Citations
 

The Gilbert Harris Award

2003 Carole Hickman
2004 LouElla Saul
2005 Robert J. Elias

2007 J.Thomas Dutro Jr.

     


The Katherine Palmer Award

1995 Lelia and Bill Brayfield

There are many fossil hunters, professional and amateur, in the State of Florida. But there are few who are the equals to the two people we honor here today.

Bill and Lelia Brayfield came to Florida from the midwest in the 1950's. Lelia had run her own auto parts business and Bill had been a surveyor and real estate salesman. They met while working at the same drugstore in Venice, Florida in 1964. Their first date was to the famous shark tooth locality along Venice Beach where they spent the day collecting the small but beautiful shark teeth. They found that they enjoyed fossil hunting and each other so much that they married in 1969 and have been together ever since.

Primarily because of the excellent fossil collecting, in 1972 Lelia and Bill moved to the tiny town of El Jobean, which is located in the middle of an area riddled with canals dug by the now-defunct General Development Corporation. The spoil piles along the banks of these canals were littered with fossils, both vertebrate and invertebrate, and they accumulated a collection of more than 10,000 cataloged specimens.

So extensive were their collections that in 1977, with the assistance of the Royal Ontario Museum and its curator Gordon Edmund, the Brayfields build a 24x24' building on the back of their property. The Brayfield Research Lab has since served as a place to clean, catalog, store, study, and display their growing collections. Since 1985 alone, the Lab has been visited by more than 400 amateur and professional paleontologists from more than a dozen countries.

Perhaps the most spectacular and significant Brayfield fossil find was made in 1986 when in a quarry not far from their home, Lelia unearthed a large slab containing hundreds of complete sea stars of the species Helianthus microbrachius. Not only are sea stars in general relatively rare fossils, but this Pliocene discovery turned out to be the first record of the group outside the eastern Pacific and so has considerable importance for studies of the biogeographic consequences of the formation of the Central American Isthmus. Most of the specimens were deposited in the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, and a paper describing the find was published in 19xx by Museum scientists with ample acknowledgement of their debt to the Brayfields for bringing this extraordinary find to the attention of the scientific community.

Over the years, the Brayfields have donated important specimens to other institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, the Royal Ontario Museum, the University of South Florida, and Notre Dame University.

In 1986 the Brayfields wrote and printed a highly successful book entitled, "A guide for identifying Florida fossil shells and other invertebrates". Now in its third edition with nearly 5000 copies sold, this book fills a unique niche as an accurate and user-friendly introduction to Florida's spectacular Plio-Pleistocene fossil shell beds. In 1993, Bill and Lelia donated the copyright of their book to the Florida Paleontological Society, with all proceeds to be used to help publish additonal works.

The Brayfields are frequent lecturers to schools, fossil clubs, scout groups and libraries. They were co-founders of the Southwest Florida Fossil Club, and were the 1990 Howard Converse Award, given by the Florida Paleontological Society to the state's outstanding amateur fossil collector. Their lives are an excellent example of the contributions that non-professional paleontologists can make to our understanding of the history of life on earth, and of the importance and value of a close relationship between non-professional and professional paleontologists in the search for that understanding. These were strongly held beliefs of Katherine Palmer's, the second Director of the Paleontological Research Institution, and so it is with great pleasure, in this the 100th year since her birth, that the Paleontological Research Institution presents its third annual Katherine Palmer Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to the science by a non-professional to Lelia and Bill Brayfield


1998 Gerald Gunderson


Each year at this time, the Paleontological Research Institution is proud to recognize a non-professional for their contributions to paleontology. We are especially grateful to MAPS for providing us with this very special opportunity.

