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Presenter: Dr. David Moss, Sam Houston State University

Recent advances in the field of sclerochronology, the study of accretionary hard parts in marine organisms, have provided fascinating insights into questions of longevity. Modern bivalves are some of the longest-lived organisms on the planet, with several species reaching lifespans in excess of 100 years, and one, Arctica islandica, over 500 years. A recent study documented a latitudinal gradient whereby tropical bivalves tend to be much shorter lived and faster growing than their high latitude counterparts. Such a strong pattern suggests some role for the environment in promoting extreme longevity. While much is known about life histories of modern bivalves, little is known about fossil species. Is there a similar latitudinal gradient in the fossil record and what implications might that have for other fundamental biological patterns? How has it changed through geologic time? The shells of fossil bivalves may hold the answer to these and other intriguing questions. In this talk I will explore the ways sclerochronlogical techniques can help advance the field of paleontology.

Dr. David Moss is an Assistant Professor of Geology at Sam Houston State University who specializes in paleontology. He teaches courses in Historical Geology, Sedimentology, Oceanography, and Paleontology. His research lies at the intersection of paleontology and sclerochronlogy (the study of accretionary hard parts in marine organisms), with the goal of better understanding of the so-called “pageant of life” has unfolded throughout Earth’s history. To do this, he examines variations in lifespan and growth rates of modern and fossil bivalves to answer evolutionary questions.


  • 5:00-5:15 p.m. Gather and Networking
  • 5:15-6:15 p.m. Presentation and Q&A
  • 6:15-7:30 p.m. More Networking, pupus


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