David Bottjer, Ph.D.
(Professor and Chair, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California)

Dr. Bottjer is a paleobiologist and paleoecologist who has worked broadly on organism-sediment interactions and the ecological history of life. His current research focuses on two broad paleobiological questions. The first includes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the paleobiology and paleoecology of early metazoan life, with field work conducted in eastern California and China. The second emphasizes obtaining a detailed understanding of the paleoecology of the recovery from the end-Permian mass and end-Triassic extinctions, with extensive work on Triassic strata throughout the western U.S., Europe, Japan and China. This Triassic research project has led to involvement in the Paleobiology Database, which has undertaken the development of large databases with web-based access to solve major outstanding paleobiological and evolutionary problems. Please visit: David Bottjer for more information

James C. Zachos, Ph.D.
(Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences Department, University of Santa Cruz)

Dr. Zachos's research interests encompass a wide variety of problems related to the biological, chemical, and climatic evolution of late Cretaceous and Cenozoic oceans. He is a paleoceanographer who measures the chemical compositions of fossils to reconstruct past changes in marine temperatures, ocean circulation, continental ice-volume, marine productivity, and carbon cycling. His research is oriented toward identifying the mechanisms responsible for driving long and short-term changes in global climate. Dr. Zachos and his students are currently participating in several projects directed towards understanding the nature of rapid and extreme climate transitions in earth history. Please visit: James C. Zachos for more information

Frank A. Corsetti, Ph.D.
(Associate Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California)

Dr. Corsetti studies the co-evolution of the Earth and its biosphere from a geobiologic perspective, searching for traces of life in deep (and not so deep) time—how has life affected the history of our planet, and how has the history of our planet affected the evolution of life? He is probably most noted for his studies of life during "Snowball Earth", the most severe glaciation known that occurred ~700 million years ago, but other recent projects include the origin of animals, mass extinctions, and investigations into new biosignatures for use with ancient rocks on Earth and other locales in our solar system (e.g., Mars). Frank has studied rocks as old as 3.5 billion years and as young as those forming today, and field sites are located in the US, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Australia, Namibia, and China. Please visit: http://earth.usc.edu/research/sedlab/Welcome for further information

Matthew E.Clapham, Ph.D.
(Assistant Professor, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Santa Cruz)

Dr. Clapham uses ancient crises as analogues for current environmental stresses to elucidate organismal and community responses to climate change, ocean acidification, and hypoxia. He approaches these questions using large databases like the Paleobiology Database in order to understand the biological and ecological traits that promote survival during times of warming or ocean acidification. Dr. Clapham also collects field data, especially from Permian localities, to understand the ecological consequences of physiological stresses. Please visit: http://people.ucsc.edu/~mclapham for further information

David L. Kidder, Ph.D.
(Associate Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, Ohio University)

Dr. Kidder's research interest's focus on several aspects of the Earth System has operated in the geologic past. The most recent work involves characterization of the Hothouse planetary state, which appears to have developed more than a dozen times through the Phanerozoic. Under the right conditions, Large Igneous Provinces trigger a geologically brief shift from the Greenhouse state into a Hothouse during what colleague Tom Worsley and I are calling a HEATT (Haline Acidic Euxinic Thermal Transgression) episode. Climate obviously warms in a Hothouse, but many related effects are also in play such as euxinic oceans, acidic oceans, changes in ocean circulation, changes in nutrient availability, and much more. Most HEATT events are also marked by mass extinction. He is currently investigating whether the early Miocene expansion of the grassland ecosystem affected silica accumulation in the oceans. Please visit: http://www.ohio.edu/geology/kidder for further information

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