Principal Investigator:

Seth Finnegan: I am particularly interested in (1) Patterns of extinction selectivity, and what they can tell us about the changing drivers of the extinction process and how differential extinction has shaped evolution through time, (2) Using environmental proxy data (stable isotopes, biomarkers, sedimentology) to understand the physical context of major evolutionary and ecological events recorded by the fossil record, and (3) Developing taxon-free methods to reconstruct the structure and function of marine ecosystems (e.g. as energy- and nutrient-exchange networks) through time. Much of my recent and continuing work focuses on the Ordovician Period (488 to 444 million years ago) because it is widely agreed (by me) to be the most interesting interval in Earth history, including as it does a broad-based and very rapid global biodiversification and a major mass extinction.


Adiël Klompmaker (MS: Utrecht University, 2006; PhD: Kent State University, 2012): My research focuses on understanding the processes that drive ecosystems on evolutionary time scales. To answer this question I study: (1) changes in decapod crustaceans within and across sedimentary settings, and (2) the evolution of predator-prey interactions through time.


Carina Lee (BSc: Australian National University, 2009; PhD: University of California, Riverside, 2016): I am interested in (1) marine microbial ecology and carbon cycling using lipid biomarkers and stable isotopes, and (2) understanding organic matter preservation and diagenesis in hypersaline ecosystems. Previous projects include i) lipid biomarkers from the 1.64 Ga Barney Creek Formation, northern Australia; ii) lipid biomarkers, bulk isotopes, and compound-specific carbon isotopes from the late Ediacaran Shuram excursion from South Oman; and iii) lipid biomarker preservation and diagenesis in modern hypersaline microbial mats from Guerrero Negro, Baja California, Mexico.


Graduate Students:

Emily Orzechowski: I am working on the Late Pleistocene record of eastern Pacific coastal mollusks, trying to determine whether species niches have been conserved over the past 125,000 years.



Larry Taylor: I am using isotopic analysis of coronulid barnacles to reconstruct the migration routes of their cetacean hosts. While working with multiple barnacle species, my research focuses on Coronula diadema and its common host, the humpback whale. Making use of a rich fossil record, I am attempting to use this method to study whale migration in the Pliocene and Pleistocene.


Undergraduate Students:

Maggie George


Giselle Lopez




Nadia Maarfi




Tran Nguyen




Adrian Overly




Nannaphat Sirison



Lab Technician:

Sara Kahanamoku (BS: Yale University, 2016): I am interested in approaching the study of community paleoecology from multiple perspectives. Current projects include: Northeastern Pacific limpet community ecology, foraminifer fragmentation as a geochemical proxy, and development of morphometric high-throughput imaging methods.



Abigail Kelly (BS: Williams College, 2016, STRI intern): I am working on a project that explores how molluscs respond to the differing energy regimes of the Pacific and Caribbean sides of the Isthmus of Panama. The Pacific experiences coastal upwelling and high nutrient availability, corresponding to high productivity, while the Caribbean experiences no upwelling and low productivity. How do marine communities, which share many of the same species, differ between the Caribbean and Pacific sides?


Lab Alumni:

Brett Archuleta (graduate)

Caitlin Boas (graduate)

Zev Brook (undergraduate)

Jonathan Graham (undergraduate)

Sydney Minges (undergraduate)

James Saulsbury (undergraduate; PhD student, University of Michigan)

Lena Tran (undergraduate)

Vishruth Venkataraman (undergraduate; MSc student, Bristol)


Camp.SectionImpromptu clinic on troubleshooting field vehicle issues, Ibex area of UT.  Middle Ordovician Kanosh and Lehman Formations and Watson Ranch Quartzite in the background.


p1380818 Lab workshop on professional goal-setting, i.e. ‘that time we went bowling and realized that we should stick to paleontology.’ Albany, CA. Late Holocene athletic glory in the background.