Now, more than ever, it is important to understand how life on this planet responds to major perturbations in ecosystems. Dr. Diana Boyer’s, Winthrop University, research focuses on investigating the causes and consequences of past mass extinctions to better understand how life is impacted, and how it recovers, using the fossil and geochemical signals preserved in the rock record.
During the Late Devonian (~375 million years ago) there were a series of major extinction events of varying magnitude that resulted in dramatic loss of life on a global scale. Despite the magnitude and resulting ecological impact, the driving mechanism(s) of this mass extinction event remains poorly constrained. This research focuses on comparing the biological and chemical signal of conditions before, during and after the extinctions to better understand the kill mechanism(s).
This project involves field work collecting samples from across North America, and allows students to be involved in all aspects of the project from field collection of rock samples through analysis. Winthrop has a very strong focus on undergraduate research experiences, including students traveling to Utah and Nevada this summer to collect samples for this research.
Shown in photo is a student doing research in Utah.
NSF Collaborative Research: RUI: A High resolution Paleontological, Ichnological, and Chemostratigraphic Study of Late Devonian Mass Extinctions. Click to read abstract.
Click download PDF of Research Focus on Dr. Diana Boyer
June 23, 2017