Friday, July 13, 2018

2018 Division Awards for outstanding research

Every year the GBGM executive committee selects exceptional scholars to receive awards for their accomplishments in research, education/mentoring, and service in geobiology. This year we had an exceptional list of nominees so thanks to all those who nominated someone!

We are pleased to announce that the 2018 awards go to Paula Welander and Jim Schiffbauer (pre-tenure), Beth Orcutt (post-tenure), and Andy Knoll (distinguished career). Please checkout their brief biographies below.

Pre-Tenure Award Recipient: Paula Welander (Stanford University)

Paula Welander is a microbiologist with interests in understanding the biosynthesis and physiological function of “molecular fossils” or lipid biomarkers in extant microbes. Paula received her undergraduate degree in kinesiology from Occidental College in Los Angeles. She obtained her PhD in microbiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she studied methanogenesis with Prof. Bill Metcalf.  Paula then pursued postdoctoral studies on the biosynthesis of hopanoids, lipid produced by bacteria that also function as geological biomarkers, at MIT with Prof. Dianne Newman and Prof. Roger Summons. She joined the Stanford faculty in 2013 where she has continued her molecular work on lipid biomarkers in extant bacteria and archaea.

Pre-Tenure Award Recipient: James Schiffbauer (University of Missouri)

Dr. Schiffbauer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and Director of the X-ray Microanalysis Core at the University of Missouri. Schiffbauer’s academic background spans both biology and geology, and his research interests center on how accurately the history of life can be interpreted through the fossil record. Specifically targeting the taphonomy of complex multicellular fossils from the dawn of animal life at the Ediacaran–Cambrian transition, Schiffbauer uses advanced microscopy methods, including analytical scanning electron microscopy and tomographic x-ray microscopy, to help resolve which features of fossils represent true biological signal as opposed to those that are instead preservational noise.

Post-Tenure Award Recipient: Beth Orcutt (Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences)

Dr. Beth Orcutt is a Senior Research Scientist at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, Maine. Orcutt’s research focuses on understanding microscopic life at and below the seafloor, to resolve the importance of microbes in global chemical cycling while also revealing how life can survive in extremes for future astrobiology investigations. Having spent over 560 days at sea on 35 different field missions, Orcutt is an expert in ocean exploration technology.

Distinguished Career Award Recipient: Andrew Knoll (Harvard University)

Andrew Knoll is the Fisher Professor of Natural History at Harvard University, where he has taught for the past 36 years.  Knoll has longstanding interests in life and environments on the Archean and Proterozoic Earth, but he has also worried about Phanerozoic plant, animal, and phytoplankton evolution.  Much of Knoll’s paleontological and biogeochemical research derives from careful fieldwork, including successions in the Arctic, Siberia, China, Australia, and – virtually, at least – Mars.

Please join us in congratulating these three exceptional scientists at the GSA Geobiology Division Award Presentation during the 2018 GSA in Indiana.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

KU Vertebrate Paleontology Collections Manager

KU is hiring a new Vertebrate Paleontology Collections Manager, position starts January 1st 2019, applications are due Sept 7th.

More info here:

Collection Manager Position Overview

The collection manager for the Division of Vertebrate Paleontology of The University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute administers a world-class collection. The collections consist of extensive fossil vertebrate specimens, along with archives and library holdings. Notable strengths of the collection include its Paleozoic and Mesozoic fishes and Paleozoic tetrapods; one of the finest assemblages of fishes, plesiosaurs, mosasaurs, ichthyosaurs, pterosaurs and toothed birds from the Kansas Cretaceous Niobrara Chalk; an array of hadrosaurs, tyrannosaurs and ceratopsians from the Fruitland Formation, New Mexico; Morrison Formation sauropods; Hell Creek and Lance Creek dinosaurs; a comprehensive Cenozoic mammal record from the central and western US; and the remarkable late Pleistocene fauna from Natural Trap Cave, Wyoming. University faculty, staff and students, and national and international scholars use the collections extensively for research and education. The collection manager is responsible for day-to-day activities in the collection and reports to the curator-in-charge.

