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Dr. Mark Clementz
I'm a paleontologist whose research focuses on the ecology of the past, specifically the evolution of shallow marine/coastal ecosystems through time and the role that vertebrates have played within these ecosystems. My research requires an understanding of physiological and morphological change within organisms, and how the evolution of new traits can impact an organism's ability to adapt to changing environments or to exploit new ecospace. My primary research method is stable isotope analysis (i.e., C, N, O, Ca, and Sr) of inorganic (biological apatite) and organic (i.e., collagen, lipids, hair) components of biogenic materials, which I use to gather ecological and physiological information from fossil specimens.
The University of Wyoming has benefited my research program in three key ways. First, the University has a long and distinguished history in the field of paleontology, which has led to the accumulation of an impressive research collection of vertebrate fossil material from the region (>45,000 specimens). Second, the University is located in close proximity to some of the richest fossil localities in the United States, which means my students and I can access these sites easily. Third, the University supports a thriving community of biologists, botanists and geologists, many of whom are affiliated with the UW Program in Ecology. Having so many colleagues in these fields available on campus is a welcome resource that provides additional scientific and intellectual stimulation.
What I think makes UW so special is its ability to promote quality research in such a welcoming and community-focused environment. The academic and research support available on campus is impressive and is something that you don't often see so freely given at other research institutions.