Student Research


PRI staff mentor and supervise both graduate and undergraduate students
working on paleontological research. Our undergraduates come from Cornell
University and a variety of other institutions and our current graduate students
are PhD. students at Cornell University.

Graduate Students


  • Brendan M. Anderson

    Brendan M. Anderson

    Ph.D. student, Cornell University
    Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

    Brendan’s primary research interest is the evolution of gastropod shell morphology in the family Turritellidae, especially uncoiling. He is interested in applying genetic, geochemical, and paleoecological techniques to a variety of paleobiological questions. More information on Brendan’s research can be found here.

  • Stephen Durham

    Stephen Durham

    PhD. student, Cornell University,
    Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

    Steve's primary research interests are predator/prey interactions in living and fossil mollusks and their change through time, and more broadly, the application of geohistorical data to current problems facing biodiversity conservation (conservation paleobiology).

  • Dana Friend

    Dana Friend

    PhD. student, Cornell University,
    Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

    Dana’s primary research interest is testing the new and exciting evolutionary hypothesis of "coevolutionary alternation". This hypothesis attempts to explain how the interaction between a generalist predator and its prey can cause both to remain static in the fossil record for long periods of time. She is using time-averaged beach assemblages of mollusc shells and testing for coevolutionary alternation between carnivorous marine snails (Naticids) and its two preferred prey bivalve species (the Atlantic surf-clam and the Blood Ark).

  • Jansen Smith

    Jansen Smith

    PhD. student, Cornell University,
    Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

    Jansen is interested in species interactions in the recent past and fossil record. Records of life in the past can tell us about the state of nature before human impacts and how life existed previously can inform conservation and restoration efforts by providing historical and baseline data. His overarching research interest is in applying paleontological data and approaches to achieve whole ecosystem restoration and conservation.


Undergraduate Students

Thomas Butler (Cornell University)
Emma Reed (Cornell University)
Leanndra Romano (University of Arizona)
Sheila Niedziela (Hartwick College)
Abigail Cassel (Ithaca College)
Serina Brady (Cornell University)
Drew Muscente (Cornell University)
Nadia Pierrehumbert (Cornell University)
Stephanie Sang (Cornell University)