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  • 1. Behavioral Innovations and Environmental Feedbacks: Insights from the Trace Fossil Record and Other Archives

    Organizers: Lidya Tarhan, Dan Hembree, Jon Smith, Jim Gehling




    Trace fossils—the record of organism behaviors—provide, in conjunction with body fossils, sedimentological and geochemical archives and neoichnological experiments, critical information about organism-environment interactions. This symposium will explore the emergence of key behaviors, such as the evolution of bioturbating and bioeroding organisms, as well as feedbacks between bioturbation, environmental processes and ecosystem structure in modern and ancient, and marine and terrestrial settings. We welcome submissions on a range of ichnological topics, including (but not limited to) the evolutionary history of bioturbating and bioeroding animals; modern and ancient infaunal physiologies and ecologies; bioturbation-biogeochemical feedbacks; methods for measuring ichnological activity and system responses to these activities; and the role of organism behaviors in major environmental perturbations or evolutionary phenomena.


    With associated poster session

  • 2. Tiny fossils, big questions, big data

    Organizers: Moriaki Yasuhara, Aaron O'Dea, Elizabeth Sibert, Jack Williams




    Recent emergence of macro- or global scale ecology (aka macroecology) allows small-fossil paleontology to contribute to biological & environmental science questions just it has to earth sciences, because both macroecology and paleontology use similar datasets, census data of morphospecies in space and time. Hence the methodology and discoveries of macro-scale ecology can be applied directly to fossil data. In this symposium, we will showcase recent progress in integrative macroecology-paleoecology-macroevolutionary science using small fossils and quantitative analyses of their large and/or high time resolution data. Ambitious contributions addressing broad range of questions in the fields of conservation paleobiology, drivers of macro-micro evolution, predictions of climate change, and with expansion, for example, into new fossil groups, developing techniques, getting new data and developing better biological data, and those applying exciting new questions to old collections are particularly welcome.

  • 3. Plankton and Earth System Evolution

    Organizers: Pincelli Hull and Sandra Kirtland Turner




    Plankton can be mighty. Innovations in plankton physiology and metabolisms likely underlie many of the key transition in Earth’s environment and dynamics, particularly with respect to changes in the oceans ‘biological pump’ and its attendant impact on ocean and atmospheric oxygenation as well as COand climate. This symposium seeks to bring together those working on macroevolution in the open ocean and Earth system dynamics, to highlight emerging perspectives and provide scope for new synthesis in the field. In particular we aim to highlight new tools (e.g., models & techniques), emerging mechanisms and perspectives (e.g., symbiosis/mutualism, mixotrophy, sexual selection, etc.), and secular trends in open ocean organisms as they relate to earth system evolution.

  • 4. Avalon to Zaris: A Global Perspective on the Ediacaran Biosphere

    Organizers: Emily Mitchell, Charlotte Kenchington, Chrissy Hall




    This symposium will bring together researchers working on Ediacaran sites from across the globe, with the aim of developing a holistic view of life during this pivotal period of Earth history. By combining the wealth of Ediacaran environmental, geographical and phylogenetic diversity, this symposium will provide an integrated view of evolution during the Ediacaran. Additionally, ground-breaking techniques are being developed by researchers working in disparate regions, and it is our hope that gathering them together at NAPC 2019 will facilitate future collaborative and multidisciplinary approaches that will greatly advance the science of our field.


    With associated poster session

  • 5. Arthropod evolution through deep time: a tribute to Richard Fortey

    Organizers: Javier Ortega-Hernández, Jorge Esteve, Joe Moysiuk, Alejandro Izquierdo López 




    Arthropods represent the most diverse and abundant animals that inhabit the biosphere, and have maintained this distinction since their origins during the Cambrian Explosion more than 500 million years ago. Arthropods have played a fundamental ecological role throughout the Phanerozoic, and their durable exoskeleton has left behind an impressive fossil record that allows scrutinizing the long evolutionary history of this group. The aim of this symposium is to bring together the international paleontological community and serve as a stage for sharing their latest research on any aspect of the evolution of arthropods that incorporates the fossil record. We encourage presentations that emphasize interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the arthropod fossil record, such as functional morphology, evo-devo and bioinformatics. The symposium will also commemorate the distinguished career of Richard A. Fortey, offer an opportunity to acknowledge his notable contributions in trilobite evolution and his passion for sharing paleobiology beyond strictly academic circles.  


