Teaching Research Publications Links
Christopher A. McRoberts
Professor of Geology (SUNY Cortland)
Research Associate (American Museum of Natural History)
Research Associate (Binghamton University)
Secretary of the Subcommission on Triassic Stratigraphy
PhD (1994) Syracuse University
Bowers Hall, Rm. 337, Voice: (607) 753-2925
is always something new in geology. Imagine having to
teach calculus!"-Richard Cowen
- Historical Geology (GLY 262). Generally offered during the Spring semester
- Invertebrate Paleontology (GLY 363). Generally offered during the spring semester
- Stratigraphy (GLY 471).Generaly offered during the Fall semester
- Supplemental Field Studies (GLY 400). Offered on occassion
- Mass Extinctions (GLY 529). Offered on occasion
- History of Geology (GLY 573). Offered on occasion
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research interests mainly reside in the following three
- Paleobiology and paleoecology of bivalve molluscs
- Diversity and extinction of Early Mesozoic marine
- Biochronology of Triassic bivalve molluscs
One of my main areas of research focuses on the patterns and causes of the end-Triassic mass extinction, one of the five largest throughout the history of life. Currently, this work is funded by a National Science Foundation EAR grant which supports field work and research training for SUNY Cortland undergraduate students on the well preserved faunas in Austria and Italy. This interdisciplinary research combines systematic paleontology and paleoecology of bivalved molluscs, with geochemical and paleoecological analyses.
my on-going projects, funded in part by the Petroleum
Research Fund of the American Chemcial Society and by previous National
Science Foundation grants, is to examine large-scale trends in bivalve biodiversity through the marine Triassic of western North America. This research has taken me to collect
fossil bivalve molluscs from the marine Triassic of many western
states, Canada and Mexico. Understanding which extrinsic or intrinsic
factors may have influenced the changes in bivalve diversity through
the North American Triassic provides critical information on the
adaptive radiation following the largest of all mass extinctions at
the end of the Permian. This research actively involves undergraduate students in all aspects of the field and laboratory work.
A small part of a very diverse and exquisitely preserved silicified fauna from the Upper Triassic (Norian) of southeast Alaska. Bivalves (on left side) represent many new taxa and contribute significantly to total taxonomic richness known from the Norian stage. From a manuscript in preparation. [click on image for a larger view]
third aspect of my professional interest is in the
establishment and refinement of the geological timescale for the
Triassic Period. In this regard, I am currently the Secretary of the
Subcommission on Triassic
Stratigraphy (STS). Under the auspicies of the International
Commission on Stratigraphy and the International
Union of Geological Sciences, the STS is the international
governing body that is working to define the various subdivisions
(ages) of the Triassic Period. I currently am involved in several biochronological studies of Triassic thin-shelled bivalves belonging to the genera Daonella, Halobia, and Monotis.
Temporal ranges of biochronologically important thin-shelled pteriomorphian and pectinacean bivalve genera during the middle and upper Triassic. [click on image for a larger view]
and now for something completely different ....
Modified GSA press release: Although color (and colored patterning) is ubiquitous in the epidermis and exoskeletons of modern animals, preservation of color in the fossil record is exceptionally rare, with very few examples preserved within fossil skeletons. Collaborative research with faculty (McRoberts and Hegna), students (Burke and Stice) and amateurs (Mize and Martin) from SUNY Cortland and Western Illinois University document in the journal Geology some exceptionally preserved fossil trilobites belonging to Eldredgeops rana that exhibit original spotted markings embedded in their exoskeleton. These exquisitely preserved trilobites collected from the Middle Devonian of western and central New York exhibit distinctive biologic patterning and are preserved as low-Mg calcite spheres that likely served as windows through a pigmented exoskeleton to the underlying epidermis of the trilobites. Spot patterning, composition, and structure rule out previous hypotheses of muscle attachment sites or diagenetic artifacts. The leopard-like patterns would have served a light disrupting camouflage. See below for paper.
