I am an assistant professor of geochemistry at Western Carolina University, focused on understanding environmental changes in the oceans over geologic time. I’m especially interested in the Permian and Triassic periods – the warm transition interval between the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras – and on the two major mass extinctions that paved the way for our modern marine ecosystem. To study the deep past, I apply a set of geochemical tools to marine sedimentary rocks from around the world. As a field geologist, I’ve had the opportunity to work on four continents, and across much of the geologic time scale. I’ve also introduced dozens of students to the practice of field geology through my summer field courses in southwestern Montana. To learn more, visit the Research and Teaching sections of this page.

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What’s new?

The Cambrian Explosion was a major step in the diversification of marine animals. It happened against the backdrop of a chemically complex ocean, where nutrients cycles may have been very different from those we see today.

What role did marine nutrients play in allowing this burst of evolution to happen? What represented the lowest level of Cambrian food webs? We used nitrogen isotopes and paleoproductivity tools to address these questions (PDF).

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