Biography

 I hold a B.S. degrees in biology and geology. I was a research associate in the ichthyology department of the American Museum of Natural History in New York studying moray eels before coming to Emory & Henry College. My research interests include: 1) the evolutionary relationships between fossil and living fishes, 2) the evolutionary relationships of species within the moray eel family, and 3) the paleobiogeography of late Cretaceous fishes in North America. For the past seven years, I have been doing fieldwork collecting and identifying fossil fishes from central Mexico. , In addition to general biology for majors and non-majors, I teach comparative anatomy, human anatomy, developmental biology, and evolutionary biology. I regard independent undergraduate research to be a critical part of a student’s education in biology.

Research:

I have just completed a study using paleontological data to calibrate DNA phylogenies of major fish orders. Currently, I am describing two new fossil fish from the late Cretaceous of Mexico. I am also working on describing the late Cretaceous fishes of Arkansas.

Student Research:

In the past, I have had students study the evolutionary relationships of various eel families and describe a new species of fossil fish. Recently, a student completed a study of fossil marine microinvertebrates from northern Virginia for which she won a prize in undergraduate research and will be published in a scientific journal. Currently, two students are investigating the jaw mechanics of some fossil fishes using their living relatives as a model. Another student is looking at variation in tail bones among moray eels species.

Upcoming Research:

Plan to continue paleontological field work in central Mexico as well as field work in southwestern Arkansas. I also plan to complete my work on moray eel relationships using morphological and DNA characters.

Educational Background

  • B.S., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • B.S., University of Illinois at Chicago
  • M.S., University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Ph.D., University of Kansas