SIUC Honors Outstanding Scholar Vitt at Research Fair

Photo by PAUL NEWTON / THE SOUTHERN: Dale Vitt delivers his lecture. 'The Changing Landscape of the Boreal 'Forest: Permafrost. Peatlands and Oil: during the 2010 Outstanding Scholar Lecture at SIUC.

BY SCOTT FITZGERALD
THE SOUTHERN

CARBONDALE - Even though he was selected as Southern Illinois University
Carbondale's Outstanding Scholar during the fall semester, Chairman Dale Vitt 'of the
Department of Plant Biology said he remained humble Tuesday about the honor.
"You are put forth. I was honored:' Vitt said in the SlUC Student Center
Auditorium after delivering the 2010 Outstanding Scholar Lecture as part of a
week's activities focusing on the importance of SIUC research."
Vitt, who received his doctoral and master's degree from University of Michigan after getting, his Bachelor of Science. in botany with minors in zoology and geology from Southeast Missouri State
University in 1967, received a framed plaque with picture from John Koropchak;: vice
chancellor for research and dean of the SIUC graduate school, and SIUC Chancellor
Rita Cheng. In his Introductory remarks, Koropchak described the scholar's work in the
Peatlands of Canada "as most important" because of its methodology, testing and
information gathered about climate change that affects the largest carbon source in the
world.
- And that's where Vitt took his-audience - which included a few past outstanding
scholar winners - as he narrated a slideshow that traversed much of his career in research.

The slideshow included
remote and exotic locations such as the sub-Antarctic islands off the coast of southern New Zealand and
northern regions of the Alberta province of Canada."I got to travel a lot," Vitt said.
He mixed his research information with pictures of wildlife that he told humorous anecdotes
about, including muskox that hutted him to the ground in Canada and a sea lion that nearly did the
same in the southern hemisphere. Vitt also utilized aerial shots, pointing out the topography of bogs in the
Peatlands of Canada and the cyclical formations they undergo as a result of weather. Other factors that
affect Peatlands includefire from natural sources such as lightning; which is a "big player in disturbance"
of the Peatlands. Vitt said after the lecture he and his students are doing research with private grant money to explore oil sands, restoration of their devastation and their importance as a current and future energy source.


scott,fitzgerald@thesouthern.com
618·351·5076