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Dr. Mark T. Clementz


Dr. Mark T. Clementz, Professor at the University of Wyoming.Paleobiology

Head of Department
Office Phone: 307-314-2174
P.O. Box 3006
Laramie, Wyoming 82071-3006
Office Room No: ESB 1014


Geology, PhD, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2002
Geology, BS, University of Missouri, Columbia, 1996

Research Projects

  • Excavation and Isotope Analysis of Miocene Mammals from Wadi Moghra, Egypt
  • Collaborative Research: Feeding and diet at the origin of whales: evolution, development and function
  • Evolution of marine mammal foraging behavior based on Ca and C isotope ratios in bioapatite
  • Reconstruction of historical and contemporary variability in kelp forest trophic structure using biochemical analyses of consumer diet
  • Climatic and geographical controls on the biogeography of seagrasses during the Cenozoic
  • Paleofaunal evolution and guild structure of herbivorous marine mammals


Clementz, M.T.,Holroyd, P.A. & Koch, P. L. 2008, in press. Identifying aquatic habits of herbivorous mammals through stable isotope analysis. Palaios 23(8).

Corbett, D.G., Causey, D., Clementz, M.T , Doroff, A., Lefevere, C., West, D., and Koch, P.L.  (2008) Aleut hunters, sea otters, and sea cows: 3000 years of intereactions in the western Aleutian Islands, Alaska. In Ancient Human Impacts on Marine Ecosystems: A Global Perspective, University of California Publications.

Thewissen, JGM, Cooper, LN, Clementz, M.T., Bajpai, S, and Tiwari, BN. (2007) Whales originated from aquatic artiodactyls: the Eocene Raoellids from India. Nature 450: 1190-1194.

Clementz MT, Beck CA, and Koch PL. 2007. Diet induced differences in carbon isotope fractionation between sirenians and terrestrial ungulates. Marine Biology 151(5): 1773-1784.

Clementz, MT, Thewissen, JGM, and Bajpai, S. 2007. Reconstructing Eocene terrestrial food webs from stable isotope analyses. Tate Museum

Clementz MT, Goswami A, Gingerich P, and Koch PL. 2006. Stable isotopes in enamel of early whales and sea cows: contrasting patterns of ecological transition. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 26(2): 355-370.

MacFadden BJ, Higgins P, Clementz MT, and Jones DS 2004. Diets, habitat preferences, and niche differentiation of Cenozoic sirenians from Florida: evidence from stable isotopes. Paleobiology 30(2): 297-324.

Clementz MT, Holden P, and Koch PL 2003. Are Ca isotopes a reliable monitor of trophic level in marine settings? International Journal of Osteoarcheology 13: 29-36.


GEOL2050 – Principles of Paleontology
GEOL4170 – Paleontology of Cenozoic Placental Mammals
GEOL4200 – Topics in Climate Reconstruction
GEOL4200 – Topics in Paleoecology
GEOL4800 – Independent Study
GEOL4200/5200 – Distinguished Lecturer Series

Research Statement:

My research interests integrate two fields of paleontological study. The first is the field of paleoecology, specifically the evolution of shallow marine/coastal ecosystems through time and the role that vertebrates have played within these ecosystems. The second is the field of paleobiology, emphasizing the study of physiological and morphological change within organisms, and relating the evolution of new traits to an organism’s ability to adapt to changing environments or to exploit new ecospace. My primary research method to gather ecological and physiological information is the 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. These components can preserve original stable isotope values over millions of years and record a significant amount of information over an individual’s lifetime. In addition to this primary research tool, I am currently developing two additional research methods: microwear analysis of tooth enamel as a proxy for dietary preferences of extinct animals, and morphometric analysis as a means of quantifying morphological change through time. Together, these three methods form a tool kit that I can use to address a wide variety of paleontological questions.

Teaching Statement:

I have developed a teaching philosophy that emphasizes the importance of making lessons stimulating and informative in order to get the primary concepts across to students.  I understand that a significant part of the scientific process is the ability to effectively communicate ideas to the public, and I believe that teaching should be viewed as an extension of this process.  Also, I appreciate that there is not a single teaching method that is universally appealing to all students; effective teaching requires an integrative approach, incorporating a variety of techniques including visual aids, hands-on exercises, and opportunities for class discussions.

Graduate Students:

Morgan Churchill – PhD degree candidate
Contact Us

Department of Geology and Geophysics

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071-2000

Phone: 307-766-3386

Fax: 307-766-6679


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