    With associated poster session

  • 6. Paleobiology of Cephalopods

    Organizers: Lucy Chang, Benjamin Linzmeier, Margaret Yacobucci,




    This symposium will showcase the latest research on fossil cephalopods, including nautiloids, ammonoids, and coleoids, from the entire Phanerozoic. Speakers will share paleobiological insights on this charismatic group derived from a range of methods, from new anatomical and phylogenetic approaches to biogeochemical analyses and biostratigraphic studies. The symposium will include several subthemes, including but not limited to anatomical and biomechanical reconstructions, paleoecological interpretations, and biodiversity patterns. The goal of the session is to show how cephalopod fossils inform what we know about ecological change, evolution, and extinctions.

  • 7. Cambrian Konservat-Lagerstätten and the emergence of modern-style marine ecosystems

    Organizers: Rudy Lerosey-Aubril, Robert Gaines, Xingliang Zhang




    The diversification of animals in the Cambrian is a critical episode of the history of life, and represents a profound state change in the Earth system. Associated with the colonization of new habitats, this adaptive radiation has led to both a profound restructuring and a major increase in the complexity of marine ecosystems. In particular, the advent of motility and the diversification of feeding habits dramatically increased interactions between their constituents, resulting in a high level of interdependence – a key characteristic of modern marine communities. Konservat-Lagerstätten represent primary sources of palaeontological information for the Cambrian period and as such, are critical for testing hypotheses about the triggers and modalities of this adaptive radiation of early metazoans. This symposium will be dedicated to these exceptional deposits and the remarkable fossil assemblages they yield. It will aim to present and discuss the most recent advances on this topic, but also to identify novel approaches that might permit a more thorough exploitation of this invaluable source of data.  


    With associated poster session

  • 8. Symposium in honor of the career of Michael A. Murphy

    Organizers: Kathleen Springer, Stanley Finney, Jonathan Matti




    The Symposium to honor Michael A. Murphy brings together a diverse group of paleontologists, biostratigraphers, and geologists who will explore a broad range of topics that center around paleontology and whose careers were influenced at some point by Michael A. Murphy’s diverse scientific contributions and especially his mentoring and friendship. The presentations will demonstrate the lasting legacy of Michael A. Murphy—colleague, mentor, and scientist, and friend to us all.

  • 9. Ancient DNA and Fossil Proteins

    Organizers: Jeana Drake, David Jacobs




    With the rapid advance of high-throughput technology, studies of ancient DNA have rapidly increased in data recovered and sophistication of analysis, providing a broad range of insights from Quaternary samples. These results yield perspectives on deeper-time evolution and provide essential context for studies based on modern samples. Thus, they link neontological evolutionary study with the fossil record.  This genomic work permits placement of extinct lineages in molecular phylogenies, allowsexploration of past population processes, such as selection, and recovers ecological associations. This symposium will provide exemplars of recent studies and a forum for discussion of these methods and their application in a paleontological context.

    Over the past decade, improved techniques to study ancient proteins both ex- and in-situ have allowed characterization of these biomolecules from increasingly older specimens. This symposium will also exhibit recent advances in proteomic analyses of paleontological samples, encompassing biochemical, microscopic, and physical-chemical methods. 

  • 10. Deep Time Paleogenomics

    Organizers: David Gold, Jeffrey Thompson




    The integration of paleontology with molecular and computational biology has resulted in the broad interdisciplinary field of paleogenomics. Paleogenomics provides a unique vantage for interpreting the fossil record and offers new venues for collaboration between diverse scientific disciplines. The goal of this symposium is to explore and celebrate the many ways that genetic and genomic data is being applied to questions relevant to paleontology and geobiology. This includes work on molecular clocks, identifying genes responsible for geochemical biomarkers and ancient phenotypes, as well as the reconstruction of ancient gene regulatory networks. We also aim to explore the ways in which genetic data can be used across geological timescales, ranging from questions regarding the evolution of humanity back to the origins of life.