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here for the complete
- Druckenmiller, P., Kelley, N., Whalen, M., McRoberts, C. and Carter, J. 2014 In Press. An Upper Triassic (Norian) ichthyosaur (Reptilia, Ichthyopterygia) from northern Alaska and dietary insight based on gut contents. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
- Furlong, C. and McRoberts. C.A. 2014. Commensal borings from the Middle Devonian of central New York: Ecologic and taxonomic review of Clionoides, Clinolithes, and Canaliparva n. ichnogen. Journal of Paleontology, vol. 88, p. 131-145. [pdf]
- Hillebrandt, A.v Krystyn, L., Kürschner, W.M., Bonis, N.R., Ruhl, M., Richoz, S., Schobben, M.A.N., Urlichs, M., Bown, P.R., Kment, K., McRoberts, C.A., Simms, M. and Tomãsovıch, A. 2013. The Global Stratotype Sections and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Jurassic System at Kuhjoch (Karwendel Mountains, Northern Calcareous Alps, Tyrol, Austria). Episodes, vol. 36, p. 162-198. [pdf]
- McRoberts, C., Hegna, T., Burke, J., Stice, M. Mize, S. and Martin, M. 2013. Original spotted patterns on Middle Devonian phacopid trilobites from western and central New York. Geology, vol. 41, no. 5, p. 607-610. [pdf]
- Rigo, M., McRoberts, C.A., Ciarapica, G., Giordano, N. and Bachan, A. 2013. New Stratigraphic, paleontologic and geochemical data around the Triassic-Jurassic boundary at Portovenere (Northern Apennines, Italy). p. 489-499, In: Tanner, L., Spielmann, J. and Lucas, S. (eds.), The Triassic System. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Bulletin 61. [pdf]
- McRoberts, C. Krystyn, L., and Hautmann, M. 2012. Macrofaunal response to the end-Triassic mass extinction in the West-Tethyan Kössen Basin, Austria. PALAIOS, v. 27, p. 607-616 .[pdf]
- Bachan, A., B. van de Schootbrugge, C. A. McRoberts, G. Ciarapica, and J. L. Payne. 2012. Carbon cycle dynamics following the end-Triassic mass extinction: Constraints from paired δ13Ccarb and δ13Corg records. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. v. 13, n. 9, p. 1-24. [pdf]
- Carter, J., et al. 2011. A Synoptical Classification of the Bivalvia (Mollusca): University of Kansas, Paleontological Insitute, Paleontological Contributions, no. 4, p. 1-47. [pdf]
- McRoberts, C.A. 2011. Late Triassic Bivalvia (chiefly Halobiidae and Monotidae) from the Pardonet Formation, Williston Lake area, northeast British Columbia, Canada: Journal of Paleontology, v. 85, p. 615-666. [pdf 29 MB]
- McRoberts, C.A. 2010. Biochronology of Triassic bivalves, pp. 201-219. In: Lucas S.G. (ed.) The Triassic Time Scale. Geological Society of London Special Publication 334. [pdf]
- Zonneveld, J.-P., Beatty, T.W., Williford, KH.., Orchard, M.J., and McRoberts, C.A. 2010. Stratigraphy and sedimentology of the lower Black Bear Ridge section, British Columbia Candidate for the base-Norian GSSP. Stratigraphy, v. 7, pp. 61-82. [pdf]
- Ward, P.D. McRoberts, C.A., and Williford, K. 2009. Reply to comment on: “The organic carbon isotopic and paleontological across the Triassic–Jurassic boundary at the candidate GSSP section at Ferguson Hill, Muller Canyon, Nevada, USA” by Ward et al. (2007). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 273, p. 205-206.
- McRoberts, C.A., Krystyn, L. and Shea, A. 2008. Rhaetian (Late Triassic) Monotis (Bivalvia: Pectinoida) from the eastern Northern Calcareous Alps (Austria) and the end-Norian crisis in pelagic faunas. Palaeontology, v. 51. pp. 571-535. [pdf]
- Stanley G. D. Jr., McRoberts, C. A., and Whalen, M. T. 2008. Stratigraphy of the Triassic Martin Bridge Formation, Wallowa terrane: Stratigraphy and depositional setting, pp. 227–250. In in Blodgett, R. B., and Stanley, G. D., eds., The terrane puzzle: New perspectives on paleontology and stratigraphy from the North American Cordillera. Geological Society of America Special Paper, v 442. [pdf]
- McRoberts, C. A., Ward, P. and Hesselbo, S. P.. 2007. A proposal for the base Hettangian Stage (= base Jurassic System) GSSP at New York Canyon (Nevada, USA) using carbon isotopes. International Subcommission on Jurassic Stratigraphy Newsletter. v. 34. pp. 43-49. [pdf]
- Hesselbo, S. P., McRoberts, C. A., and Pálfy, J.. 2007. Triassic-Jurassic boundary events: Problems, progress, possibilities, in Hesselbo, S. P., McRoberts, C. A., and Pálfy, J., eds., Special Issue: Triassic-Jurassic Boundary Events: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. v. 244, pp. 1-10. [pdf]
- Ward, P., Garrison, G., Williford, K., Kring, D., Goodwin, D., Beattie, M., and McRoberts, C. A.. 2007. The organic carbon isotopic and paleontological record across the Triassic-Jurassic boundary at the candidate GSSP section at Ferguson Hill, Muller Canyon, Nevada, USA, pp. 281-289. In Hesselbo, S. P., McRoberts, C. A., and Pálfy, J., eds., Special Issue: Triassic-Jurassic Boundary Events: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 244. [pdf]
- Hesselbo, S. P., McRoberts, C. A., and Pálfy, J., eds., 2007. Special Issue: Triassic-Jurassic Boundary Events: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 244. 423 p.
