Sarah joined the Stigall Lab in Fall 2021 after graduating from DePauw University with her Bachelors in Geology and Studio Art. For her thesis, Sarah explored environmental influences on Ordovician brachiopod communities, particularly body size. Sarah loves being in the field and led a team on a two-week field expedition in the Arbuckle Mountains of Oklahoma for her thesis work. She has presented the initial results of her thesis at the 2022 SE-NC sectional GSA meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio and the 2022 Annual GSA meeting in Denver, Colorado. Outside of the lab, Sarah is also interested in combining her geology and art background through illustration and exploration of the relationship between the arts and sciences. Sarah is now Collections Manager at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
Ian Forsythe, MS 2022
Ian first joined the lab in Spring 2018 as an undergraduate researcher, graduated with a BS Honors Thesis in Spring 2020, and completed MS degree in 2022. Ian worked on morphometric delineation of Rafinesquina for his BS thesis and focused his MS thesis research on investigating changes in paleocommunity structure of Late Ordovician shallow marine communities of the Cincinnati region before and after the Clarksville pulse of the Richmondian Invasion. Ian’s project involved substantial field work in the fantastic rocks of the Cincinnati region of SW Ohio, N Kentucky, and SE Indiana. Ian has presented his initial results at the 2021 Annual GSA Meeting in Portland, and the “Ordovician of the World” virtual international meeting hosted by IGCP Projects 653 and 735, the 2022 NC-SE regional GSA, and 2022 Annual GSA Meeting in Denver. His thesis research has been submitted for publication and is currently under review. Ian is now completing his PhD with Dr. Carlton Brett at the University of Cincinnati.
Ceara’s thesis research employed ecological niche modeling to investigate changes in niche breadth within brachiopod lineages before, during, and after the Great Ordovician Biodiversificaiton Event (across the Ordovician Period) in Laurentia. Ceara’s research has been supported by the Geological Society of America (GSA), Paleontological Society, Dry Dredgers, and Ohio University. Ceara presented the results of her research at the 2020 and 2021 Annual Geological Society of American meeting, the IGCP 653 annual meeting “Zooming in the GOBE,” and the the “Ordovician of the World” virtual international meeting hosted by IGCP Projects 653 and 735. Ceara’s MS research was published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. Ceara is currently using her niche modelling skills to purse PhD work with Dr. Corrine Myers at the University of New Mexico.
Shaolin is examined evolutionary patterns and processes during the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event via phylogenetic and biogeographic analysis of the articulated brachiopod clades Mimella, Hesperorthis, and Oepikina. Shaolin presented results of her research at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ in September 2019 and has received grants support for her work from the Yale Peabody Museum and the Department of Geological Sciences. Results of her research are in revision for publication at this time. Shaolin is currently a high school science teacher in New York.
Ranjeev Epa, MS 2017
Ranjeev studied systematics and phenotypic variation in freshwater gastropods from Oligocene deposits of Tanzania for this MS thesis research. Ranjeev received grant support from the Paleontological Society and Ohio University Geology Alumni to support his research. Ranjeev’s thesis research, which documented eight new species and an evolutionary radiation of gastropods associated with the onset of rifting pf the East African Rift. This work is published in Special Papers in Palaeontology. Ranjeev completed his PhD at the University of Missouri.
Nilmani’s thesis examined hierarchical patterns in community structure of the Pennsylvanian Ames Limestone (which crops out near the Ohio University campus). Nilmani earned grant funding from the Paleontological Society and Ohio University Geology Alumni to support her project and presented her research at the 2016 Annual GSA Meeting. Her thesis research was published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.
Sarah’s thesis focused on developing a species-level brachiopod diversity curve for the Middle Ordovician Simpson Group of Oklahoma. Sarah has earned grants from the Geological Society of America and Ohio University to support her research. Sarah has presented the results of her research at the Baltimore GSA, the Ohio Academy of Sciences meeting, and at the IGCP 591 meeting in Ghent. Key results of her thesis research were published in Geology and Lethaia. Sarah completed her PhD at the University of Nevada-Reno in Paula Noble’s lab and moved on to a post-doc at UCLA.