  • 12. Environmental change and the dawn of animal life: Integrating geochemical and paleontological data

    Organizers: Charles Diamond and Scott Evans 




    This symposium aims to explore research that integrates geochemical environmental reconstructions with paleontological observations to address outstanding, large-scale questions about the co-evolution of life and environment. Specifically, we seek presentations that explore the dynamic landscape of changing environments as it relates to critical steps in the early evolution of animals in the Ediacaran and Cambrian, but any research that assimilates geochemical and paleontological data will be welcomed for this symposium.

  • 13. The end of Cambrian “boom and bust” and the onset of the Great Ordovician Biodiversity Event (GOBE): diversity patterns, paleoecology, and paleobiogeography - IGCP 653-668 combined symposium

    Organizers: Alycia Stigall, Sara Pruss, Rebecca Freeman, Shelly Wernette




    The Late Cambrian to Early Ordovician brought a transition between a “boom and bust” pattern of rapid short-term diversifications followed by dramatic collapses of diversity to the ‘Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event’ (GOBE), which established a more diverse, stable marine ecosystem. This series of diversifications completely modified marine food webs and, for the first time, established modern marine ecosystems. Timing of the Ordovician radiations varied among clades and paleocontinents and may have its roots in the Cambrian. The goal of this session is to bring together paleontologists with diverse background and expertise sets to present new research bearing on the initiating factors and timing of the GOBE, including the Cambrian events that led up to it, on a global and local scale.


    With associated poster session

  • 14. Ecosystem recovery in the aftermath of the end-Permian mass extinction in the marine and terrestrial realms

    Organizers: Adam Huttenlocker, David Bottjer




    Earth’s most severe biodiversity crisis—the End-Permian Mass Extinction (EPME)— occurred ca. 252 million years ago. Long-lasting impacts are preserved in the marine record—where the extinction was first recognized and defined—as well as in terrestrial basins where whole clades became extinct, and ecosystem recovery is thought to have lagged some eight million years (in terms of returning to background levels of ecological and taxic diversity). Despite challenges in correlating these events, the overall patterns of extinction and recovery appear remarkably similar globally, and underscore general responses to global catastrophe that can guide predictions during other extinction and recovery episodes in the past and present. This symposium will integrate research in paleoecology, biostratigraphy/biochronology, sedimentology, biogeochemistry and isotopic analysis, and paleoenvironmental reconstruction, especially in understudied locations or geologic units. 


    With associated poster session

  • 15. Scales of Ecological Development in the Mesozoic

    Organizers: Kathleen Ritterbush, Lydia Tackett, Yanhong Pan, Jingeng Sha




    The Mesozoic boasts some of the greatest ecological transitions in deep time, both on land and at sea. Punctuated events of mass extinction, reef collapse, and anoxia overprint long-range trends of the Mesozoic marine revolution and the terrestrial expansion of archosaurs and forests. Exploring scales of ecological development during the Mesozoic can distinguish causal factors with implications for modern ecosystems, or can highlight unique features of biotic systems during this critical interval. This symposium will showcase observations at all scales – from microbiome to supercontinent, from seasonality to era-wide – to explore how paleoecologists can interpret Earth-life interactions in deep time. 

  • 16. Climate and Environmental Change in High-Latitude Fossil and Modern Ecosystems

    Organizers: Kelly Cronin, Sally Walker




    High-latitude ecosystems today and in the past were seasonally affected by extreme variation in day length, with six months of darkness in the winter and six months of daylight during the summer. Organisms on land and in the marine photic zone had attenuated growing seasons and adapted to episodic pulses in nutrients, respectively. Further, these ecosystems are very sensitive to environmental change, especially in regard to a warming climate. While most ecosystem work is focused on the tropics, high-latitude ecosystems provide a key to how organisms adapt to extreme conditions, from seasonal to climatic. This symposium will cover high-latitude terrestrial to marine ecosystems and focus on how flora, protists, invertebrates and vertebrates live in extreme conditions and how their ecosystems may respond to climate change.

