Fran Meyer

Tempo of Cooling through the Middle Ordovician Using 18Ophosphate from Conodont Elements

The paleoclimate of the Ordovician period (485 to 444 million years ago) is of particular interest to geologists and paleontologists because of a great biodiversification event followed by a mass extinction associated with a global glaciation. To answer why there was such a drastic change in climate, we must first understand when these trends began. While it is well-established that the beginning of the period was characterized by a warm climate and the end of the period by a major glaciation, the trajectory of cooling is poorly known. For this project, I will be adding constraints to the 18O curve for the Middle Ordovician. By using 18Ophosphate from conodont elements in Ordovician limestones, I will interpret trends in seawater temperature at the time. By focusing on the Middle Ordovician, I will provide a better understanding of how the climate changed throughout the period which is essential for evaluating hypotheses of what caused the glaciation.

Message to Sponsor

I would like to thank the Anselm M&PS fund for making my research with the SURF program possible. This summer gave me a new appreciation for all of the work and science that has been done before me: the scientists who discovered the relationship between isotopes and temperature; the first person to extract conodont fossils from a rock; and the researchers who have already devoted so much time to the Ordovician paleoclimate. This experience also taught me about self progress and how to feel confident in my own work. Independent research was intimidating to me at first, but this program helped me create my own goals to accomplish. My summer with the SURF program has helped me realize that I want to pursue a PhD in geology and continue to discover more about our planets dynamic past.
  • Major: Geology
  • Sponsor: Anselm Fund
  • Mentor: Nicholas Swanson-Hysell