Name: Joshua Zimmt
Title of Project: Using Strontium Isotope Ratios to Interpret the Formation of Fossil Beds and the Preservation of Diversity in the Calvert Cliffs (Maryland, USA)
Advisor: Rowan Lockwood
Honors Department: Geology
Before we can interpret the fossil record to unravel the evolution of life on Earth, we first must understand the processes that affect the formation of the fossil record and how these processes bias our reconstruction of past life. My project aims to constrain the period of major complex fossil bed formation in the Calvert Cliffs locality, a site that has been studied for over a hundred years: the goal of the research is to demonstrate how different methods of fossil bed formation affect our understanding of ancient marine ecosystems.
Hometown: Barrington, Rhode Island
Hobbies: I am a member of William & Mary’s Mens Varsity Swim team, specializing in the breaststroke events.
Fun Fact: I have loved paleontology ever since I was a young child, working as ‘Dinosaur Docent’ at our local zoo. Freshman year, I decided to take an upper-level paleobiology course. On our field trip to a local fossil deposit, I spent most of my time scrambling up and down the cliffs trying to collect every different fossil I could find. My persistence unwittingly paid off that afternoon, when I discovered a 5 million year old whale fossilized in the cliffs!
Follow Joshua’s research on the W&M Honors Fellowships blog!