  • 17. Conservation Paleobiology: natural systems in a human world

    Organizers:Susan Kidwell, Rebecca Terry, Wesley Parker, Yuren Yanes, Martin Zuschin



    This multidisciplinary session focuses on the application of paleontology to the conservation, management, and recovery of habitats, biota, and ecosystems. Submissions are welcomed on, but not limited to, detecting and differentiating natural environmental and anthropogenic variation, recognizing legacy effects and baselines including non-analogue communities, and improving approaches to paleontologic analysis, including its integration with historical and archeological records. This session will complement a symposium on extinction and extinction risks in the Anthropocene, and will be followed by an evening panel and Q&A on the effective integration of paleobiology with management and policy.

  • 18. The Sixth Extinction: Integrating Paleobiological, Ecological, and Physiological Perspectives

    Organizers: Noel Heim, Jonathan Payne




    There is a current debate among biologists who study ancient and modern organisms as to whether or not we are currently in the midst of the 6th mass extinction. This symposium will bring together paleontologists interested in the modern biodiversity crisis with conservation biologists to share techniques and results and to promote meaningful cross-discipline collaborations that will produce a more holistic understanding of the current biodiversity crisis. One of the biggest challenges at the interface of conservation biology and conservation paleobiology is the difference in temporal scale between the resolution of much of the fossil record and the rate of observed biological changes in the modern. This symposium will provide a forum for bridging this temporal gap through exceptionally high-resolution fossil records, long-term geohistorical records, or novel analytical techniques applied to paleontological data, modern data, or both.

  • 19. Paleozoic Extinctions: Environmental Call and Biotic Response

    Organizers: Diana Boyer, Phoebe Cohen




    During the Paleozoic, life changed dramatically through ecosystem expansion, increased biodiversity, and evolutionary adaptations. At the same time, the earth system moved towards a more oxygenated state, and experienced significant changes in climate. Overprinted on this time were numerous biocrises, including some of the largest extinction intervals in the Phanerozoic. These events, which range in magnitude and ecological impact, provide the opportunity to examine potential causes and consequences of mass extinctions. This symposium will explore the environmental conditions associated with these extinction events across a range of scales as well as the biotic response to these intervals utilizing a variety of methodologies including combined fossil and geochemical approaches.

  • 20. Stratigraphic Paleobiology

    Organizers: Steve Holland, Emilia Jarochowska, Mark Patzkowsky




    Stratigraphic paleobiology is the application of a modern view of stratigraphy, specifically event- and sequence-stratigraphy, to an interpretation of the fossil record. Here, we highlight studies that use stratigraphic context to aid in the interpretation of biological history and processes, such as mass extinctions and their recovery, morphological evolution, ecological change, and large-scale evolutionary patterns.

  • 21. Evolution, communities and ecosystems: systems approach to paleoecology

    Organizer: Peter Roopnarine




    Systems paleoecology stands at the interface of evolution, ecology, and the geosphere, asking trans-disciplinary questions at multiple temporal and hierarchical scales. Increasing access to paleontological big data, and increasingly sophisticated mathematical, computational, and other analytic approaches position systems paleoecology to address outstanding questions at this intersection of evolutionary biology and ecology, such as: the origin and persistence of particular modes of life and types of communities; the progression of community structure through the Phanerozoic; and the impact of major biotic upheavals on subsequent biospheric development. This symposium aims to bring together workers at the forefront of these topics, who address them at multiple levels of the ecological and evolutionary hierarchies, and who are generally engaged in theoretical developments in systems paleoecology.

  • 22. Fossil Marine Tetrapods of the Eastern Pacific

    Organizers: James Parham, Ana Valenzuela-Toro, Jorge Velez-Juarbe




    The past ten years have shown considerable research activity and progress toward documenting the history of marine tetrapods in the Pacific Ocean. The ongoing description of new taxa and new phylogenetic hypotheses, combined with ecological and taphonomic studies and quantitative assessments of diversity through time, have enhanced our understanding of the fossil record of many lineages. This symposium presents an opportunity for researchers to share their active studies of marine mammals and reptiles from the Pacific. Presentations will include studies about the phylogeny, ecology, taphonomy, and biogeography, with an emphasis on comparisons to physical drivers and/or across taxa. 