The Paleontological Research Institution is a natural history museum located in Ithaca, New York. We house one of the nation’s largest fossil collections, publish the oldest paleontological journal in the Western Hemisphere, and provide educational programs to thousands of people, in the northeastern U.S. and beyond. Like all natural history museums, we depend on the support and involvement of volunteers and other members of the general public. We especially value our interaction with non-professional paleontologists. The Institution, in fact, was established by Gilbert Harris in 1932 as a place where paleontologists with no other affiliation could come to work and study, and it was largely operated by non-professionals for much of its history. Each year, we recognize an individual who is not a professional paleontologist for the excellence of their contributions to the field. This award is named for our second Director, Katherine Palmer, who was an avid supporter of amateur paleontology.

Jerry Gunderson is a middle school teacher in Middleton, Wisconsin, and he has been described as the “consumate professional non-professional paleontologist”. He has been finding fossils for over 50 years and is widely regarded as an expert on the Cambrian of Wisconsin. As these deposits yield few complete specimens of any taxon, this dedication is especially impressive, yet Jerry has persisted where others have given up. He knows that the secret of finding fossils is to look at a lot of rock, and his physical stamina for digging out huge slabs, and patience for pulling them apart, are said to be unparalleled. He has a deep love of and interest in science, which have made his career as a teacher so appropriate and successful. They have also meant that his specimens are collected with careful attention to data on stratigraphic horizon and locality. His main collection is fully computerized, putting him well ahead of many museums! He has donated large numbers of specimens to institutions, including the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History. Perhaps most importantly, Jerry has taken numerous graduate students and professionals into the field and generously provided them with specimens and information, thereby making their research possible.

In the early 1980’s, Jerry and his friend Ron Meyer discovered fossils of soft-bodied organisms in the Silurian Brandon Bridge Formation near Milwaukee. They informed professionals soon after their discovery, and were responsible for getting Derek Briggs, an expert on the soft-bodied fossils of the famous Burgess Shale from the University of Bristol in Britain, involved in the project. Together with Derek, Don Mikulic, and Joanne Klussendorf of the University of Illinois, they excavated hundreds of specimens from the site, which have been deposited in the collections of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. This fauna has been described as one of the most important Silurian fossil deposits ever discovered.

Although Jerry’s primary love is collecting, he has also authored several papers in the paleontological literature, including a 1993 sole authored publication in which he described a new genus of late Cambrian gastropod from Wisconsin. The type specimens were deposited in the collections of the Cincinatti Museum of Natural History. He has also had a fossil named after him, the Cambrian trace fossil Raaschichnus gundersoni.
For his dedication, achievement, and excellence in paleontology, the Paleontological Research Institution is pleased to present its 1998 Katherine Palmer Award to Gerald Gunderson.


1999 William F. Klose II

Each year at this time, the Paleontological Research Institution is proud to recognize a non-professional for their contributions to paleontology. We are especially grateful to MAPS for providing us with this very special opportunity.

The Paleontological Research Institution is a natural history museum located in Ithaca, New York. We house one of the nation’s largest fossil collections, publish the oldest paleontological journal in the Western Hemisphere, and provide educational programs to thousands of people, in the northeastern U.S. and beyond. Like all natural history museums, we depend on the support and involvement of volunteers and other members of the general public. We especially value our interaction with non-professional paleontologists. The Institution, in fact, was established by Gilbert Harris in 1932 as a place where paleontologists with no other affiliation could come to work and study, and it was largely operated by non-professionals for much of its history. Each year, we recognize an individual who is not a professional paleontologist for the excellence of their contributions to the field. This award is named for our second Director, Katherine Palmer, who was an avid supporter of amateur paleontology.

Bill Klose has spent the past 50 years collecting and identifying fossils from all over the world, and selflessly donating enormous quantities of specimens to scientific institutions. Bill started colleting in the summer of 1950 during a vacation trip to Oregon. Initially he focused on minerals. The shift to fossil collecting was gradual, between 1950 and 1956, during the time he lived in San Mateo County, California. In 1957, Bill joined the Navy, which was to take him to many places over the next decade. All the while, he collected fossils. From 1959 to 1963 he attended Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, majoring in Geology. From 1970 to 1997 he worked for Proctor and Gamble in Pennsylvania.