Job Description

Collection management and conservation (20%)
  • Ensure-long term integrity and preservation of collections and collection-storage environment. 
  • Maintain and improve collection-care protocols. 
  • Develop and maintain collection database. 
  • Maintain and organize records of collection activity, use, and status for annual reports, grant submissions, and other documentation. 
Acquisition and collection development (30%)
  • Oversee the preparation and staging of newly acquired specimens for their integration into the collection. 
  • Organize and prepare documentation necessary for specimen accession, including state, national and international permits and associated documentation. 
  • Digitize museum specimen information for global discoverability. 
  • Participate in acquisition of specimens for the Division by facilitating donations and by occasional fieldwork and expeditions at the direction of the curatorial staff. 
Museum operational service (30%)
  • Process all specimens loans, exchanges, and gifts; incorporated received specimens into the collection; maintain appropriate records of such activities. 
  • Collaborate with curators to plan and implement divisional goals, priorities, and programs. 
  • Collaborate with other museum collection managers to achieve high quality collection care and economy of scale in all collection-related activities. 
  • Work proactively to place specimens from Division of Vertebrate Paelontology's collection into the hands of qualified researchers for study. 
  • Assist and supervise users of the collection. 
  • Respond to inquiries from scientists, governmental and consulting agencies, the public, and other users. 
  • Participate in the museum’s public programming by providing information and specimens and assisting in exhibit design; assist in museum public functions. 
  • Conduct tours for visiting scholars, students, and the public. 

Supervision (10%)
  • Train and supervise graduate student curatorial assistant(s). 
  • Hire, train, and supervise undergraduate assistants. 
  • Train and supervise volunteers working in the collection. 

Professional development (5%)
  • Work closely with the entire collection management staff to ensure consistency of practice. 
  • Participate in collection management training and development through professional societies. 
  • Undertake research in area of expertise when not in conflict with collection management duties. 
  • Participate in professional paleontological societies. 

Other duties as appropriate. (5%)

Required Qualifications
  • Master's degree or Ph.D. in museum studies, geology, evolutionary biology, or paleontology from an accredited university plus experience working with museum collections in a position with similar responsibilities. 
  • Working knowledge of the taxonomy and identification of fossil vertebrates as evidenced by previous experience and/or education. 
  • Demonstrable knowledge of care and management of natural history collections, with a special emphasis on preventative conservation, collection-storage environments, and techniques pertaining uniquely to fossil vertebrate collections as evidenced by previous experience. 
  • Familiarity with biodiversity informatics, including relational databases (e.g., Specify), web-based applications, and distributed networks as evidenced by previous experience and/or education. 

Preferred Qualifications

  • Previous collection-management experience in a natural history collection, with a special emphasis on vertebrate paleontology collections. 
  • Expertise in one or more taxa that constitute divisional strengths and programmatic priorities. 
  • Field experience collecting fossil vertebrate specimens. 
  • Experience preparing fossil vertebrate specimens. 
  • Experience with public educational outreach activities in a natural history museum setting. 

Additional Candidate Instructions

  • A complete application will include: 
  • A letter of application addressing qualifications 
  • CV/Resume 
  • Statement of collection management philosophy 
  • Names and e-mail addresses of three individuals who can write a letter of recommendation 
  • Representative publications (the latter is optional) 

Application review begins 7 September 2018.
For more information please contact:K. Christopher Beard, Biodiversity Institute, Division of Vertebrate Paleontology, Senior Curator,
Jaime Keeler, Biodiversity Institute Business Coordinator,

The workplace is located in Dyche Hall and PSB on the university campus. The Biodiversity Institute is a healthy, dynamic, nourishing intellectual environment that values creativity, professional growth and collaborative interaction. The University of Kansas offers a fine benefits package for this permanent full-time position.