Adriane Lam, MS 2015
Adriane’s thesis research examined geologic and biologic drivers of migration events in the Late Ordovician of Laurentia –encompassing the Richmondian Invasion in the Cincinnati region and aspects of the Hiscobeccus exapansion from Laurentia to Baltica. She was awarded funding from the Dry Dredgers and Paleontological Society for her thesis research. Adriane presented her research at the 2014 SE regional GSA meetings, 2015 Annual GSA meeting, and the IGCP 591 Annual meeting in Tartu, Estonia. The results of her MS research are published in the Estonian Journal of Earth Sciences and Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. Adriane completed her PhD at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with Mark Leckie and is now an Assistant Professor at SUNY Binghamton. Adriane is a co-founder of Time Scavengers.
Jennifer Bauer, MS 2014
For her thesis, Jen examined evolution within the Eochontes-Thaerodonta species complex using morphometric, phylogenetic, and biogeographic techniques. Jen recieved funding from the Yale Peabody Museum and Cincinnati Dry Dredgers to support her research. Her excellence in teaching at Ohio University was recognized at both the university and department levels. During the 2013 academic year, Jen led the digitization efforts for the PaleoNiches Project and oversaw the development of the Ordovician Atlas website. Jen presented her thesis work at the 2013 Annual GSA meeting, the 2014 SE GSA regional meeting, and the IGCP 591 Annual meeting in Tartu Estonia. The results of her MS research are published in the Estonian Journal of Earth Sciences and Journal of Palaeontology. Following graduation, Jen earned her PhD at the University of Tennessee on blastoid paleobiology and is a co-founder of Time Scavengers. Jen is the Collections Manager for Invertebrate Paleontology at the University of Michigan of Natural History.
Hannah-Maria Brame, MS 2013
Hannah focused her thesis research on niche modeling in Cincinnatian bryozoa, crinoids, and trilobites (the non-brachiopods) to examine whether niche stability patterns are constant across clades and how species niche evolution affects community stability. Hannah earned funding from both the Geological Society of America and the Dry Dredgers to support her research. She also won the Departmental award for most oustanding TA in 2012 and oustanding graduate student in 2013. During the 2012-13 academic year, Hannah lead the Cincinnatian digitization efforts during which time she facilitated the incoporation of the entire Kallmeyer collection into the Specify database, presented several georeferencing workshops,and generated almost all of hte content for the bryozoan pages in the Digital Atlas of Ordovician Life. Hannah’s thesis research was presented at two IGCP meetings, one regional GSA meeting, and two annual GSA meetings. Her thesis research is published in Paleobiology.
Davey Wright, MS 2012
Davey’s MS thesis, “Macroevolution and Paleobiogeography of Middle to Late Ordovician Brachiopods: A Phylogenetic Biogeographic Approach,” used phylogenetic systematics and biogoegraphy to investigate dispersal patterns in Late Ordovician brachiopods, Hebertella, Plaesiomys, and Glyptorthis. Davey earned grants from the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and Cincinnati Dry Dredgers and a fellowship from the OHIO Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Studies to support his thesis research. Davey presented his MS research at the 2011 and 2012 Annual GSA Meetings and the 2012 North-Central regional GSA. Following graduation, Davey earned his PhD at the Ohio State University and has held post-doctoral positions at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian) and the American Museum of Natural History. He is now an Assistant Professor and Curator at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History and School of Geosciences at the University of Oklahoma. Davey’s thesis work was published as three articles in PLoS One, Journal of Paleontology, and Journal of Sysemtatic Paleontology.
Richard Malizia, MS 2011
Rich’s thesis is titled “Analyzing niche stability in Late Ordovician articulated brachiopods during the Richmondian Invasion.” His research focused on using GIS techniques to analyze changes in ecological niches of brachiopod species through time in the rocks around Cincinnati, Ohio. This research addressed the relative constancy of a species’ niche in geologic time, which has implications for both evolutionary theory and understanding changes to modern species due to climate change. Rich received a GSA Grant-in-Aid and an OHIO Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Studies Fellowship to support his research. His thesis work was published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. Following graduation, Rich returned to his beloved home state of Pennsylvania where he is employed in the environmental field.
