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Research 

My research interests lie primarily with Cretaceous and Paleogene invertebrates of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Basins. More specifically, I am focused on the evolution and ecology of larger benthic foraminifera and their use in biocorrelation and facies analysis; the refinement of biozones using both larger foraminifera and macrofaunal; the search for patterns in biosedimentologic controls in the construction of the Florida Platform through time; and especially Paleocene reef paleoecology and the post-Cretaceous recovery of reef ecosystems.

 

Current Research Projects

2022-2023 Geological Consultant, Florida Geological Survey, Depart. of Environmental Protection, Tallahassee. East Gulf Coastal Plain Stratigraphic Reconciliation Initiative. In cooperation with the Geological Survey of Alabama, and Mississippi Office of Geology, and U.S. Geological Survey. Project to resolve stratigraphic correlation and nomenclatorial issues across state boundaries.

2022 Geomorphologic Investigation of 8OK386 (Gin Hole Landing). Geo-archeology consultant and contributor to Phase III Data Recovery Investigation, Prentice Thomas & Associates for Argonne National Laboratories.

2020-2022 Upchurch, SB, et al., Provenance Determinations of Coastal Plain Cherts: The Enhancement of the Quarry Cluster Method. In prep/press. Bryan contributions: (a) Expansion of the Quarry Cluster Method into the Dougherty Karst Plain of Alabama and Georgia, (b) Geological Provenance of Oligo-Miocene Silicified Corals in Florida and Southern Georgia.

Larger Benthic Foraminiferal Paleobiology/Ecology & Evolution

This work involves study of Upper Eocene & Lower Oligocene carbonates of the Florida Platform & eastern Gulf. Because of their great abundance &ecological sensitivity, LBF are especially useful in carbonate facies analysis, not only in their bio/litho facies associations, but also biometrically.  The complex tests of the photosymbiont-bearing LBF are very sensitive to light & water energy & this is reflected in test size, robustness, & internal morphology. The ecological response of other carbonate-producing organisms (calcareous algae, corals, bryozoa) is equally of interest because the Florida Platform broadly extends across climatic zones, thus exhibiting both heterozoan & photozoan biosedimentologic regimes in carbonate platform construction. This is an ongoing project with increasing field localities & new cores. 

Paleocene Reef Paleoecology

This work includes study of the Salt Mountain Limestone of Alabama, a Paleocene coral-algal-sponge reef (with a large, undescribed poriferan fauna), as well as other sponge-algal reef systems, and the post-Cretaceous recovery of reef ecosystems (i.e., sponge-algal framework before the recovery of scleractinian-dominated systems).

Developmental Paleobology of Larger Foraminifera

This work involves interpreting the enormous morphologic variability of large forams in terms of heterochrony (i.e., the adaptive significance of variation of reproductive timing & growth rate during ontogeny). The larger objective of this research is to investigate the widespread convergence of large forams through time (e.g., fusulinids & alveolinids, Cretaceous & Paleogene orbitoids, etc.) and explore its implications. Convergence is common evolutionary phenomena, but one that has received minimal investigation in invertebrates. But, as suggested by the recent work of Conway-Morris, convergence may in fact be a deep insight into evolutionary constraint and direction.

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