Overview

Dr. Richard Waite is a Carbonate Sedimentologist currently working part time with a small, specialized engineering company in Muttenz, Switzerland. He joined PRI as a Research Associate in 2013, after having previously spent two years working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the institution. He was a University of Fribourg graduate student in Switzerland, who, for his graduate work, collaborated with PRI Director Warren Allmon, receiving his Ph.D. degree in 2010 with the dissertation "The palaeoecology of high-spired gastropods and the lost palaeosols: depositional reconstructions on a shallow carbonate platform (Late Kimmeridgian, Swiss Jura Mountains)." His dissertation was published as the 23rd issue of the Geofocus Series by the University of Fribourg in November 2010.

Richard continues to collaborate with staff members at PRI. His research interests include invertebrate paleontology and zoology (especially Mesozoic and Cenozoic high-spired gastropods), species interactions, stable isotope sclerochronology, formation and erosion of paleosols, the relationships between soil erosion and molluscan mass accumulation, paleobiogeography, as well as sequence and cyclostratigraphy. Richard is currently working with Warren Allmon both on Mesozoic species interactions and on stable isotope sclerochronology and shell-carbon sources of Recent turritellid gastropods from around the world. In 2012, Richard was fortunate to receive the legacy of Prof. Emeritus Michael J. Barker, an expert on nerineoid gastropods, who generously donated his private collection of nerineoid specimens for further study.

Research Focus

Dr. Waite's new project is entitled: "High-spired gastropod palaeobiology: turritellids vs. nerineoids - snails that pass in the night?" and will focus on the Late Cretaceous "handoff" between two taxa of high-spired gastropods. Nerineoids are abundant in carbonate environments during the Jurassic but decline in the Late Cretaceous and finally become extinct before the end of the period. Turritellids, on the other hand replace the nerineoids in the carbonate environments of the Late Cretaceous and post-Mesozoic oceans. Close examination and a compilation and comparison of range data for the two taxa may demonstrate that the demise of the nerineoids was partially related to gradual replacement by competition.