I am primarily an invertebrate paleontologist. My research interests include mollusks, arthropods, and corals (I also dabble in Cenozoic mammals and birds). I am most knowledgeable in ammonoid paleobiology. My ammonite research includes functional morphology, ontogenetic sequences, phylogenetic bracketing, low-temperature stable-isotope geochemistry, fractal geometry, and recovery after mass extinction events. Check out my research highlights below!
In my M.S. thesis, I devised a way to normalize fractal data from fragmented ammonite sutures in order to work with ontogenetic sequences and larger sample sizes.These papers were both published on the open-access platform Geosciences. Also stay tuned for the subsequent ontogenetic and taxonomic papers my friends and I have started which rely on these new methods! Watch the video on the right if you'd like to learn more.
Carbon and oxygen isotopes have been central to my research on both the morphology and ecology of ammonoids. I hope to include more of this research in my PhD studies, along with other types of geochemical data including neodymium and nickel data.
I am interested in the survival (or extinction) of ammonoids in every Phanerozoic extinction event where they existed. To me, ammonites are an excellent opportunity for profound ecological proxy. They were r-selected and supported their ecosystems, so their response to ecological collapse is relatable to all sorts of invertebrates facing dire environmental pressures.
I feel I have a unique advantage when trying to reconstruct ammonoid soft tissue because I was a serious paleoartist before I ever became a paleontologist. I have been vocal in the process of reconstruction theory which applies to ammonoids. Using hard tissue and a process known as phylogenetic bracketing, I am able to reconstruct ammonoids based on science as soon as new discoveries are made.
I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to broaden my paleontological perspective as an unofficial adoptee of Dr. Donald Prothero's research team. We primarily work on Cenozoic artiodactyl mammals, especially those from the last Ice Age. We also do a small amount of research on birds from the Ice Age to now.
I might be one of the few people alive who enjoys doing my own biostatistics. Engaging with the quantitative side of my research has given me insight not only into population dynamics, but I love using statistics to approach morphological questions for ammonites as well as mammals and birds.