(Cable Beach, Broome, W. Australia)


Associate Professor of Geology
Department of Geology
Oberlin College
52 W. Lorain St.
Oberlin, OH 44074

Ph. (440) 775-8353
Fax (440) 775-8038

BA Beloit College
MS University of Rochester
PhD University of Rochester

Research Interests: My main research focus has been on the processes of preservation (taphonomy) particularly of molluscs and echinoderms. I have been a member of a larger research group studying modern processes such as dissolution, epibiont overgrowth, and mechanical destruction on experimentally deployed organisms in a wide variety of environments from the shallow shelf, to the deep continental slope in both the Gulf of Mexico and in the Bahamas. Our research group is called the Shelf and Slope Experimental Taphonomy Initiative (SSETI) and is summarized below. The goal of this research is to understand the timing of fossilization processes in deep-water settings. An important way to do this is to measure them in modern settings and extrapolate to ancient assemblages. Our experiments, then, are deployed and retrieved by submersible at regular intervals and the changes in the shells are quantified.

As an extension of this research, I have developed an interest in the paleoecologic implications for encrusting organisms. They may prove to be excellent indicators of paleobathymetry, nutrient levels, and other physical and chemical conditions acting on any particular organism during its life and after it dies and becomes fossilized. Some of these ideas have been tested in ancient reef cores from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Other research interests include hurricane effects on tropical coastlines including impacts on coral reefs, beaches, and the overall sediment budget in reef systems. I am also working on the ecology and paleoecology of hydrocarbon seeps and brine seeps. This interest has led to a collaboration with Russell Shapiro at Gustavus Adolphus College (now at Cal. State, Chico) to look at the taphonomy and paleoecology of Cretaceous hydrocarbon seeps of the Pierre Shale exposed in Colorado. We have recently returned from our first field season mapping and collecting from the fossil seeps. There will be more information on that project soon.

Marine Science: GEOL 161 (Team taught with Steven Wojtal)
161 Syllabus

Evolution of the Earth: GEOL 204
204 Syllabus

Headlines from the History of Life
128 Syllabus
320 Syllabus
My Publications

The Shelf & Slope Experimental Taphonomy Initiative (SSETI)








Winter Term Research in
St. Croix U.S.Virgin Islands (2002)
details of the project

Comparison of modern and ancient hydrocarbon seep communitites and their taphonomic signature

Stratigraphic history of Tague Bay lagoon

Keck Geology Consortium summer project

Web page last revised on August 24, 2007