Department Personnel

Michael Konen

    Michael Konen

       mkonen@niu.edu 

        

Publications, Maps Published & Grants


Refereed Journal Articles

Luo, W. and M. Konen, 2007, “New results from from Using a Web-based Interactive Landform Simulation Model (WILSIM) in a General Education Physical Geography Course,” Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 55, n5, n.5, p. 423-425 Abstract

Konen, M.E., C.L. Burras, and J.A. Sandor. 2003. Organic Carbon, Texture, and Quantitative Color Measurement Relationships for Cultivated Soils in North Central Iowa. Soil Science Society of America Journal 67:1823-1830. Abstract

Brevik, E.C. and M.E. Konen. 2003. Problems and Suggestions Concerning the Use of Glacially-Deposited Sediment Terminology by Soil Scientists. Soil Survey Horizons 44:64-70. Abstract

Konen, M.E., P.M. Jacobs, C.L. Burras, B.J. Talaga, and J.A. Mason. 2002. Equations for Predicting Soil Organic Carbon Using Loss-on Ignition for North Central U.S. Soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal 66:1878-1881. Abstract

Patton, J.J., L. Burras, M.E. Konen, and N.E. Molstad. 2001. An accurate and inexpensive apparatus and method for teaching and measuring stable aggregate content of soils. Journal of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Education 30:84-88. Abstract 

Stojanovic, B., L.S. Rigg, and M.E. Konen. 2001. Stand structure of shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) and soil properties in an extremely fragmented woodlot in northeastern Illinois. Great Lakes Geographer 8:66-76. Abstract
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Recent Funded Grants:

2004 - United States Geological Survey. "Quaternary Geologic Mapping of the Waterman Quadrangle, Northeastern Illinois” Summary

2003 - United States Geological Survey. "Quaternary Geologic Mapping of the DeKalb Quadrangle, Northeastern Illinois” Summary

2002 - United States Geological Survey. "Quaternary Geologic Mapping of the Sycamore Quadrangle, Northeastern Illinois" Summary

2001 - National Science Foundation. "Acquisition of a low-vacuum SEM Microscope for Multi-disciplinary Research and Education" Summary

2001 - United States Geological Survey. "Quaternary Geologic Mapping of the Genoa Quadrangle, Northeastern Illinois" Summary

2000 - The Nature Conservancy - Quantification of soil carbon sequestration at Nachusa Grasslands" Summary
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Maps Published:

Konen, M.E., E. Stromberg, and J. Stravers. 2003. Quaternary Geologic Map of the Sycamore Quadrangle, NE Illinois. United States Geological Survey, National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program, EDMAP Series.

Konen, M.E., C. Perciante, and J. Stravers. 2002. Quaternary Geologic Map of the Genoa Quadrangle, NE Illinois. United States Geological Survey, National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program, EDMAP Series.

Stravers, J., K. Hibben, M. Konen, and D. Kulczycki. 2000. Quaternary Geologic Map of the Big Rock Quadrangle, NE Illinois. United States Geological Survey, National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program, EDMAP Series.
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Refereed Journal Articles

Luo, W. and M. Konen, 2007, “New results from from Using a Web-based Interactive Landform Simulation Model (WILSIM) in a General Education Physical Geography Course,” Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 55, n5, n.5, p. 423-425

Luo et al. (2005) reported that careful design of the questions is very important to accurate assessment of the effectiveness of dynamic simulation and visualization on
student learning. We followed the lessons learned in that study and improved some of the poorly designed preand post-test questions used for assessing the
effectiveness of a Web-based Interactive Landform Simulation Model (WILSIM). We tested the new questions in a large section of the same general education physical geography course in the springs of 2006 and 2007 before and after students used WILSIM to simulate 3 different scenarios of landform evolution. We found that the post-test scores were significantly higher than pre-test scores, whereas previous study showed no statistically significant differences.
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Konen, M.E., C.L. Burras, and J.A. Sandor. 2003. Organic Carbon, Texture, and Quantitative Color Measurement Relationships for Cultivated Soils in North Central Iowa. Soil Science Society of America Journal 67:1823-1830.

