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College of Arts & Sciences

Dan Hembree

Dr. Daniel Hembree

Associate Professor

Geological Sciences
207 Clippinger Laboratories


Ph.D., 2005, University of Kansas

M.S., 2002, University of Kansas

B.S., 1999, University of New Orleans

Research Interests

Ichnology, Paleopedology, Vertebrate Paleontology

  • Continental ichnofossils
  • Paleosols
  • Pre-Quaternary soil ecosystems
  • Neoichnology

An In-Depth Look at My Research Program

My research interests primarily lie with the interaction of sedimentological and biological processes. I am interested in animal-substrate interactions in ancient and modern continental (or non-marine) environments. These interactions are preserved in the fossil record as trace fossils. Trace fossils provide an in situ record of ancient biodiversity, ecology, and environment. The study of ichnofossils, therefore, provides vital information for accurate paleoenvironmental reconstructions. As sensitive indicators of environmental and climatic change, ichnofossils are also useful for detailed sequence stratigraphic analysis.

In my research, I interpret the paleoenvironmental, paleoclimatic, and paleoecological significance of paleosols and ichnofossils preserved in the geologic record. This involves not only the study of paleosols and continental trace fossils throughout geologic time but also the experimental study of burrowing behaviors of extant terrestrial annelids, arthropods, amphibians, and reptiles. My current research projects involve the study of the influence of climate changes on ancient soils and soil ecosystems including those of the Pennsylvanian of southeast Ohio, Permian of eastern Kansas, and the Eocene to Miocene of Colorado and Wyoming.

Courses Taught

  • GEOL 1010: Introduction to Geology
  • GEOL 1400: Dinosaurs and the Mesozoic World
  • GEOL 2550: Historical Geology (summer)
  • GEOL 4/5440: Ichnology
  • GEOL 4/5560: Paleopedology