In 1976, Bill began to donate specimens. Since that time, he has donated an estimated 40,000 specimens to the Paleontological Research Institution. As recently as last week, he is still brining them to Ithaca by the car load, usually claiming that he has just “discovered” more boxes in his basement. These remarkably well-curated collections span all kingdoms and phyla and ages. Of particular note among these treasures is an enormous collection of graptolites from the Ordovician of New York, which is among the finest anywhere. Bill has been particularly generous in acquiring specimens for the Institution that we could otherwise never have been able to obtain. He has also donated tens of thousands of specimens of fossil plants -- almost all self-collected -- to the Pennsylvania State Museum. Since his retirement in 1997, Bill has also been an active volunteer in the collections departments of several institutions, including PRI, the Pennsylvania State Museum, the Reading Public Museum, and the Everhard Museum.

Perhaps the best summary we can give of Bill and his extraordinary generosity is that he loves fossils with a great passion, and he loves to share them with others. We have all benefitted from that love, and generations of visitors to several museums will go on benefitting for many years to come.

For his dedication, achievement, and excellence in paleontology, the Paleontological Research Institution is pleased to present its 1999 Katherine Palmer Award to William F. Klose II.


2000 John A. Catalani

John Catalani has spent most of his free time over the past 30 years studying, collecting, and telling people about Ordovician nautiloids in Illinois and Wisconsin, and it is no exaggeration to say that he has become one of the foremost authorities on this group in this period.

John received his bachelor of science degree from Illinois State University, and his master of science degree in Earth science education from Indiana State University. Since 1972, he has been a teacher at South High School in Downers Grove, Illinois, where he has shared his enthusiasm for and love of fossils with more than a generation of students. In 1982, John had an opportunity to volunteer at the Field Museum in Chicago with the great paleontologist of the Mazon Creek, Eugene Richardson. The experience gained with Dr. Richardson had a great impact on John – he learned paleontology from one of the masters and he still talks about it today. John has published in the professional literature on Ordovician cephalopods and has donated specimens to several institutions, including a spectacular four foot nautiloid from Wisconsin to PRI last year.

Since 1985, John has written a quarterly column called “An Amateur’s Perspective” for PRI’s magazine, American Paleontologist. His topics have ranged from “evolution and the Pope” to fossil collecting on public lands to the nature of science education. He never shies away from stating his opinion, yet throughout every essay we can clearly see not only his keen scientific skills but also his profound appreciation for the science of paleontology and how it is done and what it means to all of us.

For his dedication, achievement, and excellence in paleontology, the Paleontological Research Institution is pleased to present its 2000 Katherine Palmer Award to John A. Catalani.


2001 Joe Kchodl

Joe Kchodl began to develop his fossil collection and subsequent search for knowledge as a boy growing up in the fossil-rich Niagara Falls area. Following his graduation from Niagara University with a degree in Education in 1979, he assembled a collection of marine invertebrates from the Niagara Frontier and donated it to the Schoelkopf Geological Museum in Niagara Falls. After serving in the military, he resumed collecting, this time specializing in trilobites.
           
In 1993, Joe moved to Midland, Michigan where he continued to collect, and began his significant involvement in informal science education in paleontology. He started by speaking to elementary and secondary classes and other groups on fossils. The character he created for these programs, PaleoJoe, has become a recognized personality in the community. He developed a program called Family Fossil Fun for the Midland Community Center and then developed it into an ongoing TV series called "Fossil Fun" on the local Midland City Television channel. In 1999 Joe was honored as a finalist in the Philo T. Farnsworth Video Competition for an episode of that series. For the past two years PaleoJoe has given special instruction in fossils to more than 1600 school children each March at the Hall of Ideas of the Midland Center for the Arts. Meeting state science requirements and giving enrichment opportunities to teachers and their students is a goal of the Hall’s science outreach program of which PaleoJoe has now become a major component. Recently Joe developed the idea for trilobite and fossil trading cards, which are given free to local children when they visit the Hall of Ideas museum or when PaleoJoe visits schools. It is a 16-card series with plans for a second set in 2002.
           