Nicole Dudei, MS 2009
In Nikki’s thesis,”The impact of the Richmondian Invasion on paleobiogeographic distribution of taxa in the Late Ordovician C4 sequence (Richmondian Stage, Cincinnati, Ohio) including a comparison of range reconstruction methods,” she developed a GIS technique to model species ranges using the Spline tool as well as used genetic algorithm techniques to analyze the early stage of the Late Ordovician Richmondian Invasion by modeling the ecological niches of articulate brachiopods in the Oregonia Formation and equivalents in the Cincinnati, Ohio region. Nikki presented the results of her thesis research at at the 2008 Annual GSA meeting and the 2009 NAPC meeting. She earned a grant from the Geological Society of America to support her work, and part of her thesis was published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. Nikki is employed by ARCADIS in Wisconsin.
Robert Swisher, MS 2009
Rob’s master’s thesis,”Paleobiogeographical and evolutionary analysis of Late Ordovician C5 sequence brachiopod species with special reference to rhynchonellid taxa” examined how paleoenvironmental parameters affect where species lived and the quality of preservation in the Waynesville, Liberty, and Whitewater Formations of the Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky region. He also conducted a phylogenetic analysis of species within the genera Hypsiptycha, Hiscobeccus, and Lepidocyclus. Rob earned funding from the Geological Society of America to fund his research, and presented results at the 2008 Annual GSA meeting and the 2009 NAPC meeting. Rob subsequently completed a PhD with Steve Westrop at the University of Oklahoma was a postdoctoral associate at the University of Chicago.
Bradley Walls, MS 2009
Brad completed his master’s thesis, “Quantitative Palebiogeography of Maysvillian (Late Ordovician) Brachiopod Species of the Cincinnati Arch: a Test of Niche Modeling Methods for Paleobiogeographic Reconstruction” in May 2009. His research combined sedimentology and paleontology to implement and ground truth methods of ecological niche modeling in brachiopod species of the Late Ordovician (Maysvillian) Corryville and Mount Auburn Formations and equivalents in the Cincinnati Arch region. Brad earned grants from the Geological Society of America and the Paleontological Society to support his research. He presented results at two Annual GSA meetings and the 2009 NAPC, and has published his thesis work in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology and Paleontological Contributions. Brad now works as a petroleum geologist for Weatherford Laboratories in Houston, Texas.
Kaitlin Maguire, MS 2008
Kaitlin’s thesis, “Paleobiogeography of Miocene to Pliocene Equinae of North America: A phylogenetic biogeographic and ecological niche modeling approach,” integrated analyses of evolutionary patterns in horses with sedimentological and paleoclimatic proxies, such as paleosol distribution to discern causes of biogeographic distribution and shifts during the Miocene radiation of the horses. Kaitlin presented her research at both national and regional GSA meetings and published her thesis results in two journal articles. Following graduation, Kaitlin earned her PhD (2013) in vertebrate paleontology at University of California, Berkeley with Tony Barnosky and was a post-doctoral researcher at UC-Merced in the Blois lab. Kaitlin a Research Development Strategist in the Center for Research and Creative Activity at Boise State University.
Brandon Klingensmith, MS 2011
Brandon defended his MS thesis, “GIS-based biogeography of Cincinnatian (Upper Ordovician) brachiopods with special reference to Hebertella,” in June 2007. His research involved an innovative application of GIS methods and the first species-level phylogeny of a genus of Ordovician brachiopods. Brandon acquired funding from the Geological Society of America for his project and presented the results of his research at regional and national GSA meetings. Brandon currently works for Frac Tec Oilfield Services, Ltd. in Pennsylvania.
BS thesis students
Kelly O’Meara, BS 2021
For Kelly’s senior thesis research, she described a new fauna of freshwater clam shrimp (Spinicaudata) from Jurassic deposits of Utah. Kelly earned a grant from the Ohio University Provost’s Undergraduate Research Fund to support her research.
Ian Forsythe, BS 2019
Ian completed a senior honors thesis focused on delineating the number of valid Rafinesquina species in the Cincinnati region using geometric morphometrics. He presented research results at the Annual Geological Society Meetings in Indianapolis, Indiana in November 2018 and Phoenix, AZ in September 2019. Ian later completed his MS in the Stigall lab and is now a PhD student at the University of Cincinnati.
