Current Research in Taphonomy and Paleoecology
Our research integrates different paleoecological tools to clarify how changing climates and biomes have affected biological communities through time. These tools encompass sedimentology, stable isotopes (carbon and oxigen), dental microwear, and postcranial functional morphology allowing comparisons between modern and ancient terrestrial ecosystems across temporal boundaries. We are also pursuing quantitative paleoclimatic reconstructions based on plants and additional climatic proxies. These multiproxy geochemical techniques will elucidate the taphonomy and paleoecological context in which to understand the ancient biodiversity of the Panama Canal sequence, while also providing new evidence bearing on climate change in the tropics.
We are also interested in understand fossilization processes based on sedimentological and geochemical interpretations of fossil-bearing sequences. In this sense, our research integrates fossiliferous sequences in shallow marine, transitional and continental environments. We are also examining bulk REE concentration in order to define possible reworking of fossil material. We also contemplate the application of other paleontological subfields such as paleobiology, paleoceanography, ichnology (the study of trace fossils), and biostratigraphy.
Primary Research Contacts
Dr. Austin Hendy
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute