My 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. Since moving to Alabama, I'm working on developing projects in the local Late Cretaceous and K-Pg boundary sections, like Moscow Landing.

Likely K-Pg Chixculub tsunamite at the Moscow Landing Alabama
Moscow Landing, AL - I recently accepted a faculty job at the University of Alabama. One of things I'm excited about here is the number of K-Pg boundary sections within a short drive of the university, including the pictured (likely) tsunamite at Moscow Landing. The tan-orange unit cuts down into the lower grey chalk, and it contains sands, rip up cobbles , and shell hash, suggesting high energy deposition. In addition to a great teaching resource for field trips, I plan to develop projects at this location and others as I become more familiar with them. If you're a potential graduate student looking to work on gulf coast K-Pg boundary outcrops, it'd be hard to find a better location - Contact me!

Hetermorph ammonites of the Coon Creek Formation (from Pink Palace Museum)
Ammonite lifestyle -
The behavior and lifestyle of ammonites is not well understood. Hetermorph ammonites (examples at left) in particular are intriguing because their odd morphologies are unlike any living creatures, and many have distinct morphologic changes midway through their life. I'm trying to apply stable isotopic techniques to better understand how these creatures behaved. Currently I'm focusing on museum specimens from the Cretaceous of the United States, but hope to collect my own field examples if possible. Understandably, museums generally discourage destructive sampling. If this project (or something similar) sounds interesting to you I'm actively looking for a M.S. or PhD student to work on it. Contact me if that sounds interesting to you.

A large ammonite (Anapachydiscus sp.) in Antarctica
James Ross Basin - I am working as part of a multi-institution research group examining the K-Pg boundary in Antarctica. The James Ross Basin sediments are exposed on a small archipelago off the northeast of the Antarctic Peninsula. This highly-expanded shallow marine section was deposited during the Late Cretaceous and Early Paleogene as a back arc basin during the uplift of the Antarctic Peninsula. Due to a minimal burial history, fossil material is morphologically and geochemically well-preserved. Stable isotopic analysis can be used to reconstruct the temperature of seawater, allowing the examination of climate changes through a stratigraphic section. Statistical analysis of invertebrate fossil occurrences allows me to determine whether observed temperature changes correspond with any paleobiological changes.

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. I am employing a relatively new, but more technologically challenging, stable isotope method - clumped isotope thermometry - in order to reconstruct paleotemperatures here. The stratigraphy of this area is complicated, and I'm looking for a student with good GIS skills to help with some three dimensional modelling of the area.