Halfman’s current research interests include limnology, hydrogeochemistry, and sedimentology of lakes, investigating the records of change in lacustrine environments through the analysis of water, water column profiles, sediment cores, and high-resolution (1-kHz) seismic profiles. His current projects focus on the limnology, hydrogeochemistry, and sedimentology of the Finger Lakes of central and western New York, focusing on Seneca Lake. They include the monitoring and preservation of water quality in the Finger Lakes, investigations of watershed/lake interactions and the impact of land use activities on water quality, hydrogeochemical impact of zebra mussels on Seneca Lake, and high-resolution paleoclimatology of the region based upon the interpretation of high-resolution seismic profiles and sediment cores.
A frequent presenter at the Geological Society of America, the New York State Geological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and more, Halfman’s research is highly regarded. His research is done largely from the 65-ft research vessel The William Scandling, on which sophisticated water sampling techniques are available. Hobart and William Smith Colleges are one of only two undergraduate institutions to have such a research vessel. The Colleges also operate a 25-ft pontoon boat, The JB Snow, to provide access to neighboring Finger Lakes.
Halfman has mentored many students through comprehensive individual research projects and honors projects. Each student works on an aspect of his research program, typically cumulating with a presentation at professional meeting and/or publication in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. He firmly believes in such mentoring and can speak to this issue as well.
Recent publications include:
Halfman, J.D., C.M. Caiazza, R.J. Stewart, S.M. Opalka, and C.K. Morgan. 2006., Major ion hydrogeochemical budgets and elevated chloride concentrations in Seneca Lake, New York. Northeastern Geology and Environmental Sciences, v. 28, p. 324-333.
Halfman, J.D., D.E. Dittman, R.W. Owens, and M.D. Etherington, 2006. Storm induced redistribution of deepwater sediments in Lake Ontario. J of Great Lakes Research. 32: 348-360.
Riley, T.C., T.A. Endreny, and J.D.
Halfman, 2006, Monitoring soil moisture and water table height with a low-cost data logger. Computers and Geoscience. 32: 135-140.
Halfman, J.D., and K. F. Bush, 2006. A preliminary water quality study of selected Finger Lakes, New York. Finger Lakes Institute Report, 15 pg.
Halfman, J.D., I West, T.M. Hintz, and B.A. Beckingham and many other undergraduate students, 2006. Water Quality and Pollution Sources to the Keuka Outlet, 2003-2005. Report to the Torrey Ad-Hoc Water Quality Committee. 12 pg text, 13 pg data & figures.
Vollmer, M.K, H.A. Bootsma, R.E. Hecky, G. Patterson, J.D. Halfman, J.M. Edmond, D.H. Eccles, & R.F. Weiss, 2005, Deep-Water Warming Trend in Lake Malawi, East Africa. Limnology & Oceanography. 50: 727-732.
Dittman, D.E., Halfman, J.D., and Owens, R.W. 2005. Influence of Exotics and Physical Sedimentological Factors on Diporeia. Final Project Report USEPA.
Halfman, J.D., D. Wood, and S. Strong, 2004. Bathymetric Survey of Owasco Lake for the Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology (IAGT), Auburn, New York. In-House Report, Finger Lakes Institute, Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Eyles, N., M Doughty, J.I. Boyce, H.T. Mullins, J.D. Halfman and B. Koseogulu, 2002, Acoustic architecture of ice-contacted glaciolacustrine sediments deformed during zonal stagnation of the Laurentide Ice Sheet; Mazinaw Lake, Ontario, Canada. Sedimentary Geology. 157: 133-151.
Halfman, J.D., 2003. "Water Quality Data: Seneca Lake and Selected Tributaries." Report to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS-DEC). 31 pg.
Halfman, J.D., S.M. Baldwin, J.P. Rumpf and M.B. Giancarlo, 2001, "The impact of the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) on the limnology, geochemistry and sedimentology of Seneca Lake, New York." In: Wagenet, L.P., D.A. Eckhardt, N.G. Hairston, D.E. Karig, and R. Yager, eds., A Symposium on the Environmental Research in the Cayuga Lake Watershed. October 12, 1999. Natural Resource, Agriculture and Engineering Service (NRAES), Cooperative Extension, Cornell University. P. 154-166.
Mullins, H.T., and J.D. Halfman, 2001. "High-resolution deglacial and post glacial seismic stratigraphy of Owasco Lake, New York: Evidence for mid-Holocene environmental change." Quaternary Research. 55: 322-331.
Dedrick, R.R., J.D. Halfman & D.B. McKinney, 2000. "An inexpensive, microprocessor-based, data logging system." Computers and Geoscience. 26: 1059-1066.
Halfman, J.D., and many undergraduate students, 1999, Seneca Lake Limnology and Water Quality Status. Chapter 6A, "Setting the Course for Seneca Lake - The State of the Seneca Lake Watershed," 1999.
Halfman, J.D., and many undergraduate students, 1999, Seneca Lake Stream Water Quality. Chapter 6B, "Setting the Course for Seneca Lake—The State of the Seneca Lake Watershed," 1999.
Halfman, J.D., and D.T. Herrick, 1998, "Mass-movement and reworking of late glacial and postglacial sediments in northern Seneca Lake, New York." Northeastern Geology and Environmental Sciences, 20: 227-241.
Halfman, J.D. and T.C. Johnson, 1988, "High-resolution record of cyclic climatic change during the past 4 Ka from Lake Turkana, Kenya." Geology, 16: 496-500.
Halfman, J.D. and T.C. Johnson, 1984, "Enhanced atmospheric circulation over North America during the early Holocene." Science, 224: 61-63.
Interview opportunities and additional background information may be requested through the Office of Communications, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, New York. Phone: (315) 781-3540. After business hours, Communications staff members are accessible through contact information on their answering machine at that number.
John Halfman received his B.S. from the University of Miami magna cum laude, his M.S. from the University of Minnesota, and his Ph.D. from Duke University. Before joining the faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 1994, he taught in the Department of Earth Sciences and in the Department of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame.
Halfman is Vice President of the Board of Directors, Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, a citizen watchdog group, and is a founder, science coordinator, and active member of the Finger Lakes Institute, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, an Institute dedicated to the promotion of environmental research and education about the Finger Lakes and surrounding environments.
Halfman is also involved with numerous outreach activities including the Science on Seneca Program, which brings high school students to study on Seneca Lake aboard the Colleges' 65-foot research vessel, The William Scandling, the Environmental Science Summer Youth Institute (ESSYI), a residential summer environmental camp for high school students, and land use / development planning in the Finger Lakes region to foster environmentally-sound development practices.