James Anderson, BS 2017
James was our field assistant extraordinaire in the 2015 Oklahoma field season. He later completed senior thesis comparing the petrography of the basal sandstones of the Simpson Group formations. James completed a MS in Geology at Central Washington University.
Wesley Parker, BS 2015
Wesley participated in Ordovician Atlas website development and completed a BS thesis on bivalve preservation. Wesley was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to support his PhD program at the University of Cincinnati in Yurena Yanes lab. He is currently a post-doc at the University of Montreal.
Emily Callahan, BS 2009
Emily led the efforts to catalog the newly acquired “Kallmeyer Collection” of over 7000 Cincinnatian fossils and completed her senior honors thesis, “Paleoecology of the Cincinnatian Series (Upper Ordovician): A study of diversity and community structures”. Emily is currently employed at Ohio State University.
Kristen Everman, BS 2007
Kristen completed her senior thesis, “Characterizing Jurassic Spinicaudata of Antarctica: Systematic and Paleoecological Implications,” in Spring 2007. As part of her research, Kristen earned grant funding from the North Central Section of the Geological Society of America and the Ohio University Provost’s Undergraduate Research Fund. She presented the results of her thesis at the North Central-South Central Joint Sectional Meeting of the Geological Society of America Meeting in Lawrence, Kansas where she was awarded the Outstanding Undergraduate Oral Presentation Award. Kristen works in Columbus, Ohio.
Lab and field assistants
Susan Strine, BS 2020
Susan worked on maintenance and improvement of the Ordovician Atlas website and cataloging and database management for the Ohio University Invertebrate Paleontology Collections.
Andrew Murphy, BS 2018
Andrew assisted with teaching and outreach efforts during the academic year and was coordinated student volunteers and the registration desk for the 2018 IGCP 653 meeting in Athens.
Rebecca Kleinen, BS 2017
Becca’s assisted both Nilmani and Ranjeev with their research as well as contributed to collections digitization initiatives and the Ordovician Atlas project.
Katherine Tucker, BA (English) 2017
Katherine worked on maintenance and improvement of the Ordovician Atlas website.
Ethan Slagle, BS 2016
Ethan worked a content developer for the Ordovician Atlas website.
Jeff Shaffer, BS 2016
Jeff was content developer for the Ordovician Atlas website and field assistant for Nilmani Perera’s thesis research on paleocommunities of the Ames Limestone.
Salvatore Dumas, BS 2016
Sal worked in the lab as a content developer for the Ordovician Atlas website.
Trey Klopfenstein, BS 2016
Trey worked in the lab as a content developer for the Ordovician Atlas website.
Mackenzie Glasgow, BS 2015
Mackenzie participated in Ordovician Atlas website development as a content developer.
Tim Henderson, BS 2015
Tim participated in Ordovician Atlas website development as a content developer. After graduation, Tim began a MS degree in petrology at Purdue University.
Tyler Payne, BS 2015
Tyler participated in Ordovician Atlas website development.
Robert Ahuja, BS (Communications) 2015
Bobby participated in Ordovician Atlas website development. His work was instrumental in developing the website architecture.
Daniel Hermanns, BS 2014
Daniel participated in Ordovician Atlas website development. Daniel currently lives in Chattanooga, TN.
Cody Contner, BS 2013
Cody worked on cataloging Cincinnatian fossil specimens within Specify.
Diane Estes, BS 2013
Diane was both a field and laboratory assistant who worked on cataloging Cincinnatian fossil specimens within Specify. Diane works in the environmental geology field in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Sierra Isard, BS 2012
Sierra worked on a variety of projects from fossil preparation to photography. Sierra completed a MS degree in Structural geology at the University of Iowa.
Neha Gupta, BS 2011
Neha was both a field and laboratory assistant who worked on cataloging Cincinnatian fossil specimens within Specify. Neha completed a MS degree in Hydrogeology at Ohio University and works in the environmental geology field in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Jacqueline (Smith) Koepfler, BS 2008
Jackie helped to georefernce Cincinnati fossil localities. After working with AmeriCorp in Nevada, she is currently pursuing a MS in Environmental Studies at Ohio University.