List of Symposia

S01: Ediacaran Environments and Ecosystems
Lidya Tarhan and Marc Laflamme

The Ediacaran Period is renowned for its exceptionally preserved fossil biotas, documenting the earliest stages in the radiation of complex, macroscopic life. These faunas are found globally within a broad range of lithofacies, suggesting that early eukaryotic communities lived and died in a diverse array of depositional environments. This session will explore the variability in and importance of depositional environment for a broad array of fossil biotas of Ediacaran age, as well as examining the role of facies and paleoenvironment in the ecology of early macrofaunal communities and their preservation in the fossil record.

S02: New advances and applications in sclerochronology
Donna Surge and David Goodwin

Schlerochronologic records are obtained from a variety of environments (e.g., low to high latitudes; marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems), organisms (e.g., molluscs, fish, corals, sponges, etc.), and geological ages. In turn, these archives are used to address a variety of ecological, evolutionary, environmental, geological, and archaeological questions. This session focuses on new discoveries based on sclerochronologic analysis from a diverse range of disciplines, organisms, environments, and geological ages.

S03: Triassic–Jurassic transitional events and the end-Triassic mass extinction
Rowan Martindale and Lydia Tackett

Recently there have been major advances in our understanding of the Triassic–Jurassic transition – not only relating to the end-Triassic mass extinction, but also the conditions leading up to the boundary and the long-ranging effects that followed. New findings on Late Triassic and Early Jurassic events suggest dynamic ecosystem evolution, including, but not limited to: vertebrate extinctions, major transitions in floral realms, the restructuring of reef ecosystems, and the beginning of the Mesozoic Marine Revolution. The symposium will integrate new research on a variety of Early Mesozoic events that significantly influenced, or were influenced by, the Triassic–Jurassic transition.

S04: What comes after death: current topics in actualistic taphonomy and integrative paleobiology 
Emma R. Locatelli, Madeline S. Marshall, Marc Laflamme, James D. Schiffbauer, and Simon Darroch 

Distinguishing features of biological significance from those produced by fossilization is a critical part of evaluating the overall fidelity of the fossil record. Examinations of taphonomic biases and processes are increasingly interdisciplinary in nature, encompassing topics such as geochemistry, stratigraphy, microbiology, and experimental work with modern organisms. This session encourages the exploration of preservation and the interpretation of the fossil record from these multiple perspectives, and we invite contributions investigating taphonomic processes and paleobiological histories using integrative approaches.

S05: Exceptional Records: Evolution and Ecology of Microfossils
Gene Hunt and Pincelli Hull

This session will showcase recent studies that leverage the rich record of microfossils towards addressing fundamental ecological and evolutionary questions. Contributions focusing on any microfossil taxon, and any time period, are welcome.

S06: The Cenozoic assembly of the grassland biome: pattern and process in ecosystem evolution
Caroline Strömberg and Bonnie Jacobs

The Cenozoic emergence of grassland ecosystems transformed Earth’s land surface, influencing, among other things, faunas, biogeochemical cycles, and climate. This symposium will showcase the exciting new research that is changing our understanding of this vital ecosystem transition, highlighting the broad range of methods and approaches used to answer questions in grassland evolution.

S07: Reconstructing past continental environments from the biogeochemistry of fossils
Yurena Yanes and Brooke Crowley

This session will bring together specialists that use biogeochemical analyses (e.g., stable isotopes, clumped isotopes, minor/trace elements, heavy metals) on continental fossils (e.g., bones, teeth, shells, insects, macrobotanicals) to infer paleoenvironments. We will discuss case studies, recent developments, pending challenges and future research directions.

S08: Pantropical Cenozoic Reefs
James Klaus, Kenneth Johnson, and Willem Renema

Twenty-five years of intensive field studies in Tropical America, the Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia allow for the first time a rigorous analysis of regional response of coral reef ecosystems to Late Cenozoic environmental change. Intra- and interregional studies in this session will illustrate how differential regional responses across the tropics integrate into the global signal of change.

S09: Stratigraphic Paleobiology: Integrating sedimentary and fossil records
Jackie Wittmer and Daniele Scarponi

The analysis of paleobiological data within their sedimentary context reveals a wealth of information for recognizing the driving factors that shaped the rock and fossil records. This session will explore how integrated paleobiostratigraphic investigations of the geologic record can enhance the understanding of sedimentary succession architecture and past and future biotic trends. Case studies elucidating advantages of integrated analyses on section to basin scale are particularly welcomed.

S10: The Cretaceous-Paleogene Gondawanan Expressway
Maria A. Gandolfo and Elizabeth J. Hermsen

This symposium is dedicated to highlighting the importance of studying the fossil record of the Antarctica, Australia, and South America in order to understand the origin and evolution of the Southern Hemisphere biota. This will be done by documenting the processes and patterns of the biotic interchange among the three continents through documentation of their taxonomic diversity, paleoenvironments, and climatic during the critical period of time spanning the Cretaceous to the Paleogene.

