegian Arctic.

Here, he has explored the effect of ozone depletion on kelp forests. While it is widely recognized that the ozone depletion, which allows more biologically harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation to reach the Earth's surface, inhibits the normal function of photosynthesis in plants, Miller's research has uncovered surprising information. He has discovered that Norwegian kelp forests may not be susceptible to increases in UV radiation.

"The seawater above the kelp forests, while being remarkably transparent to visible wavelengths of light, is an effective shield to UV," Miller said.

Dangerous wavelengths of UV are absorbed in the first few meters of water and only the near-surface kelp are exposed to increased ultraviolet radiation.

Miller plans to pursue further work underwater in the Arctic and Antarctic. His research, which has important ramifications within marine science, will continue to help explain the natural world and its susceptibility to shifts in climate.

NOTE: Nominations (including self-nominations) for ARETE should be sent to Associate Dean Richard Cherwitz.

 

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