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Department of Geosciences
Fort Hays State University
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Tomanek Hall 233
Phone: 785-628-5389

P. Grady Dixon, Chair
(785) 628-5389
pgdixon@fhsu.edu
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Department of Geosciences - Faculty

wilson-laura

Associate Professor of Geosciences

Chief Curator, Sternberg Museum of Natural History





Department Office: Tomanek Hall 219
Sternberg Office: Sternberg Museum of Natural History, 3000 Sternberg Drive
Phone:785-639-6192

Email: lewilson6@fhsu.edu
Research website
Curriculum Vitae - contact me for a current vitae


Educational Background | Courses Taught | Research Interests & Specializations
Recent Publications | Awards Received | Professional Memberships | Service Activities |
Current Research | Personal Interest | Additional Resources


Educational Background

  • Ph.D. in Geological Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder - Boulder, CO 2012
    Dissertation: Paleobiology of hesperonithiforms (Aves) from the Campanian Western Interior Seaway of North America, with analyses of extant penguin bone histology
  • M.S. in Earth Sciences, Montana State University - Bozeman, MT 2006.
    Thesis: Comparative taphonomy and paleoecological reconstruction from two microvertebrate accumulations from the lower Hell Creek Formation (late Maastrichtian), Garfield County, Montana
  • B.S. in Geology, Washington and Lee University - Lexington, VA 2003
    Thesis: Taphonomy and depositional setting of a Tyrannosaurus rex quarry from the Hell Creek Formation (late Maastrichtian), eastern Montana

Courses Taught

  • Paleontology of Higher Vertebrates
  • Paleontology of Lower Vertebrates
  • Paleobiology
  • Invertebrate Paleontology
  • Historical Geology
  • Introduction to Geology

Research Interests and Specializations

  • Hard tissue histology of extinct and extant vertebrates
  • Western Interior Seaway paleoecology
  • Paleornithology
  • Taphonomy and paleoecological reconstructions
  • Areas of expertise: Paleontology/Vertebrate paleontology, Osteohistology (fossil and modern bones and teeth); Paleoecology and paleobiology; Taphonomy and sedimentology/stratigraphy; Paleoornithology

Recent Publications/Abstracts & Presentations

(see CV for complete listing)

Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals

Wilson, L.E., Chin, K., Cumbaa, S.L. 2016. A new hesperornithiform (Aves) specimen from the Late Cretaceous Canadian High Arctic with comments on hesperornithiform diet. Canadian
Journal of Earth Sciences 53(12): 1476-1483.

Shimada, T.R.*, Wilson, L.E. 2016. A new specimen of the Late Cretaceous bird, cf. Ichthyornis sp., from the Cenomanian of central Kansas, with comments on the size distribution of
Ichthyornis in North America. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 119(2): 231-237.

Wilson, L.E., Chin, K. 2014. Comparative osteohistology of Hesperornis with reference to pygoscelid penguins: The effects of climate and behavior on avian bone microstructure. Royal Society Open Science 1:140245.

Wilson, L.E., Chin, K., Cumbaa, S., and Dyke, G. 2011. A high latitude hesperornithiform (Aves) from Devon Island: Palaeobiogeography and size distribution of North American hesperornithiforms. Journal of Systematic Paleontology 9(1):9-23.

Wilson, L.E., 2008. Comparative taphonomy and paleoecological reconstruction of two microvertebrate accumulations from the Hell Creek Formation (Maastrichtian), eastern Montana. Palaios 23: 289-297.

Book Chapters

Wilson, L.E., de Boef Miara, M. 2013. Chapter 6: Database standardization. In Bone Histology of Fossil Tetrapods: Issues, Methods, and Databases (eds. Padian, K, Lamm, E.-T.), University of California Press, Berkeley.

Padian, K., de Boef Miara, M., Larsson, H.C.E., Wilson, L.E., Bromage, T. 2013. Chapter 10: Research applications and integration. In Bone Histology of Fossil Tetrapods: Issues, Methods, and Databases (eds. Padian, K, Lamm, E.-T.), University of California Press, Berkeley.

Educational Websites

Wilson, L.E., Chin, K., Jackson, F.D., and Bray, E.S. 2010. Fossil eggshell: Fragments from the past. http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/science/eggshell/index.php

Presentations

Wilson, L.E. 2017. Seabirds as ecological indicators in Late Cretaceous marine environments. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Program and Abstracts, 2017: 214.

