CITY, S.D. (May 15, 2014) – The Museum of Geology at the South Dakota School of
Mines & Technology has been awarded a $499,887 grant to curate and digitize
three recently acquired collections of modern and Neogene-age invertebrates and
collections represent ancient and recent shallow-marine environments from the
last 23 million years and form a foundation for conservation paleobiology and historical
ecology research. The grant was awarded by the National Science Foundation’s
Collections in Support of Biological Research program.
project will focus on 1989-2011 field collections of principal investigator
Laurie Anderson, Ph.D., museum director and head of the Department of Geology
& Geological Engineering, and dissertation collections of co-principal
investigator Christina Belanger, assistant professor in the Department of
Geology & Geological Engineering, as well as an orphaned collection from
the former University of South Dakota-Springfield.
of this project will include well-curated collections, digitized and
georeferenced records including ancillary data, and illustrated faunal lists. “The
targeted collections are exemplars of ancient and historical shallow-marine systems
and are crucial for understanding the development of modern ecosystems,
calibrating ecological impacts of environmental disturbance, and interpreting
ecological and evolutionary processes over long time scales,” Anderson said.
because both Anderson and Belanger use bulk-sediment sampling techniques in
their field work, these collections provide records of entire fossil
assemblages that can be used to independently measure environmental information
and biotic responses to environmental changes geographically and through time.
and educational activities related to the project will include training
graduate and undergraduate students in modern curatorial techniques. The School
of Mines offers the only master’s degree in paleontology in the country.
Anderson’s excellent work in geology and paleontology adds to the outstanding
reputation the School of Mines has had for over 100 years in these fields,”
said President Heather Wilson.
students will also be involved in designing exhibits for use in outreach to
middle and high school students.
the targeted specimens will be used in course development for the training of
the next generation of museum curators, including students from state and
grant was announced at the 2014 Conference on Fossil Resources, which is being
attended by more than 120 paleontological experts from around the world. The
conference runs through Thursday with a focus on partnerships between federal
and non-federal agencies in managing fossils found on public lands.
university’s Museum of Geology has been a repository for federal, tribal and
state fossils for many years. Its 33,000-square-foot Paleontology Research
Laboratory holds more than half a million specimens in mineralogy/petrology,
paleobotany, invertebrate paleontology, micropaleontology, biology and
October, the Museum of Geology received funding from the Institute of Library
and Information Services to digitize collections from the Cretaceous Western
information about the museum and may be found at: http://www.sdsmt.edu/MuseumCollections.
Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D.,
offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls
2,640 students from 45 states and 37 countries, with a student-to-faculty ratio
of 14:1. The average starting salary for graduates is $62,400 with a 98 percent
placement rate. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu, on
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sdsmt and on
Twitter at https://twitter.com/sdsmt.