  • 23. Evolution of Flight and Other Topics in Vertebrate Paleontology

    Organizers: Michael Habib, Cheng-Ming Chuong 




    Animal flight is an ecologically impactful characteristic with a long fossil history that has evolved independently in many distantly related clades of animals. Powered flight has evolved only four times, making it an evolutionarily rare event. Despite the rarity of powered flight as an evolutionary transition, powered flyers are exceptionally common, rich in species diversity, and represent long-lasting clades with tremendous ecologic impact. Today, most animal species are capable of flight. Despite the vast diversity of living flyers, the fossil record contains flight-capable morphologies well outside the range seen today. Major new fossil discoveries in recent years have provided key data regarding the origins and evolution of animal flight. These discoveries, in combination with new methodologies, have led to critical insights on the origins, functional morphology, diversification, and geographic extent of fossil flyers. Such work has even paved the way for the possibility of expanding biomimetic and biologically inspired designs to incorporate lessons from fossil taxa and evolutionary perspectives. This symposium welcomes all presentations related to the origins and evolution of animal flight, from developmental perspectives to descriptive analysis of the fossil record.

  • 24. Recent advances in Central American and Mexican mammalian paleontology

    Organizers: Eduardo Jiménez-Hidalgo, Bruce Lander




    Recent research of Mexican and Central American mammalian paleontology will be presented as a forum for interchange ideas and establish collaborations between North American and Central American paleontologists. Compared to temperate North America to the north, higher mammalian diversity is present in the lower latitudes of North America (i.e., Mexico and Central America). Such a diversity gradient resulted from geological and environmental factors during the Cenozoic. Unfortunately, limited knowledge has prevented an adequate understanding of the alpha taxonomy of the region, especially during the Paleogene and Neogene. Fortunately, there has been a renewed effort to conduct research on extinct land mammals from Mexico and Central America. Contributions dealing with the taxonomy, evolution, paleoecology, paleobiology, biogeography, as well as other research related to Central American and Mexican fossil mammals are most welcome.

    With associated poster session

  • 25. The Evolutionary Transition from Non-avian Dinosaurs to Birds

    Organizers: Cheng-Ming Chuong, Luis Chiappe




    During the long evolutionary history of birds, dinosaurs (nonavian and avian) underwent numerous major morphological changes, coupled with the development of newly emergent behaviors. These changes allowed feathered nonavian dinosaurs and early birds to occupy a diversity of new eco-spaces, and in time to become the most specious group of terrestrial vertebrates. In the last two decades, new fossil findings have illustrated the morphological transitions that took place across different anatomical systems, followed by the optimization of functional forms. Profound transformations are seen in the evolution of feather, digits, beaks, tails, teeth, among other body regions, which together, led to the origin of modern birds from their nonavian dinosaur forerunners. While fossils have contributed most of our understanding of this remarkable evolutionary transition, recent molecular and developmental studies have contributed a new dimension of inquiry, enabling us to study these changes at a genomic and/or epigenetic level. In this symposium, we welcome scientists from different disciplines to come together and discuss the nonavian dino-bird evolutionary transition from different perspectives, with the objective of integrating information to reach a new level of understanding.  

  • 26. Paleontological history of the Indian subcontinent

    Organizers: Devapriya Chattopadhyayand Steve Manchester




    The dynamic history of the Indian subcontinent provides one of our best models for examining the effects of insularity, tectonic collision of major land masses and associated climate change on biotic composition and biogeographic affinities.  We will review the composition, paleoecology and biogeographic implications of floral and faunal communities from selected Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic strata in the region of present-day India and Pakistan.

  • 27. New frontiers in paleobotany: tools, digitization, techniques, insights

    Organizers: Jonathan Wilson, Cindy Looy




    Paleobotanical discoveries are informative because they provide insight into evolutionary history, past terrestrial ecosystems, and paleoenvironments from their form and function. Recently, an explosion of new methods, techniques, experimental frameworks, digitization efforts, and fossil discoveries have allowed for more detailed and quantitative inferences to be made from fossilized plant material. This symposium will explore how new data exploration methods, mathematical and modeling tools, 3-D reconstruction, automated image analysis and experimental approaches are transforming the way that plant fossils are viewed and are yielding new insights into paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental changes.

