2012-2013 Science Planning Summaries
U.S. Antarctic Program - Science Support Section United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
Late Cretaceous-Paleogene vertebrates from Antarctica: Implications for paleobiogeography, paleoenvironment, and extinction in Polar Gondwana

Program Manager:
Dr. Thomas Wilch


ASC POC/Implementer:
Addie Coyac / Cara Ferrier

Dr. Matthew Lamanna (Principal Investigator)

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Supporting Stations:  Special Project
Research Locations:  James Ross, Vega, Seymour and Snow Hill Islands

Project Description:
This project will locate and collect vertebrate fossils (primarily those of fish, marine reptiles, non-avian dinosaurs, birds, and mammals) in late Cretaceous through Paleogene deposits on islands in the James Ross Island Group in the Antarctic Peninsula. Material recovered will have implications for understanding the role of the Antarctic Peninsula in the dispersal of vertebrates between West Antarctica and southernmost South America at the end of the Mesozoic and the beginning of the Cenozoic eras. Depending on the specific discoveries made, significant new light may be shed on the evolution, faunal dynamics, and/or paleobiogeography of such important vertebrate groups as non-avian dinosaurs, crown clade birds and therian mammals in the critical interval that brackets the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. Geological (i.e., stratigraphic, sedimentological, geochronological, and taphonomic) and paleobotanical work is also planned to place vertebrate finds into accurate and detailed temporal and paleoenvironmental contexts.

Field Season Overview:
Participants will embark the ARSV Laurence M. Gould (LMG) in Punta Arenas, Chile. With camp and field gear, and a contract camp supervisor, they will spend three-to-four weeks on several islands in the James Ross Island Group at the northeastern extremity of the Antarctic Peninsula. The LMG will support one camp move to another island in each year. Work will take place on or near the coasts of the islands. Collected fossils, screened concentrates, and/or geologic samples will be returned to the home institutions for analysis.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Kerin Claeson (Co-PI)
  • Julia Clarke (Co-PI)
  • Zubair Jinnah (Co-PI)
  • Matthew Lamanna (PI)
  • Ross MacPhee (Co-PI)
  • Patrick O'Connor (Co-PI)
  • Steven Salisbury (Co-PI)

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Curator: Esther L. Hill PhD, Antarctic Support Contract   |   NSF Official: Alexandra Isern, Office of Polar Programs