Student Research Papers

Research Reports from the Course “Discovering the Evolutionary History of Dolphins and Porpoises” (GEOL 5090)

Before arriving at NYCOM, Jonathan Geisler was an Associate Professor at Georgia Southern University. There he developed and taught this course, which guided undergraduate students through the process of scientific research using unanswered questions on evolutionary relationships of living and fossil cetaceans. Students used accepted methods of scientific analysis for observations they made on actual fossil specimens and museum-quality casts curated in the Georgia Southern Museum. Ten students completed the course, and five of their final research reports are posted here.

As Curator Albert Sanders of the Charleston Museum knows (center), the diversity of fossil cetaceans from the Charleston, South Carolina area can at times be overwhelming. From left to right, Rebeccah Hazelkorn, Hannah Jones, Hisham El-Shaffey (behind Hannah), Jonathan Geisler (course instructor), Albert Sanders (center), and Joey LaValley.
 

Click on each to read a .pdf of the student's paper:
Hisham El-Shaffey
Hannah Jones
Joey LaValley
Jessica Martin
Jake Taylor

 

Jake Taylor and other students in the class creating a spreadsheet to organize their observations.
 
Student Hisham El-Shaffey photographing a cast of the skull of the early cetacean Pakicetus inachus.
   

Students Blair Dietz, Joey LaValley, and Rebeccah Hazelkorn  (from left to right) enjoying lunch during the class fieldtrip to Charleston and the Charleston Museum.

Students Joey LaValley (in front) and Jessica Martin (behind) studying the skull of Platanista gangetica, the Ganges River dolphin.