Abstract:
The quantification of soil organic carbon (SOC) concentrations is becoming increasingly more desirable because of environmental and economic concerns regarding the reactivity of SOC with pesticides, fertilizers, and waste materials. The objectives of this study were to quantify soil color - organic C relationships and to quantify soil particle size - organic C relationships for Ap horizons in north central Iowa. All of the 130 soils examined developed in glacigenic diamicton or local hillslope sediment derived from glacigenic diamicton. A Minolta CR-310 chroma meter was used to quantify percent reflectance, and Munsell value and chroma for both air-dry and moist soils. Organic C concentration of the sample set ranged from 4.4 to 70.8 g kg-1. Significant relationships were observed between organic C concentration and percent reflectance (r2 = 0.77 moist, r2 = 0.74 air-dry), Munsell value (r2 = 0.77 moist, r2 = 0.74 air-dry), Munsell chroma (r2 = 0.68 moist, r2 = 0.77 air-dry), percent sand (r2 = 0.74), percent clay (r2 = 0.71) and geometric mean particle diameter (r2 = 0.74). Logarithmic relationships existed for reflectance, Munsell value and chroma, and geometric mean particle diameter while linear relationships were observed for sand and clay contents. Chroma meter soil color measurements and particle size data are useful predictors of organic C concentrations for Ap horizons in north central Iowa. Evidence from this study and the literature suggest that unique relationships exist for different soil landscapes.
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 Brevik, E.C. and M.E. Konen. 2003. Problems and Suggestions Concerning the Use of Glacially-Deposited Sediment Terminology by Soil Scientists. Soil Survey Horizons 44:64-70.

Abstract:
"Glacial till" is one of the most commonly listed parent materials in soil surveys that cover glaciated regions of the United States. This term routinely appears in articles in the soil science literature and in soil survey reports. Yet, despite the common usage of "glacial till", it may also be one of the most misunderstood and misused terms commonly employed in our scientific field. The misunderstanding starts with the term itself, "glacial till". The only till in existence is glacial; there is no other kind. Use of the adjective "glacial" in front of the noun "till" is redundant, and for that reason glacial geoscientists have been trying to correct such usage going back at least as far as Richard Foster Flint (Flint, 1971). But the issues concerning use of the term till in the soil science literature go far beyond the frequent redundant wording found in our writings. They go right to the very definition of the term till. In this paper we address problems with the existing nomenclature and propose changes.
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Konen, M.E., P.M. Jacobs, C.L. Burras, B.J. Talaga, and J.A. Mason. 2002. Equations for Predicting Soil Organic Carbon Using Loss-on Ignition for North Central U.S. Soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal 66:1878-1881.

Abstract:
Samples of 255 non-calcareous A, Ap, and AB horizons from selected Major Land Resource Areas (MLRA) in the north central United States were used to develop equations for predicting organic carbon content, as determined with a Leco carbon analyzer, from weight loss-on-ignition (LOI). Organic carbon concentrations of the samples ranged from 1.09 to 114.6 g kg-1. Within each MLRA, strong linear relationships were observed between LOI and organic carbon measured by the Leco instrument, with r2 ranging from 0.94 to 0.98. Predictive equations developed by least-squares regression were significantly different for individual MLRA's. LOI is a rapid, inexpensive, and accurate method for estimating organic carbon concentration in soils of the north central United States. We recommend that unique predictive equations be developed for individual soil-geographic regions.
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Patton, J.J., L. Burras, M.E. Konen, and N.E. Molstad. 2001. An accurate and inexpensive apparatus and method for teaching and measuring stable aggregate content of soils. Journal of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Education 30:84-88.

Abstract:
Student comprehension of soil aggregation is often poor, even following successful completion of several soil science courses. This poor understanding is problematic because soil suitability interpretations depend in part on the characteristics of the soil aggregates. For example, soil aggregate stability influences runoff, erosion, and root growth, which in turn influences assessment of soil tilth and quality. Anecdotal evidence suggests student grasp of soil aggregation improves if teaching includes hands-on identification and measurement of soil aggregate properties. The major limitation to hands-on activities has been the perception by some instructors that soil aggregate properties are difficult to measure. The objective of this report is to present a simple, inexpensive method that readily quantifies stable aggregate content along with directions for assembling its required apparatus. The apparatus consists of components that can be purchased for less than $40 and can be assembled in less than 2 h. The method requires laboratory time and space comparable to particle-size analysis. The method can be successfully used in undergraduate through graduate courses or for research.
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Stojanovic, B., L.S. Rigg, and M.E. Konen. 2001. Stand structure of shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) and soil properties in an extremely fragmented woodlot in northeastern Illinois. Great Lakes Geographer 8:66-76.

