Lab News     Student Opportunities  
1/15/2014 Ordovician Atlas expands!  


I am always seeking motivated students, both undergraduates and potential graduate students, to join my research group.

Research projects are available in GIS-based paleobiogeography, phylogenetic systematics of brachiopods, and taphonomy and evolution of crustacean taxa. Interested students should contact me directly at

Graduate funding through Teaching and Research Assistantships is available through the NSF grant funding and the Department of Geological Sciences. More info.

The Stigall lab (or as we sometimes call them: the Stig-All Stars) have been working super hard to populate species and higher taxa page in the Ordovician Atlas with a goal of having all the top 50 species up by the end of the month. They are doing a tremendous job! There are currently 32 species--in 5 phyla live!      
1/1/2014 New year, new publications      
Lots of exciting new research is coming out from the Stigall lab this month: more niche modelling, more brachiopod phylogenetics, and even a new species of conchostracan!      
10/15/2013 Geological Society of America      
As usual, Ohio University's paleontology program was well represented at the GSA meeing-11 presentations total! Five involved members of the Stigall lab. Perhaps most excitingly, we rolled out our new outreach website on Cincinnatian fossils:      
7/15/2013 New PLoS ONE paper on Ordovician speciation
Now that the phylogenetic analyses from Davey's thesis are in press (with Journal of Paleontology and Journal of Systematic Palaeontology), we were able to publish the phylogenetic biogeography paper that builds on those analyses. This analysis uncovered a dramatic shift in speciation style (from vicariance to geodispersal) associated with the M4/M5 sequence boundary, shift in tectophases, and GICE excursion. Really interesting stuff! We hope to expand this analysis with more phylogenies as they become available from our lab and others (paging alumnus Rob Swisher...)
6/24/2013 SILAS workshop
This week, I had the priviledge to work with a group of 22 science teachers in a program co-led by OU Department of Education faculty to enhance science literacy in Appalachian Ohio. I developed units based on deep time, fossils of ohio, and plate tectonics. It was inspiring to spend time with such dedicated educators.


6/10/2013 IGCP 591 Meeting: Lund, Sweden
This year, the annual meeting for IGCP 591 (Early to Middle Paleozoic Revolution) was held in Lund, Sweden. I spoke about our work on niche evolution during the Richmondian Invasion. The talk was well recieved and the opportunities to engage with international colleagues at the meeting was tremendous. So many talented brachiopod workers! (sad that there are so few of us in the US...)
7/5/2013 Exciting spring and summer

I am woefully behind on reporting the truly exciting goings on in the lab. This spring I was on sabbatical, but my students "held down the fort" in impressive fashion!

Hannah completed her thesis, won the outstanding graduating student award, submitted and had her thesis research accepted for publication in Paleobiology. She also completed digitizing the Kallmeyer collection, with the assistance of Diane and Cody, and has spent the summer building incredible content for the bryozoan pages of the Digital Atlas of Ordovician Life. I will really miss her enthiastic presence and general awsomeness in the lab.

Jen made visited the Peabody Museum and National Museum of Natural History Collections (twice) to gather data for her revision of Eochonetes/Thearodonta. She also recieved a very prestigious teaching award from Ohio University, the outstanding TA award, and three grants to fund her research. Congratulations, Jen!