  • 28. Growth, development, and evolution in the fossil record

    Organizer: Melaine Hopkins




    Growth and development are complex processes that vary dramatically across organisms, in being accretionary, episodic, determinant, and/or indeterminant. Organisms are also capable of plastic responses through development, including remodeling, regeneration, and life history modifications. Because of this and the fact that growth determines body size, developmental processes are important for understanding many ecological interactions. Further, developmental processes are important at both micro- and macroevolutionary evolutionary scales. Genetic variation is subject to selection through phenotypic expression realized through development. Organisms may be constrained by ontogenetic variation in how they respond to selective pressure. Organisms are subject to selection throughout their lifespans, and juvenile traits may confer selective advantage or decrease extinction risk. Developmental processes themselves evolve. Thus knowledge of growth and development is critical to our understanding of evolution. The aim of this symposium is to bring together researchers working on a diverse array of organisms to cover topics ranging from methods for assessing growth and development in fossil organisms, modularity and integration, life history evolution, body size evolution, developmental constraints on evolution, the evolution of allometry, body plan evolution, and other areas of paleo-evodevo.

  • 29. Environmental change and the evolution of form and function

    Organizers: Shaun Huang, Stewart Edie, Katie Collins




    This symposium focuses on how morphological and functional diversity evolve in relation to environmental changes. We invite presentations demonstrating how environmental factors (e.g., predators, competitors, climate change, tectonic activity, etc.) are related to the evolution of form and function in a wide range of paleobiological systems, and further, what these findings can tell us about spatial and temporal variation in biodiversity (e.g., extinction selectivity, adaptive radiation, etc). We aim to highlight how the development of large fossil databases and rigorous analytical toolkits has improved the power of comparative studies—from addressing local patterns in single lineages to searching for general mechanisms of evolution. Our ultimate goal is to foster discussion on cross-system comparisons and syntheses that can illuminate fundamental principles underlying biodiversity dynamics.


    With associated poster session

  • 30. New insights into functional morphology: Microstructures, Modeling, and Experimental approaches

    Organizers: Carlie PietschBrendan Anderson, Kathleen Ritterbush, Nick Hebdon




    Many of the most interesting questions of paleobiology involve features of organisms which either have no modern analog or where potential functions are ambiguous. As function and behavior cannot be observed directly in extinct organisms (and may be difficult to observe in living organisms as well), both vertebrate and invertebrate paleobiologists employ a wide variety of techniques to determine the functional limits imposed on animals by their morphology and physiology. Emerging technologies allow observations of fossils and their reconstructed components in unprecedented detail and flexibility. These insights into the basic biology of organisms inform our understanding of soft-tissue dynamics, paleoecology, behavior, and macroevolutionary trends. This session welcomes presentations ranging from skeletal microstructure to macro-scale analyses of organisms important in the fossil record.

  • 31. Paleontology on Public Lands: Research, Outreach and Resource Management

    Organizers: Kathleen Springer, Vincent Santucci




    This symposium, kicked off by keynote speaker Dr. Kirk Johnson, Director of the National Museum of Natural History will be followed by individual thematic sessions focusing on paleontology research on public lands, public outreach and education, as well as management and protection strategies for paleontological resources. At the end of the day, a multi-agency panel (NPS, BLM, USFS, USGS and Smithsonian) will field questions and foster discussion. 

  • 32. Two to tango: amateur-professional interactions in advancing paleontological knowledge

    Organizers: Jack Kallmeyer, David Meyer




    The symposium will feature examples of successful collaboration between amateur/avocational and professional paleontologists.  The objective is to promote such activity by illustrating proven methodology for those who have not yet realized the benefit of these collaborative efforts. We seek contributions from both amateur/avocational and professional paleontologists who have collaborated successfully on projects with emphasis on how this relationship has benefitted the science of paleontology overall. The thrust of the symposium is to emphasize the methods and ultimate benefits rather than the results or findings of the efforts. Collaborative efforts could include field work, research assistance, or any other effort wherein the amateur contribution was invaluable to the completion of the project.