Professional Appointments

2012-present, Associate Professor

2007-2012, Assistant Professor

Selected Publications

  • Suess, B., Wisshak, M., Mapes, R., Hembree, D., Landman, N., in press. Microbial bioerosion of erratic sub-fossil Nautilus shells in a karstic cenote (Lifou, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia). Accepted to Ichnos, October 2014.
  • Hembree, D., *Bowen, J., *Catena, A., *Dzenowski, N., 2015. Experimental neoichnology of modern soil animals: keys to interpreting continental tracemakers and reconstructing ancient soil ecosystems, In: McIlroy, D. (Ed.), Ichnology: Papers from Ichnia III. Geological Association of Canada, Miscellaneous Publications 9, p. 85–103.
  • *Johnson, L., Hembree D.I., 2015. Neoichnology of the eastern spadefoot toad, Scaphiopus holbrookii: criteria for recognizing anuran burrows in the fossil record. Palaeontologia Electronica, v. 18, p. 1­-29.
  • Suess, B., Hembree, D., Wisshak, M., Mapes, R., Landman, N., 2015. Taphonomy of deep marine versus backshore collected Nautilus macromphalus conchs (New Caledonia). PALAIOS, v. 30, p. 503-513.
  • *Hils, J.M., Hembree, D.I., 2015. Neoichnology of the burrowing spiders Gorgyrella inermis (Mygalomorphae: Idiopidae) and Hogna lenta (Araneomorphae: Lycosidae). Palaeontologia Electronica, v. 18, p. 1-62.
  • Gierlowski-Kordesch, E.H., Weismiller, H.C., Stigall, A.L., Hembree, D.I., 2015. Pedogenic mud aggregates and sedimentation patterns between basalt flows (Jurassic Kalkrand Formation, Namibia), In: Egenhoff, E., Larsen, D., and Fishman, N. (Eds.), Paying Attention to Mudstones – Priceless!, Geological Society of America Special Paper 515, p. 1–22.
  • Hembree, D.I., Mapes, R.H., Goiran, C., 2014. The impact of high energy storms on shallow water Nautilus (Cephalopoda) taphonomy, Lifou (Loyalty Islands). PALAIOS, v. 29, p. 348-263.
  • Hembree, D.I., 2014. Large, complex burrows of terrestrial invertebrates: neoichnology of Pandinus imperator. In: Hembree, D.I., Platt, B.F., Smith, J.J. (eds.), Experimental Approaches to Understanding Fossil Organisms, Topics in Geobiology, Springer Publishing, pp. 229-263.
  • *Catena, A., Hembree, D.I., 2014. Swimming through the substrate: the neoichnology of Chalcides ocellatus and biogenic structures of sand-swimming vertebrates. Palaeontologia Electronica, v. 17, p. 1-19.
  • *Catena, A., Hembree, D.I., 2014. Biogenic structures of burrowing skinks: neoichnology of Mabuya mutifasciata (Squamata: Scincidae). In: Hembree, D.I., Platt, B.F., Smith, J.J. (eds.), Experimental Approaches to Understanding Fossil Organisms, Topics in Geobiology, Springer Publishing, pp. 343-369.
  • *Bowen, J., Hembree, D., 2014. Neoichnology of two spirobolid millipedes: improving the understanding of the burrows of soil detritivores. Palaeontologia Electronica, v. 17 (1), p. 1-48.
  • *Dzenowski, N., Hembree, D.I., 2014. Quantifying vertebrate biogenic structures using modern analogs: the neoichnology of Ambystomatid salamanders. In: Hembree, D.I., Platt, B.F., Smith, J.J. (eds.), Experimental Approaches to Understanding Fossil Organisms, Topics in Geobiology, Springer Publishing, pp. 305-342.
  •  Stigall, A.L., Hembree, D.I., Gierlowski-Kordesch, E.H., Weismiller, H.C., 2014. Evidence for sexual mating system in a new spinicaudatan genus (Crustacea: “Conchostraca”) from the Early Jurassic Kalkrand Basalt of Namibia. Palaeontology, v. 57, p. 127-140.
  • Landman, N., Mapes, R.H., Cochran, J.K., Lignier, V., Hembree, D.I., Goiran, C., Folcher, E., Brunet, P., 2014. An unusual occurrence of Nautilus macromphalus in a cenote in the Loyalty Islands (New Caledonia). PLoS ONE, v. 9 (12).
  • Hembree, D.I., 2013. Neoichnology of the whip scorpion Mastigoproctus giganteus: complex burrows of predatory terrestrial arthropods. PALAIOS, v. 28, p. 141-162.
  • Hembree, D.I., *Johnson, L.M., *Tenwalde, R.W., 2012. Neoichnology of the desert scorpion Hadrurus arizonensis: burrows to biogenic cross lamination. Palaeontologica Electronica v. 15, p. 1-34.
  • *Smilek, K.R., Hembree, D.I., 2012. Neoichnology of the holothurian Thyonella gemmata. Open Paleontology Journal v. 4, p. 1-10.
  • *Catena, A., Hembree, D.I., 2012. Recognizing vertical and lateral variability in terrestrial landscapes: a case study from the paleosols of the Casselman Formation (Conemaugh Group), Southeast Ohio, U.S.A. Geosciences v. 2, p. 178-202.
  • *Dzenowski, N., Hembree, D.I., 2012. Examining local climate variability in the Late Pennsylvanian through paleosols: an example from the Lower Conemaugh Group of southeastern Ohio. Geosciences v. 2, p. 260-276.
  • Hembree, D.I., Nadon, G., 2011. A Paleopedologic and Ichnologic Perspective of the Terrestrial Pennsylvanian Landscape in the Distal Appalachian Basin, USA. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology v. 312, p. 138-166.
  • Hembree, D.I., Nadon, G., King, R., 2011. Large, complex burrow systems from freshwater deposits of the Monongahela Group (Virgilian), southeast Ohio, USA. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology v. 300, p. 128-137.
  • Mapes, R.H., Hembree, D.I., Rasor, B., Stigall, A.L., Goirand, C., de Forge, R., 2010. Nautilus (Cephalopoda) taphonomy and sedimentology of a subtidal, carbonate dominated nearshore environment. Palaios v. 25, p. 656-670.
  • Hembree, D.I., 2009. Neoichnology of burrowing millipedes: understanding the relationships between ichnofossil morphology, behavior, and sediment properties. Palaios, v. 24, p. 425-439.
  • Hembree, D.I., 2009. Aestivation in the fossil record, in Navas, C.A., Carvalho, J.E. (eds.), Aestivation. Springer-Verlag.
  • Hembree, D.I., Hasiotis, S.T., 2008. Miocene vertebrate and invertebrate burrows defining compound paleosols in the Pawnee Creek Formation, Colorado, USA. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 270, p. 349-365.
  • Hembree, D.I., 2007. Phylogenetic revision of Rhineuridae (Reptilia: Squamata: Amphibaenia) from the Eocene to Miocene North America. The University of Kansas Paleontological Contributions New Series, no. 15, p. 1-20.
  • Hembree, D.I., Hasiotis, S.T., 2007. Sand-swimming biogenic structures produced by the Kenyan sand boa Eryx colubrinus: modern analogs for interpreting continental ichnofossils. Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 77, p. 389-397.
  • Hembree, D.I., Hasiotis, S.T., 2007. Paleosols and ichnofossils of the White River Formation of Colorado: insight into soil ecosystems of the North American Midcontinent during the Eocene-Oligocene transition. Palaios, v. 22, p. 123-142.
  • Hasiotis, S.T., Platt, B.F., Hembree, D.I., Everhart, M., 2007. The trace fossil record of vertebrates. In: Miller, W. (ed.), Trace Fossils: Concepts, Problems, and Prospects, pp. 196-216.
  • Hembree, D.I., 2006. Amphisbaenian paleobiogeography: evidence of vicariance and geodispersal patterns. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 235, p. 334-348.
  • Hembree, D.I., Hasiotis, S.T., 2006. The identification and interpretation of reptile ichnofossils in paleosols through modern studies. Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 76, p. 575-588.
  • Hembree, D.I., Hasiotis, S.T., Martin, L.D., 2005. Torridorefugium eskridgensis (new ichnogenus and ichnospecies): amphibian aestivation burrows from the Lower Permian Speiser Shale of Kansas. Journal of Paleontology, v. 79, p. 596-606.
  • Hembree, D.I., Martin, L.D., Hasiotis, S.T., 2004. Amphibian burrows and ephemeral ponds of the Lower Permian Speiser Shale, Kansas: evidence for seasonality in the mid-continent. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 203, p. 127-152.