2/11/2013 AAAS Meeting and Ithaca's Darwin Days
This month, I am honored to be presenting two presitigous talkw within a week of each other: an invited lecture as part of a macroevolution session as the American Associationfor the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting and the keynote address for Cornell University and the Paleontological Research Institute's Darwin Days on Invasive species and evolution.
2/1/2013 Brame leads iDigBio supported Georeferencing Workshop
Hannah held an outstanding workshop today for the Ordovician team of the PaleoNICHES project and four additional curators at the Cincinnati Museum Center today. The future of specimen based science is very bright with such fantastic people and resources available to our field!
1/15/2013 Teacher improvement grant funded by Ohio Board of Regents
A proposal submitted collaboration with faculty in the OU Teacher Education department to improve science literacy training for Applachian teachers was funded! I am very excited to have the opportunity to make a real difference in our badly underfunded regional school system through the project.
11/15/2012 Busy and productive fall!
The Stigall lab has been busy this fall. We welcomed our new grad student, Jennifer Bauer, to the group. Hannah and I traveled to Kansas for a PaleoNICHES working group meeting. We have been designing and implementing a new museum database for our collections. We presented a talk and two posters at GSA in Charlotte. One new paper was published. And we've been busy analyzing data, revising text, and teaching classes. Busy, busy, busy.
6/1/2012 End of year accolades
The Stigall lab typically shines at the Geological Sciences end of year picnic, but the lab's showing year was particuarly strong. Davey won the Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Hannah was presented the Outstanding TA Award. Sierra won Oustanding graduating senior, and new lab member Diane Estes was awarded the Distinguished Professor Scholarship. Working with these talented students is the key reason that I was able to walk away with the Outstanding Faculty Research Award.
5/25/2012 Wright defends, manuscripts forthcoming
Davey did an excellent job defending his MS thesis today. Next up is paper submission. Davey already has one ms in review with JP, another will be sent to the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, and a third will be submitted to PLoS One. Great work, Davey!
4/25/2012 Brame and Wright present at NC-GSA
Hannah and Davey presented talks on their reseach at the North-Central GSA meeting in Dayton, Ohio today. It's great to have such exciting reseach presented practically on top of the rocks that they examine.
4/1/2012 Brame recieves grants
Hannah recieved funding from the Geological Society of America and the Cincinnati Dry Dredgers to support her thesis field work. Congrats, Hannah!
3/15/2012 New NSF grant to digitize Cincinntian fossils: The PaleoNICHES project is born!
We recieved notice that an NSF grant submitted by Dr. Stigall in conjunction with Bruce Lieberman (Univ Kansas) and Jon Hendricks (San Jose State Univ) was recommended for funding. This grant will provide 3 years of funding to digitize, georeference, and image museums specimens of Cincinnatian, Pennsylvanian, and Cenozoic fossils...and ultimately lead to very cool ditigal atlas apps for mobile devices.
2/10/2012 Stigall's research featured in Science
Today's issue of SCIENCE included a full page review of Dr. Stigall's research on invasive species during the Late Devonian Mass Extinction. A banner day for our lab!
1/1/2012 Brachiopods on the cover of GSA Today
GSA Today started off the new year in style..with Devonian brachiopoods gracing the cover and an science article by Dr. Stigall on the role of invasives species in driving biodiversity loss during the Late Devonian Biodiversity Crsis
10/10/11 Stigall Lab at GSA
Davey presented a fantastic talk on his Glyptorthis phylogeny today at GSA. Dr. Stigall was elected to the Paleontological Society Council in the Councilor Under 40 position.
9/30/11 Malizia thesis published
Congratulations to Rich on the publication of his thesis work in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology! This paper (and another one pubished by Dr. Stigall this summer in the Memiors of the Australian Association of Paleontologists) represent the first use of the powerful niche modeling program, Maxent, in the fossi record.
9/5/11 Welcome to fall quarter
We had a busy summer in the Stigall Lab. Davey Wright visited the Smithsonian collections (twice) and the Yale Peabody Museum to collect data for his phylogenetic revisions. We welcome two new lab members this fall: Hannah Brame, a new MS student who will work on the Cincinnatian, a Sierra Isard, our undergraduate research assistant for the year. Dr. Stigall also welcomed a new baby girl!
5/5/11  Malizia sucessfully defends MS thesis and submits manuscript!
Rich Malizia gave an excellent defense presentation and completed all the requirements for his MS degree. Rich has already revised his thesis for publication and submitted the manuscript to Palaeo3. In addition, Rich was awarded the Geology Department's Outstanding Graduate Student Award at the honors picnic. Congratulations, Rich!
4/15/11  Wright recieves fellowship and grants
Davey Wright was awarded the OCEES Fellowship to support his thesis research during fall quarter as well as external grants from the Cincinnati Dry Dredgers and Yale Peabody Museum which provide funding for museum visits. Congraulations Davey.
1/10/11 IBS meeting in Crete