Joe’s large personal trilobite collection has also become well-known as an educational resource. His exhibit, entitled “Trilobites Treasures: arthropods of ancient seas” recently ran for four months at the Hall of Ideas where he also mounts a monthly exhibit of fossils.
        
Joe has produced a two-part video on the famous trilobites and other fossils of Caleb's
quarry in Middleport, New York. He helped produce a three-part video series with Drs. Tomaz Baumeiller, Gregg Gunnell and Bill Sanders from the University of Michigan on fossil collecting and preparation. In the early 1990's he participated in field work in the Czech Republic, where he met Dr. Radvan Horny of the Czech National Museum. Joe donated tools and equipment to the museum.
           
Joe’s enthusiasm for paleontology is infectious. His commitment to teaching is obvious. His generosity in sharing his discoveries with professionals and non-professionals alike is a model for others.
           
It is with great pleasure that the Paleontological Research Institution presents its 2001 Katherine Palmer Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to the science by a non-professional to Joe Kchodl.

           
2002 Jim and Sylvia Konecny

Jim and Sylvia Konecny of Prescott, Arizona got interested in fossils after taking a class in rock and mineral identification at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. They joined the Earth Sciences Club of Northern Illinois in 1960, and their first field trip not long afterwards was to the strip coal mines of the Mazon Creek area in northern Illinois. For more than 40 years, they have been regular visitors to the mines, amassing an enormous personal collection, focused especially on Mazon Creek fossils.
           
In addition to their spectacular collections, Jim and Sylvia are especially proud of their work in educating the public about fossils. They give regular presentations to community organizations, scout troops, and school classes. They also regularly host school field trips to their house to see their impressive “mini-museum”. They have had displays of their fossils at local libraries and schools, and have also donated specimens to area schools.
           
The Konecnys have over the years generously donated hundreds of specimens to the Field Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Institution, Princeton University, Eastern Illinois University, Western Illinois University, Northeastern Illinois University, UCLA, the Museum of Northern Arizona, the Geological Survey of the Czech Republic, the Auckland Museum in New Zealand, and the Paleontological Research Institution.
           
The Konecny’s enthusiasm for paleontology is obvious and infectious. Their generosity in sharing his discoveries with professionals and non-professionals alike is a model for others.
           
It is with great pleasure that the Paleontological Research Institution presents its 2002 Katherine Palmer Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to the science by a non-professional to Jim and Sylvia Konecny.


2003 Jay Tinker


            Jay Tinker grew up playing with Devonian fossils along Grout Brook in Scott, NY. He attended Houghton College and received a BA in Mathematics with a minor in Earth Sciences in 1981. During the 1980’s he volunteered in local schools, showing the kids New York State fossils and while volunteering at a church summer camp, he lead may fossil hikes so the kids could fill their suitcases with rocks to take home. In the early 1990’s, he began taking his own children on PRI Field Trips and soon he and his entire family became committed and loyal PRI volunteers. Jay has done almost everything at PRI, from working 14 hour shifts at our exhibit at the New York State Fair, to driving our T. rex skull cast around to rock shows and helping with the Hyde Park mastodon excavation. He has continued his work in local schools, from the 4 year olds in Head Start up through college geology clubs.  He has own traveling teaching collection that he uses for these programs.
            The Tinker family has amassed a magnificent fossil collection, mostly from one extraordinary Devonian site in their hometown of Tully, NY. Since the 1990’s they have donated hundreds of fine and rare specimens from this site to PRI, including several type specimens. Currently Jay is the President of the Syracuse Gem and Mineral Society.  He is the first paleontologically-oriented President of this organization in recent memory and is actively trying to convert all the members into fossil collectors.
            It is with great pleasure that the Paleontological Research Institution presents its 2003 Katherine Palmer Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to the science by a non-professional to Jay Tinker.


