Age dating: visiting the University of Alabama

Introduction

Last week my research adviser and I visited the University of Alabama Geology department. Our lab works with them frequently. They have an amazing geochemistry stable isotope lab and very generously allow us to borrow equipment and process samples. It was very interesting to see first hand how my raw samples are processed. The main focus of this trip was to obtain ages and growth rates for several of my oysters. [Read more…]

Field Work Along the Trent River

Introduction

Earlier this summer I spent several days doing field work in North Carolina. I was accompanied by my advisor, Rowan Lockwood, and a local expert on local invertebrate paleontology, Buck Ward. This was my first experience working in the field for an extended period of time or taking on a leadership position during data collection. I learned a lot very quickly, which I’ve been able to apply throughout the rest of my work this summer. [Read more…]

Data Collection at the Paleontological Research Institution

Paleontological Research Institution

My summer research began with a trip to one of my favorite places: the Paleontological Research Institution and the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, New York. The Paleontological Research Institution, or PRI for short, houses one of the top 10 largest fossil collections in the U.S, with over 3 million specimens. Its particularly well known for its invertebrate collection, which researchers frequently visit to study specimens housed at the institution. I was a research intern at PRI last summer and learned a lot from everyone who works there. It was a treat to spend a day going through the collection once more. [Read more…]

Fossil Oysters and Environmental Productivity

Crassostrea gigantissima

This summer I’ll be working on my thesis for the geology department. My primary interest is paleontology and most of my research is on extinct oysters. My thesis focuses on one species of oyster, Crassostrea gigantissima. C. gigantissima lived about 30 million years ago along the coast of the southeast United States. Its known for being one of the largest species of oyster, living or extinct. A large modern oyster may grow 10 centimeters in length. A typical C. gigantissima grew 25-30 centimeters long, with a remarkably thick shell. I’m interested in understanding why C. gigantissima grew so large, and hopefully applying that knowledge to help modern oysters. [Read more…]