Right after the quarter started, I had the chance to give an oral presenation at the International Biogeography Society's meeting in Crete, Greece. It was a great opportunity to share research combing methods developed by biologists with the "deep time" fossil record with a group of almost exclusively modern biogeographers.
1/1/11 Niche stability and geographic range analysis published in Palaeo3
A ENM study analyzing niche stability during gradual environmental change in Cincinnatian brachiopods featuring the master's thesis research of Brad Walls--was published today in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology! Congratulations, Brad!
12/29/10 Late Devonian speciation study published
Just in time for the holidays, my study of how invasive species contributed to the reduction of Late Devonian speciation rate was published in PLoS ONE. NSF and Ohio University released a press release on the article (NSF, OU), and the story has been getting really some great press around the internet, radio, and in newspapers. A few of these articles are online here: Live Science, MSNBC Cosmic Log, Discovery News, Voice of America, Deutschlandfunk, Columbus Dispatch.
10/29/10 Stigall Lab at the Annual Geological Society of America Meeting
Both Rich and Davey presented posters on their research at the GSA in Denver, while I gave an oral presentation on the relative frequency of niche evolution vs. niche convervastism in geologic time. We had a great time discussing our research with colleauges.
10/14/10 Taphonomy of modern Nautilus
This month's issue of PALAIOS features both an article AND cover about taphonomic analysis of modern Nautilus shells from New Caledonia resulting from a National Geogrpaphic grant to Dan Hembree and Royal Mapes, both here at OU. The photos only hint at the beauty of the field site.
10/1/10 Ecological Niche Modeling of Cincinnatian brachiopods published
The first publication of ENM of Cincinnatian brachiopods--featuring the master's thesis research of Nikki Dudei--was published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology! Congratulations, Nikki!
9/26/10 Juassic conchostracans of Namibia
Our National Geographic funded expedition to Namibia was sucessful--we found the conchostracans! Between sedimentologic and paleontologic investigations, we also took some time to study the modern mammals of Namibia in Etosha National Park. A truly awe-inspiring experience!
8/25/10 Davey Wright joins the lab
Welcome to Davey Wright, who is joining the from Maryland (via Kansas)! Davey will contribute to the exciting work on Cincinnatian brachiopod biogeography for his thesis research.
7/23/10 Paleobiogeography in China
I was honored to be invited ot present a full day workshop on quantitative paleobiogeography--featuring Ecolgoical Niche Modeling and Lieberman modified BPA--as part of the First International Workshop on Quantitative Paleontology and Stratigraphy in Nanjing. The audience of Chinese graduate students and faculty were very enthusiastic students, and hopefully we'll see some papers utilizing these techniques from China in the next few years.
7/2/10 3rd International Palaeontological Congress in London
Students in Bruce Lieberman's Lab at the Univ. of Kansas held an excellent symposium on Macroevolution at the IPC, where I presented some of the most recent work on niche evolution in Cincinnatian brachiopods.
4/12/10 Rich Malzia earns grant and fellowship
Rich Malzia has been awarded a Grants in Aid award from the Geological Society of America in support of his master's thesis work on niche evolution in Cincinnatian brachiopods. Rich also sucessfully competed for one of 6 quarters of fellowship support through the Ohio Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Studies for next academic year. Congratulations!
3/28/10 National Geographic funds research on Namibian spinicaudatans
The National Geographic Society has funded field work during the summer of 2010 for my project with Beth Gierlowski-Kordesch to examine Jurassic lake deposits in central Namibia. These units directly correlate to those I studied in Antarctica, and we are hoping to find an equally beautiful conchostracan fauna...or at the least, beautiful lake deposits between the flood basalts.
3/15/10  First paper on Cincinnatian brachiopod GIS published
The first paper (of many, hopefully) using GIS-based methods to examine patterns in Cincinnatian brachiopods is now published in Palaeontologia Electronica! Check it out (here) if you like Cincinnati or brachiopods or invasive species.
2/1/10  6th International Brachiopod Congress in Melbourne
I traveled Down Under to present recent ENM analyses on Cincinnatian brachiopods as well as learn about recent research in modern and fossil brachiopods. What a great meeting! I even had the opportunity to collect Devonian and Tertiary specimens. I can beging to understand the allure of Cenozic fossils after spending some time with the beautiful cool water carbonates on the coast of south Australia.
11/15/09 Ecological Niche Modeling of horses published in Paleobiology  
The second half of Kaitlin Maguire's thesis using ENM to model the ranges of Miocene equids is now published in Paleobiology. Congratulations Kaitlin!
10/31/09 Stigall Lab at the Annual Geological Society of America Meeting
Former lab members Brad Walls and Rob Swisher gave excellent presentations on their thesis research at this year's annual GSA meeting.  
9/1/09  Richard Malizia joins the lab  
Welcome to Rich Malizia! Rich, his wife Jenny, and their two boys Cameron and Vincent have moved to beautiful Ohio from the Philadelphia region for Rich to pursue a thesis on beautiful Cincinnatian brachiopods and sedimentology.  
6/26/09  Stigall Lab at the North American Paleontological Convention  

