This summer I was a research intern at the Paleontological Research Institute (PRI) located in Ithaca, NY. During my time at the PRI, my main objective was to figure out the best way to sample gastropod shells from Long Island sound in a way that introduces as little bias as possible because accurately evaluating post-mortem alteration and taphonomic processes, such as bioerosion and encrustation, can allow for better understanding shell deposits' origin and formation. However, methodological decisions made during collection and sampling can impact interpretations of the taphonomic signatures. Using samples of Crepidula fornicata shells from deposits in Long Island Sound, I evaluated the sensitivity of taphonomic signatures when taking methodological decisions into account. I graded and numbered more than 2,000 shells throughout my six weeks, and then analyzed and compared results from each set of shells from different locations/piles. In addition to the grading, I also built the prototype and then the final version of a splitter/randomizer to more efficiently get a sample size without introducing my own bias when picking shells myself. I presented my findings at the PRI's Summer Symposium with many graduate students, academics, and community members present.
Class of 2024
I am an anthropology and geology double major from Troy, NY. I have done research in multiple geology subfields and geology-adjacent fields where I have had the opportunity to learn GIS, core trees, evaluate bias introduced through methodology, and much more. Most recently, I was a research intern at the...