For more than 75 years, scientists at PRI have been pursuing research in paleontology in response to one of the core functions established at the Institution’s founding in 1932. Our current researchers include 10 PhD-level staff members who study a wide variety of topics in addition to their work for the Institution. Much of their research focuses on fossils and modern mollusks from the southeastern United States, Caribbean, and Latin America.

In the last 10 years, research by PRI staff has expanded to include work on the abundant Devonian marine invertebrates and Pleistocene mastodons of New York State, as well as the general fields of evolutionary paleobiology, conservation, and macroevolution. PRI is formally affiliated with Cornell University’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science and several staff members teach courses and advise work by graduate and undergraduate students. In addition, PRI-affiliated Research Associates collaborate with staff, increase activity in our collections, and broaden our scope of expertise.

Our research facilities (including laboratories, library, and specimen collections) provide workplaces for our scientists and offer research training and resources to students and teachers.

PRI publishes two paleontological research journals, Bulletins of American Paleontology and Palaeontographica Americana as well as periodically producing stand-alone publications in various areas of Earth Science. PRI recognizes excellence in paleontological research through annual academic awards to students, professionals, and amateurs. The Institution is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its research, collections, and publications.

In addition to research in the basic sciences, PRI contributes to education research, determining the best methods of communicating science to students, teachers, and the public.