An Update

Our summer research is well underway!

Dr. Tyler and I had the pleasure of going to Cincinatti to collect data from the University of Cincinnati’s Paleontology department. UC’s collection is VERY impressive; Ross Geller would’ve been jealous of us. Not only were we able to collect a ton of data for our food web reconstructions using the museum’s database, we also got to see and hold plenty of extremely well preserved specimens. Not only was that pretty neat, it will also be very helpful for identifying our own specimens this coming week.

Also, Dr. Tyler and I collected from multiple localities in Cincinatti and Kentucky to get more data from the Fairview Formation (rocks from AFTER the Richmondian Invasion). Field work is both fun and tiring; shoveling/carrying 5 gallon buckets of mudstone in the 90 degree heat is not for the faint of heart! Back in Oxford, I’ve been busy wet-sieving these samples, preparing them for species identification.

We recently constructed our first fossil food web using the museum data from Cincinnati! This was done by running our data/guild assignments through a computer program called Gephi. This preliminary test suggested that there wasn’t a huge difference between before and after-invasion ecosystem complexity. After augmenting the museum data with our own findings, we will run the tests again and see what happens!

Lastly, we have officially turned in our abstract for the Geological Society of America’s national conference in Denver, CO. This conference presents an amazing opportunity to share our findings and to learn from others in the field of geology.

Dr. Tyler and I are going to begin identifying samples from our field collections this week. I’ll keep you posted about what we find!


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