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Invertebrate Paleontology


The Department of Geology at Kent State University offers a strong program in invertebrate paleontology at the M.S. and Ph.D. levels.  Although the focus of most graduate research is on paleoecology and paleobiogeography, emphasis is placed on fundamental aspects of the science, including systematic paleontology, anatomy, evolution, and functional morphology.  Associated fields of sedimentology and stratigraphy provide additional breadth to assure that the graduate is prepared to teach or conduct meaningful independent research in paleontology, paleo-environmental studies, and sedimentary geology.  Instruction in, and application of, quantitative methods is integral to all programs.  


Research programs in paleontology are tailored to the interests of each student.  Thus, it is possible to undertake work on organisms within a broad range of phyla spanning the Phanerozoic and to utilize appropriate geological and biological approaches to solve problems. The emphasis is on training in fundamentals and completion of quality, publishable research.  Current research conducted by faculty and students within the program spans a broad spectrum of topics, including evolution, systematics, and global paleobiogeography of decapod crustaceans; paleoecology of late Cenozoic lacustrine ostracodes including isotope and trace element geochemistry related to environmental and climatic change;  biological oceanography including geochemistry, biostratigraphy, and faunal analysis of Foraminifera from the deep sea; biostratigraphy and paleoecology of fish deposits from the Cenozoic nonmarine sediments in the Basin and Range; and  interpretation of systematic and taphonomic significance of ultrastructure in decapod  cuticle. Geographic regions in which research has been conducted recently include Antarctica, New Zealand, Madagascar, Europe, South America, Japan, Mexico, and the deep sea of the North Atlantic and eastern and western Pacific Oceans as well as North America. Graduate research in these areas is regularly supported by external funding from National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, Geological Society of America, and Sigma Xi. 


  • Principles of Stratigraphy
  • Paleoceanography
  • Sedimentary Petrology
  • Carbonate Rocks
  • Clay Mineralogy
  • Paleoecology
  • Systematic Invertebrate Paleontology I
  • Systematic Invertebrate Paleontology II
  • Micropaleontology
  • Sedimentology
  • Advanced Stratigraphy

Faculty who directly support paleontology in the areas of invertebrate paleontology, vertebrate paleontology, paleobotany, stratigraphy, and sedimentology are: 

  • RODNEY M. FELDMANN,  Ph.D., University of North Dakota, 1967. Invertebrate paleontology, paleobiogeography, stratigraphy.
  • JEREMY L. GREEN,  Ph.D., North Carolina State University, 2009. Vertebrate paleontology,  paleoecology, synapsid evolution and extinction.
  • JOSEPH D. ORTIZ,  Ph.D., Oregon State University, 1995.  Marine micropaleontology, geochemistry and faunal analysis of Foraminifera, stratigraphy, marine sedimentology, climatic change.
  • CARRIE E. SCHWEITZER, Ph.D., Kent State University, 2000. Invertebrate paleontology, paleobiogeography, Decapod phylogeny and evolution.
  • ALISON J. SMITH,  Ph.D., Brown University, 1991.  Paleolimnology, micropaleontology, Quaternary and Holocene studies, climatic change.
  • NEIL A. WELLS, Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1984.  Clastic sedimentology, sedimentary environments, vertebrate paleontology


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