Brad Walls, Nikki Dudei, Rob Swisher, and Alycia Stigall each presented a talk about their recent research on the biogeographic patterns of Cincinnatian brachipods. A fitting subject, since the meeting was located in the middle of the Cincinnatian outcrop belt.

6/20/09  Stigall receives NSF grant  
Alycia Stigall has recieved a 5-year NSF grant in support of her continuing research on the use of ecological niche modeling to examine species' geographic ranges. The grant will fund additional research into the faunal dynamics of the Cincinnatian brachiopods as well as provide funds for much needed phylogenetic revision of these taxa.  
6/11/09  Dudei sucessfully defends MS thesis!  
Nicole Dudei defended her MS thesis and submitted her thesis to the university. Nikki did a particuarly impressive job of completing all the requirements during Spring Quarter while also recovering from hand surgery. Next fall, Nikki, returns to Univ. Wisconsin-Whitewater as a lecturer. Her students are very fortunate to have her, but we'll miss her in Athens.  
6/10/09  Swisher sucessfully defends MS thesis!  
Rob Swisher gave an excellent defense presentation and completed all the requirements for his MS degree. Next up for Rob is a return to trilobite (his first love) as he pursues a PhD with Steve Westrop at Oklahoma University. I look forward to seeing more of him at GSA meetings in years to come.  
5/22/09  Walls sucessfully defends MS thesis!  
Brad Walls sucessfully defended and submitted his MS thesis. Brad has already submitted the first of two papers from his thesis and will submit the second soon. Brad was awarded the Geological Sciences Department's "Outstanding Graduate Student" Award for his excellent work over the past two years. We'll miss him as he pursues a career in the energy industry.  
1/6/09 OU Paleo recieves donation of Cincinnatian fossils  
Mr. Jack Kallmeyer, longtime president of the Cincinanti Dry Dredgers and amateur fossil collector extraordinaire, donated over 7000 specimens of beautifully preserved Cincinnatian fossils to the Ohio University Paleontology Collections. These specimens include taxa from all phyla of Late Orodovician animals and provide an exception research reference set. In fact, our grad students are already incorporating this new data into their MS theses!  
10/6/08  Stigall Lab at the Annual Geological Society of America Meeting  
Our research group gave 5 presentations at this year's annual meeting. Brad Walls and Nikki Dudei presented posters, while Rob Swisher gave a talk on their MS research. Alycia Stigall presented an invited talk for the Paleontological Society's Centennial Celebration on integrating paleobiogeography, paleoecology, and macroevoltuionary studies and another talk in a session she chaired on the continued relevance of specimen based paleontology to the next 100 years of the Paleo Society.  
5/23/08  Maguire sucessfully defends MS thesis! and submits paper  
Kaitlin Maguire sucessfully defended her master's thesis and completed all the requirement for her MS degree. Her defense was outstanding and her thesis committee wished they could have awarded a higher level than pass. Following her defense, Kaitlin submitted the second half of her thesis to Paleobiology. We wish Kaitlin all the best in her future PhD work at UC Berkeley. We are really going to miss her!  
4/25/08  Stigall Lab visits Cincinnati Museum Center and Dry Dredgers Meeting  
The Cincinnati biogeography research team (Alycia, Brad, Nikki, and Rob) spent a very productive day in Cincinnati working in the collections of the Cincinnati Museum Center then Dr. Stigall presented a lecture for the Cincinnati Dry Dredgers amateur paleontology association about Devonian invasive species and enlisted the association's help with the Cincinnati project. You can learn more about our visit to the CMC here or the Dry Dredgers here.  
4/17/08  Walls earns Paleontological Society Student Research Grant
Brad Walls has been awarded the 2008 Boucot Student Research Award in support of his master's thesis work on Cincinnatian brachiopods and stratigraphy. Congratulations!
4/10/08  Stigall awarded PRF Grant to fund Cincinnatian project  
The Petroleum Research Fund has funded a a proposal to Alycia Stigall to support the use of environmental niche modeling to study the effect of species invasions during the Late Ordovician Richmondian Invasion in the Cincinnati Arch region. This two year grant will support field work and stipends for graduate and undergraduate students working on the project  
4/07/08   Dudei, Swisher, and Walls awarded GSA Student Grants-in-Aid Awards
Nikki Dudei, Rob Swisher, and Brad Walls each sucessfully earned GSA grants to conduct field work for their MS projects on biogeography of Cincinnatian brachiopods. Congratulations to each of them for their hard work and excellent proposals.



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