University of California Museum of Paleontology UCMP in the field See the world (and its fossils) with UCMP's field notes.
About UCMP People Blog Online Exhibits Public programs Education Collections Research
About UCMP : UCMP newsletter

Tidbits, September 2012

Welcome!
In addition to Seth Finnegan and Lisa White (see page 1), UCMP welcomes four new students, a visiting researcher, and a volunteer archivist this semester:

Tesla Monson joins the Hlusko Lab. Tesla did her undergrad work at Princeton University (2007) and then received an M.A. from San Francisco State University (2012) in anthropology. Her M.A. thesis was on dental variation in primates and she'll likely continue this for her Ph.D. Additional congratulations are due as she received a Chancellor's fellowship.

Camilla Souto joins the Marshall Lab. She comes to us from Universidade Federal Da Bahia, Brazil, and she will be looking at the integration of morphological, molecular and stratigraphic data in phylogeny reconstruction and in assessing diversity dynamics, most likely for a group of irregular echinoids.

Dori Lynne Contreras joins the Looy Lab and comes from Texas State University. She is interested in the functional evolution of rainforests and her research focuses on the late Mesozoic and uses a combination of paleo and extant techniques to investigate the ecological roles of angiosperms and gymnosperms in fossil plant assemblages from tropical paleo-climates.

Jeff Benca also joins the Looy Lab and comes to UCMP from the University of Washington. Jeff studies living plants to test hypothesized drivers of mass extinctions and environmental changes in the deep past. Much of his experimental and fossil work emphasizes ecological and developmental responses of lycopsids to environmental changes that fundamentally shaped the evolution of Earth's terrestrial ecosystems.

Welcome also to Brian Rankin who will be a Visiting Student Researcher at UCMP during the fall semester. Currently, Brian is a graduate student at the University of Calgary studying with UCMP alumna, Jessica Theodor. A Michael Smith Foreign Study grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada is making it possible for him to study our extensive collections of Late Cretaceous and Paleogene mammals. His research goal is to analyze geographic patterns of distribution of these mammals in the northern United States and southern Canada.

And welcome to Claire Englander, as a volunteer Assistant Archivist working on our CLIR grant along with Doug Clarke and Dave Strauss (see the May 2012 UCMP News).

Congratulations!

Emily Lindsey

[Click on the photo to see an enlargement] Emily Lindsey and her husband/field assistant Martin Tomasz with the jacketed femur and tibia of the giant sloth, Eremotherium, in Ecuador. Emily and Martin were married this past summer.
 
To Mark Goodwin who was awarded an NSF-Early-concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER) to build a "Digital Cranial Atlas of Pachycephalosaurid Dinosaurs." Mark will be working with David Evans, University of Toronto and the Royal Ontario Museum, and Jack Horner, Museum of the Rockies, to undertake high-resolution CT scanning of pachycephalosaur skulls and domes to assess their development and relative ontogenetic stage. Mark was also invited to be a keynote speaker at the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) research symposium on "Forming a University Museum Collection Network as the Core of Frontier Research" in September, Kyoto City, Japan.

To Emily Lindsey on her wedding in July to Martin Tomasz, whom she met in Antarctica while she was working as part of NSF's Long Term Ecological Research Program. Martin was the electronics technician on the boat, and it turns out that he is also a really good field assistant (see photo)!

To Susan Tremblay who is not only a recipient of a research grant, but who also received a UCMP Graduate Fellowship, allowing her to concentrate on her research this fall.

To UCMP on receipt of a $401,833 National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences. The grant will support a partnership with the Museum of the Earth, the University of Kansas Natural History Museum, and the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History to develop a freely accessible online resource about evolutionary trees called "The Tree Room."

And special congratulations to our new Ph.D.s!
Dr. Katie Brakora¸ who will be continuing her teaching career at St. Mary's College, teaching human anatomy this fall.

Dr. Erin Meyer has been appointed as a Visiting Scholar in UCMP. She is an Associate Scientist with the Marine Life Protection Act (MPA) Monitoring Enterprise generating science-based, adaptive MPA monitoring plans and working to improve scientific and public understanding of performance assessments of California's statewide MPA network.

Dr. Susumu Tomiya filed his dissertation this summer and will be working as a lecturer here this fall so (in his words) "I will be around … like a living fossil."

Other news
The Girl Scouts celebrated their centennial anniversary at the Alameda County Fairgrounds on May 5th. Some 22,000 attendees learned about local science programs, science careers, and environmentally friendly practices. Many discussed paleontology with Kaitlin Maguire who was there to represent the UCMP.

UCMP alum and now postdoctoral associate, Brian Swartz, is working with Brent Mishler, Director of the University and Jepson Herbaria, to organize a year-long seminar supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation — The Sawyer Seminar — focusing on four themes: (1) biology: why the scientific and evolutionary worldview matters; (2) the cultural and historical roots of anthropocentric practices; (3) conservation and law: the standing of natural objects under the law; and (4) how public policy influences global sustainability. For more information, contact Brian.
 

Emily Lindsey photo courtesy of Emily Lindsey