Stanford University School of Earth Sciences
Jonathan L. Payne | Paleobiology
Paleo Lab 2009

Principal Investigator

Jonathan Payne

My research group studies the relationship between environmental change and biological evolution over geological timescales. We have been been working at several field localities where we can use carbonate sediments to collect high-resolution paleontological, sedimentological, and geochemical datasets spanning timescales of up to 10 million years to analyze biological and environmental change during mass extinctions and subsequent recoveries - particularly the end-Permian mass extinction. We also use data compiled from the published paleontological literature to analyze global evolutionary patterns over timescales as long as hundreds of millions of years. Nearly all of this work is collaborative among members of the lab at Stanford and much of it also involves researchers at other universities in the US and overseas.

Post-doctoral Researchers

Katja Meyer

I am interested in the marine biogeochemistry and microbial ecology of ancient oceans. In particular, I am interested in the relationship between marine chemistry and life during the end-Permian mass extinction and Triassic recovery. Previously, I have used Earth system modeling to study the transition from oxic to euxinic marine conditions. At Stanford, I am using a combination of isotopic, molecular, and numerical techniques to examine the degree to which the histories of microbial and animal communities are coupled through marine biogeochemistry during the Triassic recovery from mass extinction.

Paul Harnik

I am interested in the spatial and temporal structure of biodiversity. In my research, I use marine mollusks to investigate the contributions of biotic and abiotic factors to rates of extinction, origination, and ecological expansion and contraction. This work spans multiple scales - ranging from regional-scale studies in the early Cenozoic to global-scale studies spanning the post-Paleozoic - and involves a combination of fieldwork, museum research, and database compilation and analysis. At Stanford, I am focusing primarily on the interactions between geographic range, life history, and evolutionary rates in extant and extinct marine scallops, with the goal of linking the complex history of extinction and origination preserved in the fossil record with the rich diversity of life observed globally today. This research may inform our predictions about the response of contemporary marine faunas to future environmental change and will also lay the groundwork for addressing other questions such as the origins of evolutionary novelties (e.g., swimming function in scallops) and the interactions between body size evolution and global climate over the Cenozoic.

Visiting Researcher

Yichun Zhang

I am interested in the Carboniferous and Permian stratigraphy and fusuline fauna from Tibet, China. I have used the fusuline fauna as a proxy to deduce the tectonic evolution of the Lhasa Block and the exotic limestone blocks within the Yarlung-Zangbu Suture Zone. I am currently studying the tectonic evolution of the Qiangtang Block and the paleobiogeographical evolution of Carboniferous and Permian fusuline fauna in the Peri-Gondwana regions. I am also broadly interested in the climatic changes in Carboniferous and Permian time.

Graduate Students

Brian Michael Kelley

I am interested in the relationship between reefs and global diversity throughout the Phanerozoic Eon. Specifically, I am interested in determining the role that reefs play in providing a source of global diversity. At Stanford I am planning to conduct field work on Middle Triassic reefs in the Nanpanjiang Basin of southern China. Middle Triassic reefs represent the recovery of reef ecosystems following the end-Permian mass extinction. By analyzing the recovery of reefs following the largest mass extinction in the geologic record, I hope to develop an understanding of how this recovery impacted diversity on a global scale.

Brianna Rego

I am a Masters student in paleobiology and a PhD student in the Department of History at Stanford. My paleobiology research focuses on the evolution of body size in Foraminifera during the Triassic in an effort to better understand the controls on recovery from the end-Permian mass extinction. My PhD is in the history of science, concentrating on the late-twentieth century (Cold War) and contemporary science. I work on the history of evolutionary thought, radiation management, science policy, and environmental history. I am currently working on several projects, including radiation in tobacco, wolf legislation in the Rocky Mountains, and radiation management and environmental remediation in the American West.

Aviv Bachan

I am interested in the transition between the Triassic and Jurassic periods and the mass extinction that accompanied it. To better understand the cause for the extinction, and the controls on recovery from it, I have been studying thick shallow marine carbonate sequences that record the transition in detail and provide the opportunity to collect high resolution geochemical, sedimentological, and paleontological data.

Ellen Schaal

Adam Jost

I am interested in extinction events and environmental change, particularly in the Paleozoic world, and how they affect organisms and their diversity. My research includes the evolution of body size in foraminifera, particularly how body size may be related to extinction and origination, and paleoenvironmental change in the Permian. At Stanford, I plan to study the geochemistry of shallow marine carbonates from the Middle and Late Permian, and to see how body size of marine invertebrates changes through this environmentally dynamic period in Earth's history, just before the end-Permian mass extinction.

Jessica Hinojosa

I am a new Masters student in the Paleobiology group, having just finished my undergraduate degree at Stanford in the Earth Systems Program. My Masters work will consist of creating a calcium isotope record from conodont elements gathered from the late Permian through Middle Triassic. My goal is to help constrain possible causes of the mass extinction at the Permian-Triassic boundary. This project falls under the headings of several of my primary research interests, including isotope geochemistry and paleoclimatology.

Undergraduate Students

Jason Binn

Franklin Caval Holme

Margaret Chapman

Nicole DeVille

Monica Erviti

Thienan Nguyen
Iris Ouyang

Daniel Perret

Kit Vanderboll

High School Teacher on Summer Fellowship

Chung Khong (Yerba Buena High School)

High School Students (Summer 2010)

Jackson Campbell (Redwood High School)

Adriana Garcia (Independence High School)

Shu Chen Lo (Henry M. Gunn High School)

Sarena Smith (Redwood High School)

Nicole O'Keefe (Mercy High School)

Kevin Cheung (El Camino High School)

Gibran Haq (Saratoga High School)

Dylan Foster (Palo Alto High School)

Devin Gomez (John F. Kennedy High School)

Dan Guo (Monte Vista High School)

Alvin Jin (Homestead High School)

Kirah Ingram (Palo Alto High School)

Former Lab Members

Visiting Researchers

Bas van de Schootbrugge (University of Frankfurt)

Demir Altiner (Middle East Technical University)

Steve Wang (Swarthmore College)

Post-doctoral Fellow

Seth Finnegan (now at Caltech)

Visiting Students

Kirsten Fristad (University of Oslo, Norway)

Xiaowei Li (Guizhou University, China)

Research Assistants

Sarah Truebe

Sarah worked in the Paleobiology lab from 2007 to 2008. She is currently a PhD student at the University of Arizona.

Crystal Breier

Crystal worked in the Paleobiology lab during 2006. She worked on the Sr isotope composition of Permian-Triassic carbonates as well as the evolution of body size in Triassic gastropods. Crystal is currently teaching Middle School science in Massachusetts.

Undergraduate Students

Dilli Raj Paudel ('12)

Renata Cummins (Harvard '11)

Nelson Nogales ('10)

Kate Hyder ('10)

Ilana Lohr-Schmidt ('09)

Kimberly Lau (Yale '09)

Annie Scofield ('08)

Mindi Summers ('09)

High School Interns

2009: Nikki Tachiki (Troy Tech '10)

2009: Kirah Ingram (Palo Alto High '12)

2008: Kendrick Diaz (Independence High '09)

2007: Warren Ou (Independence High '08)







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