My Ph.D research focuses on the Cretaceous - Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction. I'm particularly interested in potential climate induced biotic effects around the boundary. Geochemistry, particularly stable isotope analysis of carbonates, is a useful tool for reconstructing the paleotemperatures of past environments. I have two study areas where the K-Pg boundary is present, the James Ross Basin on the Antarctic Peninsula, and the Hell Creek area in Montana.
Hell Creek - The Hell Creek area is one of the most well studied K-Pg sections due to the common preservation of everyone's favorite fossils, dinosaurs. Less popular, but more interesting (to me anyway), are the well preserved freshwater bivalves found throughout this area. Due to variability in freshwater oxygen and carbon isotopes, traditional stable isotopic techniques have been less useful in terrestrial settings. Therefore I am employing a relatively new, but more technologically challenging, stable isotope method- clumped isotope thermometry - in order to reconstruct paleotemperatures here. I am spending three field seasons working with vertebrate paleontologists studying the evolution and extinction of mammals across the K-Pg boundary.