2004 Paul Krohn and Wayne Meyers

Each year at this time, the Paleontological Research Institution is proud to recognize in a formal way non-professionals for their contributions to paleontology. We are especially grateful to MAPS for providing us with this very special opportunity.
           
The Paleontological Research Institution is a natural history museum located in Ithaca, New York. We house one of the nation’s largest fossil collections, publish the oldest paleontological journal in the Western Hemisphere, and provide educational programs to thousands of people, in the northeastern U.S. and beyond. In 2003, we opened the Museum of the Earth, a major new natural history exhibit facility. Like all natural history museums, we depend on the support and involvement of volunteers and other members of the general public. We especially value our interaction with non-professional paleontologists. The Institution, in fact, was established by Gilbert Harris in 1932 as a place where paleontologists with no other affiliation could come to work and study, and it was largely operated by non-professionals for much of its history. Each year, we recognize an individual who is not a professional paleontologist for the excellence of their contributions to the field. This award is named for PRI’s second Director, Katherine Palmer, who was an avid supporter of amateur paleontology. We are particularly pleased this year to present the award to two individuals who have accomplished great things apart and together in this respect.
           
Wayne Meyers grew up in south central upstate New York and he received a degree in Animal Science at Cornell. For the past 32 years, he has worked for Jim Ray Mobile Homes in Newfield, New York, near Ithaca in service, setups, and water supply systems. Wayne has always had an interest in rocks, mainly for construction, using them mainly in landscaping and walls around his home. In the spring of 2002, while plowing his back yard for a new landscaping project, Wayne found a large piece of siltstone with several large fossil glass sponges (Uphantania chemungensis).  The Devonian glass sponges of central New York are famous around the world for their size and beautiful preservation, but they have become very scarce since the nineteenth century. Wayne donated the piece to PRI where it was an important addition to our large collection of Devonian sponges. Later that year, he and Paul Krohn uncovered a much larger slab – probably the one from which this first piece came. This rock is a spectacular pavement measuring more than four by four feet, containing scores of magnificent circular glass sponges. It is one of the most impressive finds of this form ever discovered. Wayne and Paul then worked to build an impressive exhibit for the slab in Wayne’s yard, complete with custom glass-covered display case and interpretive labels. The day the exhibit opened to the public on May 24, 2003, more than 500 people came to see it even though it was pouring rain.
           
Wayne’s property has recently been added to the Garden Directory sponsored by the National Garden Conservancy. Wayne has had an interest in gardening since he was a child, growing and selling pumpkins and other vegetables at a roadside stand to help pay his way through college.  The grounds also contain a large number of perennial plantings and the restoration of an old mill, which existed on the property until the 1930s.  The mill is set up as a museum, complete with real mill equipment, which was donated by Wayne's boss.  People are welcome to visit his property, the fossil, and the mill museum. Wayne has lived on the property since 1959, when his parents purchased the homestead.
          
Paul Krohn grew up in western New York State, near Buffalo. He studied geology at the University of Buffalo, but then left school to work in manufacturing for many years. During this time, he began to build a substantial personal fossil collection, focused mostly on the spectacular Devonian fossils of western and central New York. In 1997, Paul picked up and moved to Ithaca to begin volunteering at PRI. Eventually, we found funds to pay him, and for the next four and a half years, Paul was an integral part of the PRI staff, serving first as Collections Assistant, then as acting Collections Manager, and finally as Collections Manager. He oversaw numerous important improvements in the collections, and added thousands of specimens through continued fieldwork in the Devonian of New York, as well as a newfound favorite hunting area, Maryland’s Calvert Cliffs. Paul left PRI In 2002 to return to to manufacturing, but he continues to collect, to donate specimens to PRI, and was a crucial partner to Wayne in bringing the giant glass sponge slab to the public in this unique way.
           
