Dr. Robert M. Ross

Robert M. Ross
Associate Director for Outreach



B.S., Geological Sciences, 1984, Case Western Reserve University

Ph.D., Earth and Planetary Sciences, 1990, Harvard University


Dr. Ross is the Associate Director for Outreach (education and exhibits) at the Paleontological Research Institution and its Museum of the Earth. Rob received his B.S. in Geological Sciences from Case Western Reserve University and a Ph.D. in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences from Harvard University. He spent two years as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Kiel in Germany and four years in the Faculty of Science at Shizuoka University in Japan before coming to PRI in 1997. At PRI he is responsible for the education and exhibits programs and oversees a wide variety of grant-funded projects.

Research Focus

Dr. Ross's primary scientific research interests include Paleontology, sedimentology, paleoceanography. He focuses on the diversification and distribution of life in the context of interactions of climate, ocean, and tectonic dynamics, e.g., using late Cenozoic ostracodes from the Indo-Pacific. Additionally, he studies the influence of biotas upon aquatic chemistry, climate, and sedimentation, e.g., using computer simulation of coastal ecosystems and field/experimental studies of animal-sediment relationships. Finally, he researches the nature of faunal taxonomic change through time and space, e.g., using Middle Devonian marine faunas of Central NY.


As an educator, Dr. Ross's education research includes Earth system education, informal science education, educator professional development. He studies the integration of authentic research into education contexts to improve interest in and understanding of scientific inquiries and the integration of activities using place-based real-world to improve long-term interest in and understanding of natural science. He also focuses on approaches to improving understanding of historical sciences and systems thinking, and applications to important core science education issues (geologic time, evolutionary processes, climate change). Some of his current projects include working with PRI and Cornell colleagues on the use of paleontological research in teaching the nature of science to teachers and their students; reaching rural audiences on climate change; public understanding of energy issues, especially shale gas; and cultural inertia in science concepts such as perceptions of dinosaurs.

Selected Publications (** = peer-reviewed)

  • Allmon, W. D. and R. M. Ross. 2011. Paleontology, nature, and natural history: an old approach to "environmental education". American Paleontologist, 19(2): 22-25. [#223]
  • Allmon, W. D., R. A. Kissel, R. M. Ross, S. Sands and T. Smrecak. 2009. Teaching evolution in America: A status report on Darwin's 200th birthday. American Paleontologist, 17(1): 43-45. (extended version at www.priweb.org). [#232]
  • Allmon, W. D., R. M. Ross, R. A. Kissel and D. C. Kendrick. 2012. Using museums to teach undergraduate paleontology and evolution. In: Teaching Paleontology in the 21st century, Yacobucci, M.M. and Lockwood R. (eds.), The Paleontological Society, Special Publications, 12: 231-246. *** [paper] [#346]
  • Allmon, W. D., T. Smrecak and R. M. Ross. 2010. Climate change. Past, present, and future. A very short guide. Paleontological Research Institution Special Publication No. 38, 200 p. [#315]
  • Conner, T., D. Capps, B. Crawford and R. Ross. 2013. Fossil Finders: Engaging all of your students using project-based learning. Science Scope. March 2013: 69-73. [paper] [#343]
  • Kissel, R. A., D. Duggan-Haas and R. M. Ross. 2013. The ReaL Earth Inquiry Project: Introducing inquiry-driven field exploration to students across the nation. In the Trenches 3(1): 6-8. [paper] [#344]
  • Meyer, X., D. Capps, B. Crawford and R. M. Ross. 2012. Using inquiry and tenets of multicultural education to engage Latino ELL in learning about geology and nature of science. Journal of Geoscience Education. 60(3): 212-219. *** [paper] [#347]
  • Ross, R. M.. 2010. Big Ideas in Earth System Science: The Foundation for Earth System Literacy. American Paleontologist 18(1): 24-26. [paper] [#350]
  • Ross, R. M., D. Duggan-Haas and W. D. Allmon. 2013. The posture of T. rex: Why do student views lag behind the science?. Journal of Geoscience Education 61(1): 145-160. *** [paper] [#345]
  • Ross, R. M., F. Allaby, C. S. Buckler, E. Y. Butler, D. Gabreski, L. M. Paciulli, K. J. Gremillion and W. D. Allmon. 2008. The Hyde Park Mastodon Matrix Project, with particular reference to the mollusks and seeds. Pp 111-134. in: Mastodon Paleobiology, Taphonomy, and Paleoenvironment in the Late Pleistocene of New York State: Studies on the Hyde Park, Chemung, and North Java Sites, W.D. Allmon & P.L. Nester (eds), Paleontographica Americana 61. *** [book chapter] [#231]
  • Stedman, R. C., R. M. Ross, S. B. Allred and S. J. Chicone. 2012. Upstate Rural New York Residents' Perceptions of Climate Change. Cornell University Community and Regional Development Institute Brief Issue Number 50, 2 pp.. [paper] [#348]
  • Wysession, M. E., N. LaDue, D. A. Budd, K. Campbell, M. Conklin, E. Kappel, G. Lewis, R. Raynolds, R. W. Ridky, R. M. Ross, J. Taber, B. Tewksbury and P. Tuddenham. 2012. Developing and Applying a Set of Earth Science Literacy Principles. Journal of Geoscience Education 60(2): 95-99. [paper] [#349]