PSW: Great Barrier Molluscs & uniformitarianism


Great Barrier Reef Molluscs:
The Present as Key to the Past as Key to the Present

Matthew Kosnik

Post-Doctoral Research Associate
Department of Paleobiology
Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History

Wednesday, May. 19, 2009

7:00 p.m., in the Cooper Room

National Museum of Natural History

10th St. & Constitution Ave.

Non-Smithsonian visitors will be escorted

to the Cooper Room at 6:30 and 6:55 p.m.

Visitors arriving late, but before 7:10 pm,

can call up to the Cooper Room using numbers

that will be left with the guards.

Meet in the Constitution Avenue lobby at 5:00 p.m. to join us for dinner at “Elephant and Castle”.  Latecomers can meet directly at the restaurant at the NW corner of 12th & Penn. Ave., NW

The talk will be a discussion about the state of modern marine ecosystems and how they desperately need long-term quantitative datasets that can serve as a historical baseline for understanding modern marine communities.  Sedimentary deposits preserve a rich record of skeletal remains that can be used to construct historical records, but comparing living communities to fossil assemblages requires detailed examination of the differences between fossil assemblages and living communities.  The key differences are the time over which the fossil assemblage has accumulated, and systematic differences in the preservation potential of the various taxa. Study of mollusks from the Great Barrier Reef provide data to evaluate these issues for tropical marine ecosystems.

Speaker biography:

Matthew Kosnik’s research focuses on the evolution of molluscan communities on scales ranging from the last interglacial up to the whole Phanerozoic. He has a Ph. D. from the University of Chicago, spent three years as a post-doctoral fellow a James Cook University in Townsville, Australia, and is currently finishing up as a post- doctoral research associate at the National Museum of Natural History.

In June Dr. Kosnik will be moving to the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia to take up an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship. During his time at James Cook University Dr. Kosnik sampled living and Holocene molluscs from the sedimentary lagoons of the Great Barrier Reef and while he has been in residence at the Smithsonian he has studied the taphonomy and paleoecology of the fauna he collected in Australia.


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