The Paleogene section of the U.S. Gulf Coastal Plain has been known as a paleontological treasure trove since the initial papers describing the faunas appeared more than a century and a half ago. Charles Lyell visited some of these sites and remarked on their fossil richness. The region offers what is arguably the best-preserved and most-studied series of Paleogene marine macrofaunas in the world. Mollusks dominate these assemblages; they are particularly diverse and well-described. In addition, the importance of the Gulf Coast to the oil and gas industry has ensured that stratigraphic relationships have been well documented, and also that surface outcrops have been integrated with the subsurface and placed into a modern sequence stratigraphic framework. Petroleum-related research has also fostered an extensive literature on paleoenvironments represented in the Paleogene section.

Dr. Allmon has worked on the evolution and ecology of fossil mollusks, especially turritellids gastropods, from the Paleogene of the Gulf Coast for more than 20 years. Ongoing research (in collaboration with Drs. Linda Ivany of Syracuse University and Rowan Lockwood of the College of William and Mary) focuses on three areas:

  • Improving our understanding of the paleoenvironment of the Paleocene through Oligocene in the Gulf Coastal Plain, especially environmental change across the Paleocene-Eocene boundary (approximately 55 million years ago).
  • Exploring the effects of these paleoenvironmental changes on the evolution of various fossil mollusk lineages.
  • This research is supported in part by National Science Foundation grant EAR-0719642.