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Departments & Programs



GES 4 (also Earth Systems 4) - Evolution and Extinction: An Introduction to Historical Geology

An introduction to Earth’s history using the end-Cretaceous mass extinction as a focal example. The first half of the course will address principles of stratigraphy, correlation, the geological timescale, the history of biodiversity, and the biological interpretation of fossils. The second half of the course will focus on the cause(s) of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction and the use of data from sedimentary geology, geochemistry, and paleontology to test theories proposed to explain the mass extinction event. The course will conclude with examination of other mass extinction events in the history of animal life. One half-day field trip.  Next offered Winter 2014.

GES 123 - Invertebrate Paleobiology

An introduction to the fossil record with emphasis on marine invertebrates. Lectures will address major debates in paleontological research and also survey the history of animal life in the oceans. Topics will include the nature of the fossil record, evolutionary radiations, mass extinctions, and the relationship between biological evolution and environmental change. Labs will survey important fossil taxa through time and will include exercises in phylogenetics, paleoecology, biostratigraphy, and basic statistical methods.  Next offered Spring 2015.

GES 208 (also EESS 208) - Topics in Geobiology

Reading and discussion of classic and recent papers in the field of Geobiology. Co-evolution of Earth and life; critical intervals of environmental and biological change; geomicrobiology; paleobiology; global biogeochemical cycles; scaling of geobiological processes in space and time.  May be repeated for credit.  Next offered Fall 2014.

GES 254 - Carbonate Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

Processes of precipitation and sedimentation of carbonate minerals with strong emphasis on marine systems. Topics will include: the geographic and bathymetric distribution of carbonates in modern and ancient oceans; the genesis and environmental significance of carbonate grains and sedimentary textures; carbonate rocks and sediments as sources of geochemical proxy data; carbonate diagenesis; changes in styles of carbonate deposition through Earth History; carbonate depositional patterns and the global carbon cycle. Laboratory exercises will emphasize the petrographic and geochemical analysis of carbonate rocks from map and outcrop scale, to hand samples, polished slabs, and thin sections. Next offered Spring 2015.

GES 325 (also BIO 325) - The Evolution of Body Size (co-taught with Liz Hadly)

A discussion seminar for upper division undergraduates and graduate students. An investigation of evolutionary patterns and processes viewed through observations of organism size. Focus will be on integration of theoretical principles, observations of living organisms, and data from the fossil record. What are the physiological and ecological correlates of body size? Is there an optimum size? Do organisms tend to evolve to larger size? Does productivity control the size distribution of consumers? Does size affect the likelihood of extinction or speciation? Term paper required.  Offered occasionally.