Abstract:
The stand structure of shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) and soil properties in an extremely fragmented woodlot were examined in northeastern Illinois. The goal of this preliminary study was to examine the effect of extreme forest fragmentation (in a golf course environment) on the structure of oak-hickory remnants and the impact of golf course management on soil properties associated with these remnants. Seedling densities for shagbark hickory, density and basal area for all trees present, and soil samples (pH, bulk density, organic matter, and macronutrient concentrations) were obtained for each remnant and compared to a larger forest plot (11 ha). Shagbark hickory seeds collected from the study site were germinated and grown under two different conditions; fertilized and non-fertilized, to assess the effect of nutrient amendments on seedling growth and persistence. Seedling densities in woodlot remnants indicated shagbark hickory is capable of establishing within a fragmented environment. However, the stand structures indicated a lack of recent recruitment to the sub-canopy. Soil nutrient concentrations were highly variable with no clear trends among remnants. Fertilizer application to germinants indicated that shagbark hickory seedlings have a negative sensitivity to golf course levels of nutrient application. This research suggests that golf course management practices need to take into consideration the persistence of long-lived tree species within fragments to maintain a wooded course environment.
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Recent Funded Grants:

2004 - United States Geological Survey. "Quaternary Geologic Mapping of the Waterman Quadrangle, Northeastern Illinois”

Summary:
The Waterman quadrangle is an important mapping area because of the existing and future land use of the region coupled with complex stratigraphy, depositional environments, and postglacial landscape evolution. The quadrangle contains multiple ages of glacial, fluvial, and eolian sediments and multiple morainal systems. The quadrangle contains many low-relief circular landforms previously thought to be periglacial in origin that may in fact be related to ice stagnation. A major research component in this project will be to understand the spatial distribution and genesis of these features. The majority of the quadrangle is presently used for intensive agricultural row crop production with several existing large livestock confinement facilities that contain earthen waste-storage lagoons. The area, however, is currently undergoing rapid urbanization and land use decisions are changing as the existing urban centers increase in size. The Chicago metropolitan edge is nearing the study area. An intensive field drilling and sampling scheme along with aerial photo analysis, and water and engineering boring log interpretation will allow us to elucidate the geologic history of the area and produce a detailed 1:24,000 map of the surficial materials in the quadrangle that can aid planners and other Earth scientists.
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2003 - United States Geological Survey. "Quaternary Geologic Mapping of the DeKalb Quadrangle, Northeastern Illinois”

Summary:
The DeKalb quadrangle is an important mapping area because of the existing and future land use of the region coupled with complex stratigraphy, depositional environments, and postglacial landscape evolution. The quadrangle contains multiple ages of glacial, fluvial, and eolian sediments and a major end moraine system. The southern portion of the quadrangle contains many low-relief circular landforms previously thought to be periglacial in origin that may in fact be related to ice stagnation. A major research component in this project will be to understand the spatial distribution and genesis of these features. The majority of the quadrangle is presently used for intensive agricultural row crop production with several existing large livestock confinement facilities that contain earthen waste-storage lagoons. The area, however, is currently undergoing rapid urbanization and land use decisions are changing as the existing urban centers increase in size. The Chicago metropolitan edge is nearing the study area with the rapidly growing town of DeKalb is located within the quadrangle. An intensive field drilling and sampling scheme along with aerial photo analysis, and water and engineering boring log interpretation will allow us to elucidate the geologic history of the area and produce a detailed 1:24,000 map of the surficial materials in the quadrangle that can aid planners and other Earth scientists.
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2002 - United States Geological Survey. "Quaternary Geologic Mapping of the Sycamore Quadrangle, Northeastern Illinois"