It is with great pleasure that the Paleontological Research Institution presents its 2004 Katherine Palmer Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to the science by non-professionals to Wayne Meyers and Paul Krohn.


The Gilbert Harris Award

2003 Carole Hickman

It is with pleasure and honor that the Paleontological Research Institution presents its 2003 Gilbert Harris Award to Carole S. Hickman.

The Harris Award is presented annually by PRI in recognition of excellence in contributions to systematic paleontology, to a scientist who, through outstanding research and commitment to the centrality of systematics in paleontology, has made a significant contribution to the science.

Carole was born in LaSalle, Illinois. Her parents and teachers had encouraged her to become an artist because of her love of drawing, but she chose to study science because she wanted to understand the origins and utility of patterns, in addition to its aesthetics. She received her BA from Oberlin College in 1964 and went on to the University of Oregon for her Masters, where she became acquainted with Paleogene mollusks that were to occupy so much of her life for the next decade. She went on to produce two major monographs on Oregon Paleogene gastropods, in 1976 and 1980, both of which were published by PRI. She moved on from Oregon to Stanford, where she was among the last students of the great Myra Keen, and received her PhD from Stanford in 1975. She soon moved to Berkeley where she is now Professor of Integrative Biology.

Since then, Carole has been among the most creative of gastropod researchers. Although she describes herself as simply a morphologist, her research and writing has covered the range from ecology to taphonomy to anatomy to evolution, from protoconchs to radulae. Over the past decade she has devoted particular attention to the evolution and ecology of gastropod larvae, especially the larval shell. Her research is driven not just by the pursuit of understanding, but also by a deep aesthetic appreciation, and this is often reflected in her writing.


2004 LouElla Saul

It is with pleasure and honor that the Paleontological Research Institution presents its 2004 Gilbert Harris Award to LouElla R. Saul.

The Harris Award is presented annually by PRI in recognition of excellence in contributions to systematic paleontology, to a scientist who, through outstanding research and commitment to the centrality of systematics in paleontology, has made a significant contribution to the science.

LouElla Saul received her BA in music from UCLA in 1947, and her MA in geology from UCLA in 1959. She became manager of the UCLA Invertebrate Paleontology and the Recent mollusk collections in 1965, and did so until they were transferred to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in 1985. She was collections manager in Invertebrate Paleontology at the LACM until 1993 when massive staff cuts forced her to become an unpaid Research Associate. Undaunted, her molluscan research not only continued but accelerated.

LouElla is a specialist in Cretaceous and Paleogene mollusks, and she has published more than 50 papers on them since 1959. She has published more than 30 papers, including several large monographs, just since 1992.

Her work is characterized by its taxonomic breadth and its careful attention to detail. She has written papers on a wide array of gastropod and bivalve groups, as well as a few ammonoids, from both biostratigraphic and paleobiological perspectives. In many cases, she works on groups (like unornamented bivalves or gastropods) that others have ignored because they are so difficult to decipher.  One of her specialities is the meticulous cleaning of specimens that most people would never bother with; yet, these cleaned specimens pay off in the information they provide.  She often spends enormous amounts of time cleaning hinges and apertures, looking for diagnostic characters. Most of her work has been on the abundant and diverse faunas of California, but she has also worked on material from Mexico, Antarctica, Oregon, Washington, North Carolina, and British Columbia. She has paid particular attention to the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, and conducted some of the very few phylogenetic studies of mollusk lineages across this mass extinction.

LouElla is also known for unselfishly and patiently helping others, both professionals and amateurs, by providing help in the cleaning or identification of specimens. Representative is her recent co-authoring of a paper on Eocene echinoids with a friend who was ill but who needed to write up her findings.  The friend died last month, but LouElla will see that the paper gets finished. She also frequently spends time introducing school children and community groups to the fun and scientific adventure of collecting fossils.


