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Ichnology Research Lab, Dept. of Geological Sciences

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I am currently seeking motivated graduate students who are interested in studying various aspects of continental ichnology and paleopedology, including the relationships between Pennsylvanian and Permian soil organisms, paleosols, and paleoenvironmental changes in the distal Appalachian basin. 

 

Undergraduate students are also an important part of any research laboratory. I currently have several small-scale projects that can be completed as part of a senior thesis.

 

Please see News and Opportunities for projects and funding opportunities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current Graduate Students

 

 

Mike Hils

 

Mike joined the lab in the Fall 2012 semester. He earned his BS with majors in Geology and Biology from the University of Dayton. Mike has conducted neoichnological experiments with three species of burrowing spiders, Gorgyrella sp. (South African trapdoor spider), Hogna lenta (wolf spider), and Aphonopelma chalcodes (blond tarantula), documenting the burrowing morphologies and their behavioral response to changes in environmental conditions. Mike received grants from the Geological Society of America and the Paleontological Society to help support his research and presented his initial results at the 2013 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Blair

 

Michael joined the lab in the Fall 2013 semester after earning his BS in Geology from Purdue University. Michael will be conducting a field study of Permian Dunkard Group paleosols and continental ichnofossils in West Virginia as part of his Master’s thesis research.

 

Current Undergraduate Students

 

 

Lauren Johnson

 

Lauren joined the CIRL in 2013 to begin a senior thesis in the Department of Geological Sciences. Lauren’s research focuses on an experimental study of the burrowing behavior and burrow morphology of the eastern spadefoot toad, Scaphiopus holbrooki.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Madeline Ingle

 

Madeline joined the CIRL in 2013 as an undergraduate laboratory assistant funded through the OU PACE program. She conducts daily animal care, helps with the neoichnology database, and assists in experimental setup and data collection associated with various burrowing terrestrial animals. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alumni

 

 

Krista Smilek, MS 2009

 

Krista completed her Master’s thesis “Using Ichnology and Sedimentology to Determine the Paleoenvironmental and Paleoecological Conditions of a Nearshore Depositional Environment: Case Studies from the Pennsylvanian Ames Limestone and Modern Holothurians” in 2009. In her thesis research Krista conducted the first detailed investigation of the ichnology of the Ames Limestone from outcrops in the vicinity of Athens, Ohio. She also completed a neoichnological study of the holothurian Thyonella in order to document the suite of possible trace fossils produced by burrowing sea cucumbers in different substrates. Krista received a Geological Society of America Grant-in-Aid in 2008 to help fund her field and laboratory research. Krista has presented her thesis research at the 2008 and 2009 Geological Society of America Annual Meetings. Krista’s Thyonella research was published in The Open Journal of Paleontology in 2012. Krista is currently the Academic Director of the University of Cincinnati Department of Geology.

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Bart Rasor, BS 2010

 

Bart completed his undergraduate thesis in 2010. He was part a National Geographic funded research team from Ohio University to the South Pacific island of Lifou. The purpose of this expedition was to document the first known modern, shallow water deposit of Nautilus shells in two bays in the southern part of the island. Bart helped to analyze the sedimentology of the shallow bays and the taphonomic signatures of the shells in order to develop a modern analog for fossil cephalopod deposits. Bart helped to present this research at the 2009 Geological of Society of America Annual Meeting and was a coauthor on a paper published in Palaios in 2011. Bart worked as a well site geologist for RPS for two years and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in the Department of Geology and Earth Sciences at Miami University.

 

 

 

 

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Angeline Catena, MS 2012

 

Angeline completed her Master’s thesis “Neoichnology of two scincoid lizards and Pennsylvanian paleosols: improving interpretations of continental tracemakers and soil environments” in 2012. Angeline’s Master’s thesis research involved the study of the burrowing behaviors and biogenic structures of two species of skinks, the ocellated sand skink (Chacides ocellatus) and the gold skink (Mabuya multifasciata). Angeline documented the different styles of burrowing and resulting burrow morphologies of these two skinks as well as investigated the effects of variations in changes in soil composition and moisture on their burrowing behavior. Angeline also conducted a detailed study of the paleosols and ichnofossils within an outcrop of the Upper Pennsylvanian Casselman Formation in southeastern Ohio. Angeline received a Geological Society of America grant to help fund her laboratory research. Angeline presented her thesis research at the 2011 and 2012 Geological of Society of America Annual Meeting. Angeline’s Casselman paleosol study was published in Geosciences in 2012. Angeline is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the Department of Biology at Case Western Reserve University.

 

 

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Nicole Dzenowski, MS 2012

 

Nicole completed her Master’s thesis “The neoichnology of two Ambystomatid salamanders, Pennsylvanian paleosols, and their use in paleoenvironmental, paleoecological, and paleoclimatic interpretations” in 2012. Nicole’s Master’s thesis research involved the study of the burrowing behaviors and biogenic structures of two species of salamanders, the tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) and the marbled salamander (Ambystoma opacum). Nicole documented the different styles of burrowing and the different burrow morphologies of these two salamanders as well as variations with changes in soil composition and moisture. Nicole also conducted a detailed study of the paleosols and ichnofossils within an outcrop of the Upper Pennsylvanian Glenshaw Formation in southeastern Ohio. Nicole received a SEPM grant to help fund her field research. Nicole presented her thesis research at the 2011 Geological of Society of America Annual Meeting.  Nicole’s Glenshaw paleosol study was published in Geosciences in 2012. Nicole is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the Department of Geology at the University of Kansas.

 

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Jared Bowen, MS 2013

 

Jared completed his Master’s thesis, “The neoichnology of juliform millipedes and Upper Monongahela to Lower Dunkard group paleosols: a multi-proxy approach to paleolandscape variability,” in 2013. Jared’s thesis research involved the study of the burrowing behaviors and biogenic structures of two species of millipedes, Narceus americanus and Floridobolus penneri. Jared documented the burrowing techniques and burrow morphologies produced by these millipedes as well as the effects of changes in soil composition and moisture on their burrowing behavior. Jared also conducted a detailed study of the paleosols and ichnofossils preserved within the Upper Pennsylvanian–Lower Permian Monongahela and Dunkard groups of southeastern Ohio. Jared received a SEPM Ed Picou Fellowship to help support his research and presented at the 2012 Geological of Society of America Annual Meeting. Jared is currently employed as a Geologic Intern at Innova Exploration.

 

Former Undergraduate Laboratory Assistants

 

Lee Johnson

 

Lee worked in the CIRL from 2009-2011. He assisted with animal care, the construction of a neoichnology database, and the experimental setup and data collection associated with the Arizona desert scorpions (Hadrurus arizonensis).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Tenwalde

 

Lee worked the CIRL from 2009-2011. He assisted with animal care, the construction of a neoichnology database, and the experimental setup and data collection associated with the Arizona desert scorpions (Hadrurus arizonensis).

 

Brian Atkinson

 

Brian worked in the CIRL in 2011. He assisted with the experimental setup and data collection associated with emperor scorpions (Pandinus imperator) and Asian forest scorpions (Heterometrus spinifer).

 

Allison Durkee

 

Allison worked the CIRL from 2012-2013 as an undergraduate laboratory assistant funded through the OU PACE program. She conducted daily animal care, helped with the neoichnology database, and assisted in experimental setup and data collection associated with burrowing terrestrial arthropods. Allison also worked as a field assistant helping to describe Pennsylvanian-Permian Dunkard Group paleosols and trace fossils.

 

Copyright © 2007

Daniel Hembree

Last revised: 1/2014