Department of Geology and Geophysics
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Office: Williams Conservatory B03
PhD, Penn State, 2008
BS, University of Chicago, 2003
I am a paleoecologist who uses fossil plants to investigate the response of ancient forest ecosystems to environmental perturbations. Specifically, how did environmental changes affect taxonomic diversity, ecosystem structure, plant-insect interactions, and biogeographic patterns? By understanding how ecosystems reacted to past changes, we can better predict how modern ecosystems will respond to anthropogenic changes like CO2-induced global warming. The research conducted in my lab is field-based, specimen-based, and collaborative. Current research focuses on: 1) biotic response to climate changes during the hothouse Paleogene in the Western US, particularly Wyoming, 2) the evolution of East African terrestrial ecosystems over the last 30 million years, and 3) the use of fossil plants to reconstruct paleoclimate and paleoenvironment.
* indicates graduate student first author
In the coming semesters, I will be teaching courses on paleobotany, paleoecology, and paleoclimatology. The University of Wyoming is situated in a celebrated, world-class area for deep-time paleobotany, and I intend to take full advantage of this both in my formal courses and as a mentor for independent student research.
My formal courses emphasize active and process-based learning, critical thinking, and the scientific method because I firmly believe that the people who will make an impact in the world are those who know how to critique and share information and can adapt to the unexpected.
I am a co-founder of The Bearded Lady Project: Challenging the Face of Science, a documentary film and photography project that investigates our stereotypes of what a field scientist looks like.