2005 Robert J. Elias

It is with pleasure and honor that the Paleontological Research Institution presents its 2005 Gilbert Harris Award to Robert J. Elias.

The Harris Award is presented annually by PRI in recognition of excellence in contributions to systematic paleontology, to a scientist who, through outstanding research and commitment to the centrality of systematics in paleontology, has made a significant contribution to the science.

Bob received his PhD from the University of Cincinnati in 1979. He moved to the University of Manitoba in xxxx, where he is now Professor.

Since then he has pursued a multi-faceted research program on coral faunas and environmental change during the Ordovician evolutionary radiation, mass extinction, and Early Silurian recovery. His research deals with some of the most significant events in Earth history. His analyses of the patterns and processes involved in these events are being integrated with broadly based studies on all aspects and applications of fossil corals.

Specifically, his work includes establishment of a sound taxonomic framework on which to base the other areas of study. In this he has published numerous studies on Ordovician and Silurian corals, several of which have been published in Bulletins of American Paleontology.

His work also includes development of innovative methods in the study of coral paleobiology, and their application to taxonomy, paleoecology, and evolution, including innovative application of biometrics, and studies of variation, growth, and form.

His work includes development of paleobiologic, paleoecologic, and taphonomic models for paleoenvironmental reconstruction and basin analysis. His integrated approach to paleoenvironmental reconstruction based on entire coral faunas permits more precise interpretations of paleoenvironments, on both local and basinal scales.

His work includes recognition of evolution and extinction events, and their relation to biogeography, paleoceanographic/climatic conditions, eustacy, and basin history.

Bob is also interested in applying his paleontological work to the solution of current global problems. The knowledge and ideas resulting from this research program on early coral faunas are necessary for global paleogeographic, paleoceanographic, and paleoenvironmental reconstruction, intercontinental stratigraphic correlation, and determination of patterns and processes in the history of life.

He has worked on latest Ordovician to earliest Silurian post-extinction and recovery coral faunas in the cratonic interior of North America. Monographic studies in the east-central United States have provided the first comprehensive database on an entire coral fauna during this critical time. His colleague Graham Young and he recently completed an analysis of the diversity, paleoecology, and provincial structure. They proposed that changes in nutrient levels and environmental stability, related to sea-level changes, were important causal factors in the mass extinction and recovery. They are now investigating relationships between environmental parameters and morphologic/paleoecologic trends in post-extinction rugose corals. A comparative study of the paleoecologic/taxonomic organization in pre-extinction, post- extinction, and recovery coral faunas is also underway.

Bob is also working on Late Ordovician to earliest Silurian rugose corals on the eastern margin of North America. The world's most complete, coral-bearing succession across the Ordovician-Silurian boundary occurs on Anticosti Island, Quebec.

He has also worked on Late Ordovician pre-extinction coral faunas in the cratonic interior of North America. Patterns in the evolution and biogeography of solitary corals have been related to major transgressive-regressive cycles and paleoceanographic parameters. Graham Young and he are adding data on colonial corals, to permit a more comprehensive analysis of faunas that existed prior to the mass extinction. Ongoing studies of coral distribution, paleoecology, and community structure contribute to an understanding of biotic response to environmental change.

In the late 1990s while working on Late Ordovician-Early Silurian archipelago with rocky shorelines in the cratonic interior of North America, Bob was part of the team that discovered and described the world’s largest trilobite in the Ordovician on the modern shore of Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba.

2006 J. Thomas Dutro Jr.

Tom Dutro was born on May 20, 1923 in Columbus, Ohio, and was raised in Marysville, Ohio.  He entered Oberlin College in 1940.  World War II cut short his college studies, and in the winter of 1942-43 the U.S. Army Air Force was training him in meteorology at Denison University.  He spent the rest of his Army career in western Greenland as a weatherman concerned with North Atlantic shipping and airplanes.  The Germans had meteorological stations in eastern Greenland and Tom has some great stories about dueling weather stations.  He was discharged and returned home in early 1946. 