Contact Information to Applicants

Dr. K. Christopher Beard, Biodiversity Institute Division of Vertebrate Paleontology, Senior Curator
Jaime Keeler, Biodiversity Institute Business Coordinator

Advertised Salary Range: $38,000-$42,000

Application Review Begins: Friday, September 7, 2018

Anticipated Start Date: Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Palaeobiology Teaching Fellow - Bristol UK

The University of Bristol, School of Earth Sciences, is seeking to recruit a full time Teaching Fellow to join the world leading Bristol Palaeobiology research group. They are seeking an energetic and committed teacher with experience of delivering excellent palaeobiology/geology/zoology teaching (classroom, laboratory and field-based teaching and undergraduate and/or postgraduate project supervision) in a higher education setting, with an up-to-date knowledge of current topics and methods in palaeobiology.
The candidate will be expected to take strategic oversight of the teaching and management of the BSc/MSci Palaeobiology and Evolution and the MSc Palaeobiology degrees in the role of Programme Director. They will be required to develop and deliver lectures and laboratory sessions, lead field trips and devise and supervise student research projects. Central to these roles is support for students’ academic progress, coordination and delivery of small group tutorials, and marking of formative and summative assessments. You will also be expected to develop their teaching skills and materials and be willing to innovate and undertake training as required. 
Applicants will have an undergraduate degree and a PhD in Palaeobiology/Geology/Zoology or a related subject. Full information and job description here:
Deadline for applications: 24 June 2018, interviews will be held on 26th July 2018.

For further information about this role please contact:

Monday, June 4, 2018

Post-Doc Geomicrobiology of Modern and Ancient Microbialites - Dijon, France

A 2-year post-doc position is available in the field of geochemistry, sedimentology and geomicrobiology. The project addresses the role of microbial processes in formation of biological sediments and their evidence (i.e., biominerals) in the fossil record. A background in geomicrobiology/geochemistry with a specialty in microbe-mineral interactions, carbonate mineralogy, stable isotopes geochemistry (preferably of C, N, S, Fe) and/or microbial ecophysiology is desired.

The project addresses the role of microbial processes in formation of biological sediments and their evidence (i.e., biominerals) in the fossil record. We seek to link microbial interactions in modern microbialite systems (lithifying microbial mats) with carbonate mineral precipitation and mineral morphology, fabric alteration during post-depositional alteration (early diagenesis) and preservation of geochemical (e.g., isotopic) signatures in deep time.

The research encompasses microbial organosedimentary ecosystems, both unlithified and lithified, in continental aquatic systems (ranging from freshwater to hypersaline lakes, lagoons and rivers) as well as in open marine ecosystems and focuses on extrinsic and intrinsic constraints of microbialite development, including water chemistry, climate, tectonics, geological context, microbial composition, metabolic activity and interactions as well as organic matrix properties. Laboratory experimentation (with intact systems and microbial isolates) will focus on the specific role of physicochemical conditions (e.g., T°, pCO2, pH, Ca2+, Mg2+, light quality) on the extent, rate, efficiency and ultimately the mechanisms of microbialite growth. Our approach includes investigation of the organic (e.g., exopolymeric substance) and inorganic composition of microbialites, notably isotopic signatures, as well as of mineral morphology, microbialite fabric, characterization of the depositional environments (from macro- to nano-scale) and microbial characteristics. The project involves fieldwork and sample analyses (e.g., using IRMS, NANO-SIMS, XRD, scanning electron, confocal laser, Raman and cathodoluminescence microscopy), laboratory experimentation as well as geochemical modeling (e.g., Geochemist Workbench; FREEQC).

Host Laboratory: Biogeosciences, Unité mixte CNRS/UB 6282
The BIOGEOSCIENCES laboratory is a Mixed Research Unit (UMR) composed of about a hundred people whose employers are the University of Burgundy, the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE) and AgroSup Dijon.