* denotes student author.

Recent Advisee Masters Theses

  • Michael Blair, 2015, A Paleopedological and Ichnological Approach to Spatial and Temporal Variability in Pennsylvanian-Permian Strata of the Lower Dunkard Group, M.S. thesis, Ohio University.
  • Mike Hils, 2014, Neoichnology of the Burrowing Spiders Gorgyrella inermis (Araneae: Mygalomorphae) and Hogna lenta (Araneae: Araneomorphae), M.S. thesis, Ohio University.
  • Jared Bowen, 2013, The Neoichnology of Juliform Millipedes and Upper Monongahela to Lower Dunkard Group Paleosols: A Multi-Proxy Approach to Paleolandscape Variability. M.S. thesis, Ohio University.
  • Angeline Catena, 2012. Neoichnology of two Scincoid lizards and Pennsylvanian paleosols: improving interpretations of continental tracemakers and soil environments. M.S. Thesis, Ohio University.
  • Nicole Dzenowski, 2012. The neoichnology of two Ambystomatid salamanders, Pennsylvanian paleosols, and their use in paleoenvironmental, paleoecological, and paleoclimatic interpretations. M.S. Thesis, Ohio University.
  • Krista Smilek, 2009. Using ichnology and sedimentology to determine paleoenvironmental and paleoecological conditions of a shallow water marine depositional environment: case studies from the Pennsylvanian Ames Limestone and modern holothurians. M.S. Thesis, Ohio University.

Recent Advisee Undergraduate Theses

  • Lauren Johnson, 2015, Understanding Anuran Burrows: Neoichnology of the Eastern Spadefoot Toad, Scaphiopus holbrookii, B.S. thesis, Ohio University.
  • Bart Rasor, 2010. Taphonomy and Sedimentology of a Modern Nautilus Deposit in a Nearshore Paleoenvironment. B.S. Thesis, Ohio University.


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