Hello! Our summer research project is now in full swing.
This week I started wet-sieving samples that we collected from the Liberty Formation, the post-Richmondian invasion community. For those not too familiar with geology, a “formation” is just a specific layer of rock in the stratigraphic column that can be traced and studied in multiple localities. Here’s a helpful video that briefly explains sedimentary rocks and how they help us understand Earth’s past – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8Y3oaYR-3c
Wet-sieving is a process in which sediment is dumped into a box with a mesh bottom and open top, placed in water tub and shaken continuously to clean off any fossils in the sediment. It is a long, messy, arm-tiring job that requires a good deal of patience! Not to complain, though- the fossils we’re getting out of the Liberty formation sediment through the sieve are plentiful, and frankly pretty awesome. Further, the lab that I am working in is brand new and perfect for the job. Not to mention, my advisor Dr. Tyler has made sure multiple times that I am comfortable in the space!
Tomorrow and Monday we head out to some road cuts near Cincinnati as well as northern Kentucky to collect samples from the Fairview Formation, a group of rocks that consist of a pre-invasion community. We’re also heading to Cincinnati to gather data from the University of Cincinnati Paleontology Museum. Soon, Dr. Tyler and I will start making species assignments for the fossils collected and move forward with our analysis of how the different ecosystems interacted both during and after the Richmondian Invasion.