Paleomarine Biology Lecture Topics


Week of



Jan. 16

Introductory Topics: geological perspectives; oceans and Earth Systems; physical oceanography



Jan. 23

“Rocks for Biologists” & “Clastic Biology”— What sediment can tell us (E-level and Provenance) and Fossils & Fossilization

Paper Summaries & Friday Discussion: Taphonomy, Fossil Assemblages, & Biases in the Fossil Record



Readings 1

Jan. 30

Major clades of the marine fossil record – week 1

micropaleontology, sponges & corals, lophophorates

11, 12, 13


Feb. 6

Major clades of the marine fossil record – week 2

molluscs, trilobites & echinoderms

Friday fossil identification quiz

14, 15, 16


Feb. 13

Variation in fossils – how do individuals vary; how do populations vary

Species concepts and the paleontological species problem

Paper Summaries & Friday Discussion: What is a fossil species?

2 & 3

Readings 2

Feb. 20

Monday Exam I

Species recognition and variation – cases studies with fenestrate bryozoans (small group projects assigned)


Feb. 27

Autecology: Functional and Adaptive Morphology

Paper Summaries & Friday Discussion: Autecology Case Studies


Readings 3


Spring Break



Paleoecology (Synecology) Concepts: ecological hierarchies, trophic dynamics, and environmental limiting factors (with examples)

[communities, interactions, and relationships with environments]



Mar. 27

Evolutionary Paleoecology Seminars Week – Paper Summaries MWF

Phanerozoic Diversity and “Evolutionary Faunas”

Choose one: onshore-offshore trends, tiering, or escalation


Readings 4

Begin Exploration of Major Events in the History of Earth’s Oceans & Marine Biota

Apr. 3

The Oxygen Crisis

Stromatolites and what they can tell us about ecology then and now

Ediacara and Burgess Shale Discussion


Apr. 10

Mazon Creek

Solnhoffen Limestone

*Paper Summaries & Friday Discussion: (Ohio Ordovician and reefs)


Readings 5

Sat. 15

possible Caesar Creek field trip


Apr. 17

(Possible Reef Community)

Closing of Tethys seaway and segregation of Antarctica over South Pole

*Paper Summaries & Friday Discussion: (Ohio Ordovician and reef)


Readings 5

Sat. 22

possible Caesar Creek field trip


Apr. 24

Monday/Tuesday scheduled group project meetings (no class WF)


May 1

Monday Exam II

Wednesday TBA

possible Friday field trip to see trace fossils in situ



* One of these Fridays will be for catch up time or field trip relief, depending on our status relative to the schedule.


(Final) Exam III is on Friday, May 12, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.