Paleontological Laboratory at SUNY Cortland

The Paleontological Laboratory at SUNY Cortland represents a collection web pages describing the facilities of the paleontology laboratory as well as a listing of resources for current and prospective students and information on several paleontological and professional groups. This website and server are maintained by Christopher McRoberts. For McRoberts' webpage (including links to research and publications), click here.

Site Index:

Listing of pages (and links) associated with the server

Paleontology, Earth History, and Related Courses at SUNY Cortland

Historical Geology (GLY 262) [offered Spring semesters]

Invertebrate Paleontology (GLY 363) [offered Spring semesters]

Supplemental Field Field Studies (GLY 400) [offered on occasion]

Stratigraphy (GLY 471) course page [offered Fall semesters]

  Mass Extinctions (GLY 529) [offered on occasion]
  History of Geology (GLY 573) [offered on occasion]

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Paleontologic Student Research at SUNY Cortland

Students with an interest in paleontology have several opportunities to conduct research at SUNY Cortland. Not only is the Cortland area amongst the best regions in the world to collect and study Devonian-aged fossils, but students have had the opportunity to conduct and assist in paleontological research in places such as Austria, Italy, Alaska, British Columbia, and Nevada. Undergraduate students use this experience to develop skills in independent critical thinking, acquire knowledge that transcends classroom study, and as a stepping-stone to further research in graduate school. The results of student paleontological research often involve presentations on campus or at professional meetings, or even published in peer-reviewed journals. Undergraduate student researchers at Cortland can sometimes get funding to conduct their research through aid from faculty research grants, travel grants, or from competitive summer fellowships.

Over the past several years, several undergraduate students have been actively involved in a wide array of paleontological research projects including:

Carolyn Furlong (exp B.S. 2012). Commensual sponge and worm boring traces on brachiopod hosts from the Middle Devonian of central New York.

Robert Hornung (B.S. 2010). Shell bed genesis and taphonomy of a well-preserved fossil locality of the Middle Devonian Ludlowville Formation of central New York

Jonathon Zabron. (B.S. 2008). Faunal change across the end-Triassic mass extinction in the Lombardian Alps of northern Italy

Adriel Shea (B.S. 2007). Two projects: (1) Faunal change across the end-Triassic mass extinction in the Northern Calcareous Alps of Austria, (2) Rhaetian (Late Triassic) Monotis (Bivalvia: Pectinoida) from the eastern Northern Calcareous Alps (Austria) and the end-Norian crisis in pelagic faunas.

James Morgenthein (B.S. 2005). Halobiid bivalve diversity of the Upper Triassic of Atigun Gorge, Arctic Alaska

Emily Hopkin (B.S. 2005). Two projects: (1) A new Middle Triassic "flat clam" from the Middle Triassic of western Nevada; (2) bivalve diversity of the Upper Triassic of southeastern Alaska.

Emily Hopkin sitting on Triassic reef strata Gravina Island, southeast Alaska Carolyn Furlong extracting an endolith infested brachiopod from the Devonian of centralNew York Jonathan Zabron sampling across the Triassci-Jurasic boundary, Tuscany Italy

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The Paleontology laboratory is a modern facility with a variety of teaching and research equipment. The laboratory is amply equipped with binocular and petrographic microscopes and several computer workstations. Additionally, the laboratory is equipped with fossil preparation equipment including mechanical preparation tools (e.g., drills, engravers, pneumatic scribes, and air abrasive facilities, an acid-proccessing facility with fume hood and processing area, splitters, seives, and shakers for sediment and grain-size analyses, and complete digital imaging systems for macro and micropaleontolgical work. Elsewhere in the Department and science building are thin-sectioning and rock-sawing machines, a Rigaku MiniFlex Powder X-ray diffractometer and a ISI-DS-130C scanning electron microscope that are extensively used in paleontological research.


Currently the Department of Geology and Paleontology Laboratory maintains a teaching collection of invertebrate, vertebrate and plant fossils numbering more than 10,000 individual specimens. These specimens are used in a several of courses including Invertebrate Paleontology and Historical Geology. Many of these are featured on the web based paleontology tutorial that accompanies the invertebrate paleontology course.

In addition to the teaching collection, the Paleontology Lab is home to more than 10,000 individual fossil specimens that are used for research purposes. A large portion of this material are fossil invertebrates, mostly marine bivalve molluscs, from the Triassic Period. A significant proportion of the research collection comes from the Alpine region of Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy), England, and from the western part of North and Central America including Alaska, British Columbia, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and Sonora Mexico. At any one time, additional fossil material is on loan from other repositories such as the Smithsonian Institution and the American Museum of Natural History.

Subcommission on Triassic Stratigraphy

The Cortland paleoserver is home to the Subcommission on Triassic Stratigraphy (STS). Under the auspicities of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) and International Stratigraphic Commission (ISC), the STS is charged with the establishment of a standard, globally applicable stratigraphic scale for the Triassic system.

Click here to go to the STS web pages

Central New York Paleontoloical Group

The Central New York Paleontological Group is an informal association of paleontologists and students in universities and museums in central New York

Click here to to the Central New York Paleontologic Group pages

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Other Links

Cortland's Geology Department Home Page

SUNY Cortland Main Page

Site Info: Maintaind by C. McRoberts, SUNY Cortland Geology Department

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by SUNY Cortland.

© 1999-2014 SUNY Cortland Geology Department.