Miocene Mollusks of the Clallam Formation
The lower Miocene Clallam Formation, exposed along the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula between Pilar Point and Clallam Bay, preserves a rich assemblage of bivalves and gastropods. One aspect of our research on the Clallam includes examining the assemblage from a paleoecological perspective in order to better understand this ancient ecosystem. We are reconstructing depositional environments, measuring relative diversity and working to define the dynamic relationships between the organisms that lived there. Another project focuses specifically on the preservation and paleoecology of large and ubiquitous scallops preserved within the Clallam.
Ultimately, I am interested in comparing the fossils of the Clallam formation to other Miocene formations in the Pacific Northwest, like the Astoria Formation, in order to better understand the ecology of the ancient Salish Sea. By studying ecosystem change through time, especially during time of dramatic global change, we can better understand modern ecosystems in the Salish Sea and throughout the world.
I am currently working with undergraduate students on the Clallam formation, but I am also recruiting masters students, so if you are interested in studying invertebrate paleontology at WWU, please contact me.