2022 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Computer Science
Mentor: Jonathan Payne (Geological Sciences)

“Identifying Biotic Factors Influencing Marine Animal Body Size Trends During the Phanerozoic Eon”

The average body mass of marine animals increased by a factor of >150 during the last 541 million years (Phanerozoic Eon). Because body size scales with important organismal traits such as ecology, physiology, and anatomy, it is uncertain which trait(s) influenced this extreme increase in body size. Edward plans on collecting body size data from fossils both in the lab and from published literature. He will also use these data and information from modern animal analogs to estimate two physiological traits, respiratory rates and metabolic demand, for these fossils. Statistical analyses will then be conducted to determine which organismal traits can best explain average body size increase and aid in future modeling of marine system dynamics.