Wilson, L.E. 2017. The role of seabirds in understanding Late Cretaceous marine ecosystems. Abstracts from the 149th Annual Meeting of the Kansas Academy of Science. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 120(1-2): 128.

Wilson, L.E. 2015. Osteohistological Insight into Pteranodon ontogeny. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 35(supplement): 239.

Wilson, L.E. 2015. Preliminary analysis of Pteranodon long bone histology. 3rd International Symposium on Paleohistology. Steinmann Institute for Geology, Mineralogy, and Paleontology, University of Bonn.

Wilson, L.E. 2015. Preliminary analysis of Pteranodon long bone histology. Abstracts from the 147th Annual Meeting of the Kansas Academy of Science. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 118(1-2): 162.

Awards Received

  • Outstanding Teaching Award, FHSU Werth College of Science, Technology, and Mathematics - Spring 2017
  • 3rd Place Faculty, Empirical, FHSU Scholarly and Creative Activities Day - 2016
  • 2nd Place Faculty, Empirical, FHSU Scholarly and Creative Activities Day - 2015
  • Outstanding Student Award, Association for Women Geoscientists Laramide Chapter - 2011
  • W. O. Thompson Award in Research, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado - 2008

 

 

Grants Received

 

  • The Dane G. Hansen Foundation [2017] Project Title: Fossil Preparation Lab at the Sternberg Museum [$81,000 match; $165,000 total funds]

Professional Memberships

  • Association of Women Geoscientists
  • Geological Society of America
  • Society for Sedimentary Geology
  • Society of Vertebrate Paleontology

Service and Scholarly Activities

  • FHSU: I currently serve on the NOYCE scholarship advisory committee and am working to help revise the Kansas state teacher education standards. In 2015 I joined the Honors College Steering Committee and sit on the Nationally Competitive Scholarships subcommittee. I serve on the FHSU Undergraduate Research and Graduate Research Experience committees. Within the Werth College of Science, Technology, and Mathematics and Geosciences, I am the faculty advisor for the Women in STEM club and am a member of the department scholarship committee.
  • Professional: I am a frequent reviewer of scientific research articles for various paleontology journals and an active member of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. I am Review Editor in Paleontology for Frontiers Journal.
  • Community: I assist in educational outreach through the Department of Geosciences and Sternberg Museum to reach community members of all ages. I give talks to groups throughout the community (e.g. Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis Club), lead museum tours and field trips, and deliver public lectures to local, amateur, and professional audiences.
  • Scholarly: In 2017 I served as a Kansas Academy of Math and Science Camp Professor at Life in Prehistoric Kansas camp. I was a participant in Advancing Undergraduate Research at the Council on Undergraduate Research (biennial conference) in 2016. In 2014 I was a participant in Transforming STEM Higher Education at AAC&U. I also was a participant in the Summit on the Future of Undergraduate Geoscience Education at Jackson School of Geosciences, National Science Foundation.

Current Research

Ongoing research projects include the study of the paleobiology and paleoecology of a group of flightless seabirds from the Late Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway of North America called hesperornithiforms. I study aspects of their body size evolution, functional morphology, the role in ecosystems along the seaway, and bone growth dynamics. I am particularly interested in the application of bone histology analyses to these birds to study the effects of climate and behavior on their growth patterns. Part of my research with hesperornithiforms has led me to working with modern penguins as an ecological analog. Consequently, I also study modern penguin bone histology to look at the effects of climate and migration on bone growth patterns. Current studies focus on pygoscelid penguins (Adelies, Chinstraps, and Gentoos), but I hope to expand my research and analyses to other penguin taxa.

While hesperornithiform birds have been a focus, I am also interested in the ecology of the Western Interior System as a whole system. What were the oceanographic factors that were influencing the distribution of organisms and environments along the Seaway? How did ecosystem structure differ between high and mid latitude regions? How were the Cretaceous inland seas different from the oceans that characterize Earth today?

Previous research has included taphonomic analyses and paleoecological reconstructions of Late Cretaceous terrestrial environments. Terrestrial and marine taphonomy remains an interest and I hope to develop new and continuing research projects with students and colleagues.

Personal Interests

For more information about ongoing research projects and student opportunities in my paleontology program, please visit my Personal/Research Group Website.

Additional Resources

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