    With associated poster session

  • 33. Testament of Time

    Organizer: Nigel Hughes




    Appreciation that Earth’s history extends beyond our species’ own is critical for making informed decisions about our future. A science-based understanding of the past informs policy decisions concerning the present biosphere, and its discovery has been one of humankind’s greatest and most hard-won intellectual achievements. It is also one in which both women and men play and have played an integral role. But despite the success of science as a way of knowing about the past, this worldview is under renewed and sharpened attack. This plenary symposium will celebrate the discovery of our planet’s natural history and highlight the challenges and responsibilities we bear for its and our endurance.

  • 34. Exploring eLearning in the paleosciences: Visualizing the past and inspiring learners through the use of digital technologies

    Organizers:Wendy Taylor, Robert Ross, Geoffrey Bruce, Jonathan Hendricks



    This symposium will showcase innovative eLearning programs that focus on geoscience-paleoscience education in both academic and museum settings. We invite the submission of abstracts that focus on the use of digital technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), gamification, virtual field experiences, mobile apps and adaptive eLearning. Of special interest are presentations on collections-based education projects that use 3D objects, CT scanning, 3D printing, visualization, and holograms in public exhibits. Several invited keynote talks will address educational aspects of eLearning such as pedagogical strategies, best practices and instructional design.


    With associated digital poster session

  • 35. Broadening horizons of broader impacts

    Organizer: John Orcutt, Sarah Jacquet



    Paleontologists are uniquely suited to educating and engaging audiences beyond the classroom or lab and can have a substantial impact on public understanding of science and scientific literacy. Outreach efforts have traditionally focused on face-to-face interactions with students or museum-goers, but new technology facilitating indirect interactions allows paleontologists to reach a wider audience in a much greater array of settings. At the same time, an increasing recognition of paleontology’s value as a tool for scientific education and engagement has spurred the development of unique outreach methods and programs focused on broader social and political impacts. This symposium focuses on the many innovative ways in which paleontologists have used their field of study to foster critical thinking skills, teach complex concepts (particularly evolution, climate and global change, and geologic time), and inform public policy. It will provide a road map towards successfully developing and implementing novel broader impact schemes that utilize a diversity of approaches at a time when fostering public scientific literacy has never been more important.


    With associated poster session

  • 36. Past, Present, and Future of the FOSSIL Project

    Organizers: Jen Bauer




    The myFOSSIL community is a social paleontology network of collectors, enthusiasts, avocational and professional paleontologists, and educators. Through our web-based platform (, social media, our newly developed mobile app, and face-to-face events like meetings and field trips, we are reaching a broad community of over 7,000 individuals. This community harnesses the enthusiasm of fossils to foster collaborations, partnerships, and sharing of knowledge. We welcome participation from all community members interested in encouraging collaboration between educators and professional and avocational paleontologists. This symposium will summarize the community and products produced by FOSSIL project members over the past four years and foster discussions on successes, challenges, and vision for the future.


    With associated poster session

  • 37. Engaging Diverse Communities in Paleontology: Innovative educational initiatives that connect culture to natural history

    Organizers: Gabriel-Philip Santos, Sadie Mills, Isaac Magallanes




    From using narrative structure in science communication to incorporating TEK (traditional ecological knowledge) into curriculums, many educators are now utilizing such pedagogical skills to engage underserved communities and develop inclusivity and accessibility in their initiatives by connecting culture, whether it be popular, traditional, or local cultures, with paleontology and natural history lessons. This symposium will explore innovative initiatives that seek to foster diversity in paleontology through such pedagogy and the evidence for how diversity in paleontology can benefit from such initiatives.


    With associated poster session

Topical sessions

38. Macroevolutionary dynamics

39. Advances in understanding of Precambrian and Paleozoic life and environments

40. Advances in understanding of Mesozoic and Cenozoic life and environments

41. Taphonomy

42. Paleoenvironments and Paleobiology

43. Systematics and Phylogeny

44. Marine paleobiology (posters only)

45. Paleobiology and climate change in the fossil record

46. General Session (posters only)

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