Supervisor(s): Pieter Visscher ( and Emmanuelle Vennin (

Application deadline: June 30th, 2018
For further information, check out the website:
or  contact Emmanuelle Vennin (Pr UBFC- and Pieter Visscher (U. Connecticut-

Saturday, June 2, 2018

GSA Topical Session: New Voices in Geobiology (4-7 Nov. 2018, Indianapolis)

Dear colleagues,

We encourage you to submit an abstract for our topical session: “New Voices in Geobiology (T29)” to be held at the GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, November 4-7, 2018.

The goal of this session is to bring together new research (and new researchers) focusing on the interplay between geologic and biologic processes with a special emphasis on new field sites, novel materials/methods, and the development/refinement of proxies. We particularly encourage early career faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students to submit abstracts to this session. Overall we hope to bring together scientists specializing in geobiology, biology, (geo)microbiology, paleobiology/paleontology, inorganic and organic geochemistry, paleoecology, paleoclimatology, and sedimentology to generate new, interdisciplinary ideas and collaborations at the intersection of these fields. 

The GSA abstract website is now open for submissions and the abstract deadline is midnight August 14th, 2018. Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions. Please forward this on to colleagues or students who may be interested in this session. 

We hope to see you at GSA!
The GSA Geobiology & Geomicrobiology Division Executive Committee

Monday, May 14, 2018

PhD Research Fellowship in Paleontology/Sedimentology - Natural History Museum, University of Oslo

Job description
Applications are invited for a 3 year position in a Research Fellowship as PhD Candidate in Paleontology/Sedimentology to be based at the the Natural History Museum, University of Oslo. Starting date no later than August 2018, assuming agreement on external funding. The candidate will study Triassic biofacies with both organic rich sediment (anoxic deposit) and beds with extensive bioturbation and invertebrate fauna, with focus on the Middle Triassic Botneheia Formation in Svalbard.

The aim of the PhD is to improve our understanding of the paleoenvironment of the High Boreal Triassic, integrating paleontology with sedimentology and organic geochemistry. The project will involve field and laboratory work, taxonomic description, statistical and ecological analysis. The project is organized within the ARCEx Program and is a cooperation between the University of Oslo, several other Norwegian universities, and the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS). The candidate will be part of an active Triassic research group in Oslo.

Qualification requirements
Applicants must hold a Master’s degree or equivalent in geology and have extensive field experience. Specialization in sedimentology or paleontology will be an advantage. The candidate must participate in field work in August 2018, and must be physically fit to work in the Arctic.

How to apply
The application must include:
  • application letter
  • CV (summarizing education, positions and academic work - scientific publications)
  • copies of educational certificates, transcript of records and letters of recommendation
  • evt. documentation of English proficiency
  • a complete list of publications and academic works that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluation committee
  • names and contact details of 2-3 references (name, relation to candidate, e-mail and phone number)
More details here:
The application with attachments must be delivered in our electronic recruiting system, please follow the link “apply for this job” on this website.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Instructor of Vertebrate Paleontology at Stony Brook University

Required Qualifications:
PhD in functional morphology, evolutionary morphology, vertebrate paleontology, systematics, or physical anthropology by start date.

Preferred Qualifications 
Experience teaching in a dissection-based course.  Ongoing research program and record of publication.

Responsibilities & Requirements 
The incumbent will have primary teaching responsibilities in human gross anatomy for healthcare professional students.

Special Notes 
This is a non-tenure track position.  FLSA Exempt position, not eligible for the overtime provisions of the FLSA.  Internal and external search to occur simultaneously.   Anticipated Start Date: August 1, 2018.

Application Procedure 
Those interested in this position should fill out an online Applicant Information Survey, submit a State Employment Application, cover letter and resume/CV to the departmental address or fax below.

Alan H. Turner, Ph.D.
Department of Anatomical Sciences
Health Science Center
T8, room 040
Stony Brook, NY 11794-8081
Fax: 631-444-3947