In the fall of 1946 Tom was back at Oberlin where he met Nancy and they formed a life-long partnership that same year.  Tom and Nancy were graduated in 1948, but Tom regards himself as a member of the Class of 1945.  The Dutros then went to Yale University where Tom received his Ph.D. in 1953.  In 1993, Tom received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Denison.

Tom Dutro began working part-time for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in the summer of 1948 in the Potash Project in Carlsbad, New Mexico.  While at Yale, he received a career appointment with the USGS and worked in the Navy Oil Program in northern Alaska from 1949-1956.  Tom became part of Preston Cloud's "flock" when he joined the USGS Paleontology and Stratigraphy Branch (P&S) in 1956. He retired from the Branch in 1994.  Among other administrative jobs for the USGS, he served as the Chief of the P&S Branch from 1962-68 (JP had the good fortune of being hired by Tom in 1963), member of the Geology Panel of the Board of Civil Service Examiners from 1958-1965, and was on the Geologic Names Committee from 1962-1983.      

Since retirement, Tom has stayed active as a Scientist Emeritus with the USGS and a Research Associate with the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), and he continues to mentor students in brachiopod and biostratigraphic studies.         

Tom is a foremost authority on late Paleozoic brachiopods and biostratigraphy.  He has applied this knowledge in Alaska, throughout the western U.S.A., in the Appalachians, and, most recently, in East Asia and the western Pacific.  Tom Dutro has participated in a number of international congresses and commissions whose purposes have been to establish worldwide stratigraphic standards for the Carboniferous and Permian systems.  He has done extensive fieldwork throughout the world and has spent many summers of his career in the Brooks Range of northern Alaska providing ground truth for many geologic maps.

Among his more than 200 published papers are many beautiful examples of how systematic work in paleontology meshes seamlessly with and crucially informs the world of geology.  His careful work is well known for its identification of new taxa and clarification of established genera and species; for the accompanying care he devotes to curation of collections, especially the brachiopods at the NMNH; and for his application of systematic paleontology to projects such as geological mapping, assessing the validity of exotic terranes, and correlation of economically important formations.  As examples, Tom has been involved in paleobiogeographic syntheses using large early Carboniferous productoid brachiopods from the tectonic fragments in western North America; studies of Permian brachiopod faunas from northern Alaska; biostratigraphic syntheses of tectonic basins in 11 countries in east Asia from Japan in the north to Papua New Guinea in the south; regional geologic studies in Washington State, West Virginia, and the Ozarks; and analyses of Carboniferous brachiopods from northern Chile, northwest Argentina, and Peru.

During his 60+ year career, Tom has served as Secretary-Treasurer of the American Geological Institute; Associate Editor of the Bulletin of the Geological Society of America; Chair of the Geological Society's History of Science Division; President, and Executive Committee Member, of the Pacific Division, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and Chair of the Earth Sciences Section; President of the Geological and Paleontological Societies of Washington; and President of the Association of Earth Science Editors. 

Tom received the U.S. Department of the Interior Meritorious Service Award in 1983 and the Distinguished Service Award in 1996.  The J. Thomas Dutro, Jr. Award for Excellence in the Geosciences is presented annually by the Pacific Division of the AAAS to a student whose presentation is judged to be the most significant in the advancement or understanding of geosciences.

Tom's long association with the Paleontological Research Institution began when he joined the PRI Board of Trustees in 1984.  He served as President from 1992 to 1994.  He and Nancy edited many of the recent numbers of the Bulletins of American Paleontology, the oldest continuously published journal for paleontology in North America.  Tom is one of the PRI's most passionate and generous supporters.

It is with great pleasure, honor, and esteem that the Paleontological Research Institution presents its 2007 Gilbert Harris Award to John Thomas Dutro, Jr.

Click here to read J. Thomas Dutro, Jr.'s letter of acceptance

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