Summary:
The Sycamore quadrangle is an important mapping area because of the existing and future land use of the region coupled with complex stratigraphy, depositional environments, and postglacial landscape evolution. The quadrangle contains multiple ages of glacial, fluvial, and eolian sediments and a major end moraine system. The southern portion of the quadrangle contains many low-relief circular landforms previously thought to be periglacial in origin that may in fact be related to ice stagnation. A major research component in this project will be to understand the spatial distribution and genesis of these features. The majority of the quadrangle is presently used for intensive agricultural row crop production with several existing large livestock confinement facilities that contain earthen waste-storage lagoons. The area, however, is currently undergoing rapid urbanization and land use decisions are changing as the existing urban centers increase in size. The Chicago metropolitan edge is nearing the study area with the rapidly growing towns of DeKalb and Sycamore being located within the quadrangle. An intensive field drilling and sampling scheme along with aerial photo analysis, and water and engineering boring log interpretation will allow us to elucidate the geologic history of the area and produce a detailed 1:24,000 map of the surficial materials in the quadrangle that can aid planners and other Earth scientists.
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2001 - National Science Foundation. "Acquisition of a low-vacuum SEM Microscope for Multi-disciplinary Research and Education"

Summary:
This award, made through the Major Research Instrumentation Program, provides partial support for the acquisition of a low vacuum scanning electron microscope (LV SEM). The principal investigators include four faculty members from three different departments in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Northern Illinois University. Principal applications of the LV SEM by the PIs include: studies of glacial-sedimentary processes and polar plankton biostratigraphy and evolution entailing examination of microstructures in subglacial sediments; studies in the environmental biogeosciences, including analysis of the spatial distribution of microorganisms involved in biodegradation of organic solvents; studies of modern soils and Quaternary paleosols to examine their current and historic ability to sequester carbon; studies in plant morphology and systematics, ethnobotany, conservation biology, and botanical biocomplexity; and applications in educational programs, including research training, undergraduate coursework, and community outreach education programs. The instrument to be purchased is the JEOL 5600LV, which can operate at either high vacuum or low vacuum, with the Noran Vantage DSI spectral imaging system X-ray analyzer (EDS). Samples for observation require virtually no pretreatment, and large samples (up to 15 cm) can be imaged without gold-coating. This is a non-destructive method, perfect for examination of unique specimens, such as holotypes or artifacts, and wet or outgassing samples can be directly analyzed.
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2001 - United States Geological Survey. "Quaternary Geologic Mapping of the Genoa Quadrangle, Northeastern Illinois"

Summary:
The Genoa quadrangle is an important mapping area because of the existing and future land use of the region coupled with complex stratigraphy, depositional environments, and postglacial landscape evolution. The quadrangle contains multiple ages of glacial, fluvial, and eolian sediments and a major end moraine system. The northern portion of the quadrangle was ice-marginal during the late Wisconsinan maximum and appears to have been significantly impacted by periglacial processes. A major research component in this project will be to understand the spatial distribution and genesis of the ice-marginal periglacial features. The majority of the quadrangle is presently used for intensive agricultural row crop production with several existing large livestock confinement facilities that contain earthen waste-storage lagoons. The area, however, is currently undergoing rapid urbanization and land use decisions are changing as the existing urban centers increase in size. The Chicago metropolitan edge is nearing the study area with the rapidly growing towns of Genoa and Sycamore being located within the quadrangle. An intensive field drilling and sampling scheme along with aerial photo analysis, and water and engineering boring log interpretation will allow us to elucidate the geologic history of the area and produce a detailed 1:24,000 map of the surficial materials in the quadrangle that can aid planners and other Earth scientists.
Top - Grants


 

2000 - The Nature Conservancy - Quantification of soil carbon sequestration at Nachusa Grasslands"

Summary:
There are reports in the literature from continuously cropped fields that approximately 30 - 50 % of the organic carbon in the surface horizon of agricultural soils has been oxidized since European settlement in the Midwest. The potential to "resequester" that C seems very real, especially under native vegetation restoration. Nachusa Grasslands offers the unique opportunity to quantify pre-restoration soil properties as it contains never cultivated remnants. Nachusa also contains areas that are presently in agricultural row crop production and are being restored to tallgrass prairie. The focus of this project is to sample soil properties along hillslope's in areas undergoing restoration. Initial sampling will be on soils in their last year of agricultural production just prior to tallgrass restoration. Sampling will then occur at the same locations for several decades in order to quantify soil carbon sequestration dynamics. Soils occurring in all drainage classes across the landscape will be sampled in order to quantify soil carbon sequestration rates and quantities in soils with differing properties. In addition to the carbon sequestration work, aggregate stability, infiltration rate, microbial dynamics, micromorphology, scanning electron microscopy, and macro morphology of the soils will also be examined.
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