Richard J. Behl, professor of geological sciences at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), became the second CSULB faculty member to be named a Fellow of the Geological Society of America (GSA), joining Professor Stanley C. Finney, a 2011 Fellow.
Behl will be recognized at the GSA’s annual meeting in November in Charlotte, N.C. Members are nominated by existing GSA Fellows in recognition of distinguished contributions to the geosciences through accomplishments such as publications, research, teaching, contributing to public awareness of geology, or leadership of geological programs or organizations.
Behl earned a B.A. in chemistry with a specialization in earth sciences at UC San Diego, a Ph.D. in earth sciences from UC Santa Cruz and did postdoctoral studies at UC Santa Barbara. He was a wellsite geologist for several firms in the geothermal and petroleum industries before starting his post-graduate education and embarking on his academic career at CSULB in 1995.
His specialties are marine sedimentology, stratigraphy and paleoceanography, including the role of methane in climate change and the geologic history of the California margin as well as its relationship to petroleum formations. He is a past president of the Pacific Section of the Society for Sedimentary Geology and is active in the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, whose Pacific Section presented him with its 2010 Distinguished Educator Award. Behl was selected to be a Distinguished Lecturer of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists for 2004-05, for whom he gave 20 invited lectures on his research throughout the United States and Canada.
At CSULB, he is a founding member of the Institute for Integrated Research in Materials, Environments and Society, a state-of-the-art lab for science and liberal arts research. He also founded and directs the Monterey and Related Sediments (MARS) Project, currently supported by eight corporate funders. The Monterey Formations played a key role in past climate change and are the major source and an important reservoir of petroleum in California.
Behl has been an originator and faculty leader of CSULB’s Geoscience Diversity Enhancement Program (GDEP), a National Science Foundation-funded program to encourage high school students to study geosciences. He received CSULB’s Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award in 2004.