S11: Modern Approaches to Educational Outreach in Paleontology
Peg Yacobucci and Christy Visaggi

This symposium showcases efforts by paleontologists to develop outreach programming for educators, students, and the general public. Themes include implementing summer workshops for K-12 educators, developing outreach programming at fossil localities, and leveraging new media (blogs, podcasts, Twitter, etc.) to engage the public in paleontology.

S12: From macroecology to macroevolution: the ecological context of extinction and origination
Seth Finnegan and Carl Simpson

Amid growing concern about the long-term impact of anthropogenic ecological changes, the fossil record offers our only opportunity to directly study the complex interrelationships between macroecological patterns and macroevolutionary trends. This session will highlight research exploring the ways in which ecological attributes such as abundance, geographic range, environmental range, thermal tolerance range, metabolic rate, reproductive strategy, and trophic strategy influence (or are influenced by) variation in evolutionary rates.

S13: The Microfossil Record: The Past is the Key to the Future (or Present) in Conservation Paleobiology
Pamela Hallock and Laurel S. Collins
Sponsored by the Cushman Foundation for Foraminiferal Research


Microfossils are exceptional tools for conservation paleobiology thanks to high diversities, small sizes, and chemistries. Applications range from assessing environmental impacts, altered biodiversity and biogeographic patterns, invasive species, climate change, and biogeochemical changes, such as anoxia and ocean acidification. Abstracts are invited from researchers working with any microfossil group.

S14: Form and Function: Tracing the foundations of animal diversity, ecology, and functional morphology
Mike Meyer and James Schiffbauer

Modern biodiversity traces its origins to the evolution of metazoan multicellularity. Subsequent displays of more recognizable forms result during major radiation events in the Paleozoic, effectively shaping how form and function are utilized, explored, and exploited in the biosphere. This session seeks to survey the foundations of organismal form and ecology, highlighting exciting and developing research on our earliest animal ancestors.

S15: Ecological fidelity and resolution of the fossil record across broad spatial and temporal scales
Adam Tomašových, Joshua Miller, James Nebelsick, and Martin Zuschin

Local-scale assessments of live-dead fidelity have shown that death assemblages can faithfully capture many components of source communities, but our understanding of how live-dead relationships scale to broader geographic and temporal resolutions is less developed. This symposium examines fidelity and resolution of death and fossil assemblages at multiple spatial scales, with an emphasis on broader-scale fidelity. We invite contributions exploring both live-dead, or live-fossil relationships (particularly those degrading biogeographic data based on Recent living assemblages to the usually much poorer spatial sampling intensity of paleobiogeographic data). We also invite contributions that quantify species preservation potential, assess time averaging, and explore taphonomic pathways generating bias in death and fossil assemblages.

S16: Digitization in Vertebrate Paleobiology
Aaron R. Wood

Incorporating digitization technology within vertebrate paleobiology provides one of the most comprehensive approaches to understanding the relationship between form, function, ecology and evolution in fossil vertebrates. Work presented in this symposium will demonstrate the utility of digitization technology via results with broad paleobiological implications, promote the accessibility of such technology, and discuss methodological challenges to be overcome.

S17: Conservation Paleobiology: Ecosystem, community, and species response to environmental change
Carrie L. Tyler, Sahale N. Casebolt, and Rebecca Terry

This session seeks abstracts addressing the increasing need for methods applicable to conservation and ecosystem management. We encourage modern studies, which offer direct observations and potentially fewer unknown variables, research focused on the development of new quantitative analytical techniques, and fossil studies where larger geographic and temporal scales are available. Submissions encompassing a wide variety of systems, including marine and terrestrial, are welcome.

S18: Celebrating public participation in paleontology
Austin J.W. Hendy and Bruce J. MacFadden

Amateur paleontologists, fossil clubs, and public participation programs have made major contributions to advancing the science of paleontology through involvement in research, education, and outreach activities. This symposium celebrates these contributions through presentations about the history of amateur engagement, model programs, best practices, and the future of this synergistic participation.

S19: Critical Transitions in Earth-Life History: The Value of Multidisciplinary Approaches
Sandra J. Carlson and Philip D. Gingerich
Sponsored by STEPPE

Earth and life have gone through critical transitions in the geological past, and understanding these depends increasingly on broad collaboration. These efforts make use of tools spanning the broad range of sedimentary crustal sciences: paleontology, paleoecology, taphonomy and sedimentary geology, paleoenvironmental and basin analysis, geochemistry, geochronology, and modeling of sedimentary systems, extinctions and evolutionary events, paleoclimate and paleoceanography, and geochemistry. This symposium highlights such studies to encourage further collaborative research to understand Earth-life changes we see happening today.