- Balini, M., Jenks, J. F., McRoberts, C. A., and Orchard, M. J., 2007, The Ladinian-Carnian boundary succession at South Canyon (New Pass Range, central Nevada): New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science Bulletin, v. 40, p. 127-138. [pdf]
- Ross, R. M., McRoberts, C. A., and Duggan-Haas, 2007, Creating a virtural fieldwork experience at a fossil-rich quarry. In McRoberts, C. A., ed., New York State Geological Association, 79th Annual Meeting Field Trip Guidbook, Albany, New York State Geological Association, pp. 177-187. [pdf]
- McRoberts, C. A., editor. 2007, New York State Geological Association, 79th Annual Meeting Field Trip Guidbook, Albany, New York State Geological Association, 187 p.
- Yin, Jiarun and C. A. McRoberts. 2006. Latest
Triassic-Earliest Jurassic bivalves of the Germig Formation from
Lanongla (Tibet, China). Journal of Paleontology, vol. 80, no. 1,
pp. 104-120. [abstract]
- McRoberts, C. A., and N. D. Newell. 2005. Marine Myalinidae
(Bivalvia: Pterioida) from the Permian of West-Texas. American Museum
Novitates No. 3460, pp. 1-15. [abstract] [pdf]
- Hopkin, E. K. and C. A. McRoberts. 2005. A New Middle
Triassic Flat Clam (Pterioida: Halobiidae) from the Middle Anisian of
North-Central Nevada, USA. Journal of Paleontology, vol. 79, pp.
- McRoberts C. and Blodgett, R. 2002. Late Triassic (Norian)
Molluscs from the Taylor Mountains, Alaska. U.S. Geological Survey
Professional Paper 1662, pp. 55-75. [abstract]
- McRoberts, C. A. 2001.Triassic bivalves and the initial
marine Mesozoic revolution: A role for predators?. GEOLOGY. vol 29, pp.
- McRoberts, C. A., and N. D. Newell. 2001. A new Permian
myalinid genus, Elversella, of west Texas. American Museum Novitates,
3311, pp. 1-5.[abstract] [pdf]
- McRoberts, C. A. 2000. A primitive Halobia
(Bivalvia: Halobioidea) from the Triassic of northeast British
Columbia. Journal of Paleontolgy, vol. 74, pp. 599-603. [abstract] [pdf]
- McRoberts, C.A. 1998. Late Triassic (Norian-Rhaetian)
bivalves from the Antimonio Formation, northwest Sonora, Mexico.
Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Geológicas, vol. 14, no. 2. pp.
- McRoberts, C.A. , Furrer, H., and Jones, D. 1997.
Palaeoenvironmental interpretation of a Triassic-Jurassic boundary
section from western Austria based on palaeoecologic and geochemical
data. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, vol. 136,
- McRoberts, C.A. and Newell, N.D. 1997. Novaculapermia,
gen. nov., a transitional myalinid bivalve from the Lower Permain of
west Texas. Palaeontology, vol. 40, pp.487-495. [abstract]
- McRoberts, C.A. and Aberhan, M. 1997. Marine diversity and
sea-level changes: numerical tests for association using Early Jurassic
bivalves. Geologische Rundschau, vol. 86, pp. 160-167. [abstract]
- McRoberts, C.A. and Newton, C.R. 1995. Selective extinction
among end-Triassic European bivalves. GEOLOGY, vol. 23, pp. 102-104. [pdf]
- Bice, D. M., C. R. Newton, S. McCauley, P. W. Reiners, and C. A. McRoberts. 1992. Shocked quartz at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary in Italy. Science, 255:443-446. [pdf]
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Points of Interests:
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quote worth thinking about . . .
new paleontologists fail to develop and actively exploit an area of
empirical expertise in systematics, we will eventually begin to fold in
upon ourselves, use and reuse the same inadequate data and finally,
like the legendary foo-bird, fly around in ever tightening circles,
until we fly up our own collective asshole and disappear. "-Steven J.
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