Dr. Jim Silliman

Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Geology

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

6300 Ocean Drive, CS205

Corpus Christi, Texas 78412

E-mail: silliman@falcon.tamucc.edu

Phone: 361-825-3718; FAX: 361-825-3719


I received my Ph.D. in marine geology and geochemistry from the University of Michigan in 1998. My focus was on organic geochemistry in which I studied both marine and freshwater sediments (advisor: Dr. Phil Meyers). From Michigan, I traveled to the University of Florida where I worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences for seven months. While there, I applied organic geochemical approaches to investigate the environmental impacts on Lake Apopka (advisor: Dr. Claire Schelske). I then accepted a postdoctoral fellowship with the Geological Survey of Canada-Calgary. Most of my two years in Calgary were spent researching migration effects and molecular fingerprinting of oils (advisor: Dr. Maowen Li). I have been working for Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi since August of 2001 and I appreciate interacting with the students and faculty on our campus. I enjoy teaching courses in chemistry and geology and conducting research in organic geochemistry.


Curriculum Vitae




Courses Taught


General Chemistry I & II (CHEM-1311 & CHEM-1312)

Organic Chemistry I & II (CHEM-3411 & CHEM-3412)

Chemical Oceanography (CHEM-4344)

Environmental Chemistry (CHEM-4443)

Geomorphology (GEOL-3442)


Biogeochemistry (ESCI-5314, with Drs. Joe Fox and Thomas Naehr)

Advanced Environmental Chemistry (CHEM-5417)




Research Interests

My research interests lie in the area of organic geochemistry. Within this interdisciplinary field, I currently have two main areas of emphasis listed below.

1. Climate and environmental change: Organic matter is especially sensitive to changes in environmental and climate conditions. The organic matter found in fresh-water and marine sediments records all of the changes that have occurred within the water column and watershed regions. The amount and type of organic matter can provide general data on depositional and preservational parameters. Analyzing for specific organic compounds contained in sedimentary organic matter (i.e. n-alkanes, PAHs, and fatty acids) enhances our understanding about variations in environmental and climate systems. Funding for this type of research has been provided by the Ocean Drilling Project for sediment samples collected off the coast of Peru by Dr. Thomas Naehr (J. Silliman: Co-PI).

2. Differences in organic geochemical practices: Sediment samples are not prepared consistently from lab to lab. Due to differences in sample preparation and extraction procedures, organic geochemical results can vary from study to study. Such differences are important to understand in order to compare results of one study to another. A comparison analysis is being carried out by contrasting results acquired from sediments collected from a northern temperate fresh-water lake to results obtained from a marine sediment collected in a subtropical setting with identical variations in sample pretreatment and extraction techniques. This research is being funded by a University Research Enhancement Grant from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (J. Silliman: PI).








Educational Activities

The Cabeza de Vaca Earthmobile Program: This outreach program was developed in June 2003 to strengthen geoscience education in public middle school students of South Texas. A total of 453 fifth grade students participated in the program during the 2004-2005 school year from four independent school districts in South Texas (Aransas Pass, Premont, Riviera, and San Diego). Since the beginning of the project, hands-on lab exercises have been developed and delivered to participating schools on topics such as Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy Sources, Weather, and Discovering Plate Boundaries. Each school has been given its own NASA GLOBE weather station to provide students with opportunities to collect year-round data so they can enter it on the NASA GLOBE web site. In addition to labs, Family Science Nights are also conducted in each school district during the school year. They are designed to complement what the students learned in lab activities the previous month and to enhance parent involvement in the science learning process of their children. Undergraduate students from our campus (NSTA, chemistry club, and geology club students) have volunteered to help present lab exercises and Family Science Nights at these public middle schools. This exciting program is funded by the National Science Foundation (J. Silliman: PI).




Recent Publications

Louchouarn, P., Naehr, T.H. and Silliman, J. Submitted. Elemental, Stable Isotopic (d13C), and Molecular Signatures of Organic Matter in Holocene-Late Pleistocene Sediments from the Peru Margin (Site 1229). Proceedings, Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, 201.

Silliman, J.E. and Schelske, C.L. 2003. Saturated hydrocarbons in the sediments of Lake Apopka, Florida. Organic Geochemistry, 34, 253-260.

Obermajer, M., Osadetz, K.G., Fowler, M.G., Silliman, J., Hansen, W.B., Clark, M. 2002. Delineating compositional variabilities among crude oils from Central Montana, USA, using light hydrocarbon and biomarker characteristics. Organic Geochemistry, 33, 1343-1359.

Silliman, J.E., Li, M., Yao, H., and Hwang, R. 2002. Molecular distributions and geochemical implications of pyrrolic nitrogen compounds in the Permian Phosphoria-derived oils of Wyoming. Organic Geochemistry, 33, 527-544.

Silliman, J.E., Meyers, P.A., Eadie, B.J, and Klump, J.V. 2001. An Hypothesis for the Origin of Perylene Based on Its Low Abundance in Sediments of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Chemical Geology, 177, 309-322.

Silliman, J.E., Meyers, P.A., Ostrom, P., Ostrom, N., and Eadie, B.J. 2000. Insights into the origin of perylene from isotopic analyses of sediments from Saanich Inlet, British Columbia. Organic Geochemistry, 31, 1133-1142