Gordon Baird

Research Associate

Professor Gordon Baird (Ph.D. Univ. of Rochester, 1975) is a paleontologist and stratigrapher / sedimentologist in the Department of Geology and Environmental Sciences at SUNY Fredonia. His research is focused on the sedimentary and tectonic history of the earliest phases of Appalachian mountain building, known as the Taconic orogeny. For many years he has teamed up with Dr. Carlton Brett at the University of Cincinnati to map and interpret ancient sedimentary basins associated with this important event.

Carlton Brett

Research Associate

Carlton Brett is a Professor of Geology at the University of Cincinnati. His research focuses on relating regional and global changes in sea level, climate, and the carbon cycle to episodes of biotic change (bioevents) and extinction, and time-specific sedimentary facies. Projects involve establishing regional and global patterns of Paleozoic sequence stratigraphy and relating them to prolonged intervals of relative biotic stability, or “coordinated stasis”, and episodes of abrupt change. He also maintains active research in taphonomy, including comparative fossil preservation and modern experimental approaches designed to test the concept of taphofacies, pursuing studies of ancient organism interactions including organism-substrate relationships and the mid Paleozoic predator revolution, and the paleobiology of marine invertebrates, especially echinoderms and arthropods.

Marla L. Coppolino

Research Associate

Marla Coppolino has had a life-long interest in mollusks and science. After graduation from the University of Georgia in 1991 with a BS degree in Biological Sciences, she conducted field and laboratory work on invasive species in Tennessee lakes and rivers for the Tennessee Valley Authority zebra mussel and Asiatic clam monitoring programs. Between 2004 and 2006, she worked as a Collections Assistant for Dr. Paula Mikkelsen (now PRI's Associate Director for Science) in the American Museum of Natural History's mollusk section. While there, she recurated the entire bivalve collection and upgraded the database system used for cataloging specimen lots. She also wrote risk assessment reports for the collections, which were considered so thorough that the museum staff overseeing the project used her reports as examples to follow for all other sections of the museum. In 2006, she left AMNH to pursue an advanced degree. She attended Southern Illinois University, where she earned a Master's degree in Zoology. Her state- and federally-funded thesis project was entitled "Land snail abundance and diversity with associated ecological variables, in six southern Illinois counties." During the course of her field work for the project, she discovered several species not previously recorded in Illinois or in southern Illinois. She published an outreach magazine article and an educational poster on land snails of Illinois in conjunction with this research. Since her move to the Ithaca area after graduate school, she has continued to pursue her malacological interests by conducting her own field surveys and by volunteering as a field assistant in snail surveys for ornithologists at Cornell's Lab of Ornithology. She is a regular volunteer in PRI's systematic mollusk collection, recurating specimen lots in Julian Smith's scientifically valuable collection of land snails mostly from central New York. Marla is also a talented scientific illustrator and artist, and exhibited a collection of original drawings "Enduring Shells: Bivalves and Other Mollusks," at Museum of the Earth in 2010-2011. She also holds a Research Associate appointment at the Delaware Museum of Natural History. She lives in Groton, New York, and currently works for Cornell University. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Dr. John C. Handley

Trustee, Research Associate

Dr. John C. Handley is a Principal Scientist at Xerox Corporation in Webster, New York. He is an avid amateur fossil collector and industrial statistician who contributes his quantitative expertise to numerous projects in paleobiology. He was elected Fellow of the Rochester Academy of Science for his scientific outreach and contributions to paleontology. John has served as a Trustee of PRI since January 2011. His research interests include quantitative paleoecology of marine invertebrates, especially modeling large-scale patterns of community structure and diversity. He applies and extends statistical approaches from a number of fields including modern ecology to paleoecology. John has published in Paleobiology and Palaios and has presented at North American Paleontological Conventions in 2005 and 2009. His research work at Xerox currently is directed toward modeling public transportation systems and risk in service contracts. John holds a BS and MS in mathematics from Ohio State University and a PhD in imaging science from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Dr. Patricia H. Kelley

Trustee Emeritus, Research Associate

Tricia is Professor and former Chair in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She received her bachelor’s degree from College of Wooster and her PhD from Harvard University. She has taught geology and paleontology and served as Department Chair at the University of Mississippi and the University of North Dakota, and in 2003 completed a two year term as President of the Paleontological Society. Tricia’s research focuses on the evolution of Cenozoic mollusks. She did some of the first empirical tests of the theory of punctuated equilibrium and is one of the world’s authorities on predation on mollusks and its evolutionary consequences. Tricia became a Trustee in 2003 and President in 2004. She lives in Southport, North Carolina.

William F. Klose II

Research Associate

William F. Klose II, recipient of the 1999 Katherine Palmer Award and Paleontological Research Institute Research Associate, has been collecting fossils for over 50 years. As a United States Navy veteran, Klose traveled the world, all the while passionately collecting and identifying fossils that span all phyla and ages. Upon his return, Klose attended Rennsalaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, with a major in Geology, and went on to work for Proctor and Gamble in Pennsylvania. In 1976, Klose began to selflessly donate his remarkably well-curated personal collection of an estimated 40,000 specimens to PRI. In addition to these donations, Klose has also contributed tens of thousands of specimens of fossil plants to the Pennsylvania State Museum, and an enormous collection of graptolites from the Ordovician of New York, which is one of the finest anywhere. Klose has been particularly generous in acquiring specimens for the Institution that could otherwise never have been able to be obtained. His research and devotion to collections has benefitted research institutes, museum collections, and generations of interested visitors for many years to come. Since his retirement in 1997, Klose has become an active volunteer in the collections departments of several institutions including PRI, Pennsylvania State Museum, the Reading Public Museum, and the Everhard Museum.

Dr. Veronica Padovani

Adjunct Research Associate

Veronica Padovani is an informal science educator. In 2011, she earned her Ph.D. from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Earth System Sciences: Environment Resources and Cultural Heritage. She also has a Master’s in Sciences for the Recovery and Preservation of Archaeological Heritage and a degree in Sciences for Cultural Heritage. Since before graduating, she has worked on several scientific exhibitions as a text writer, as a docent, and as a curator and as an evaluator, also gaining experience in the accessibility of blind and partially sighted audiences to museum exhibitions. Her activities focus mainly on the role geosciences play in the knowledge and preservation of cultural heritage. Since 2014 she has been Adjunct Professor for the course Lithology and Geology for Architecture in Parma University. She has collaborated with PRI since 2008 and she has recently curated the Italian edition of the book Evolution and Creationism. A Very Short Guide by PRI’s Director Warren D. Allmon, published by CICAP.

Among her publications:

  • Padovani V., Buckler C. S., Gualtieri A. F., Vescogni A. 2013, To teach is to learn: high-school students, local university and informal science educators collaborate in communicating science to the public, Evolution: Education and Outreach 6:7, doi:10.1186/1936-6434-6-7.
  • Gualtieri, A. F. & Padovani, V. (ed.) 2012. Symmetria. Frammenti di Armonia Universale. Modena: Edizioni Il Fiorino.
  • Padovani V. & Buckler C. S. 2012. Scientists on Trial: The Wave of the Future? Evolution: This View of Life online magazine.
  • Padovani V. 2009, Identikit dei visitatori della mostra 'Darwin: Modena e 200 anni di evoluzione', Supplemento agli Atti della Società dei Naturalisti e Matematici di Modena, Vol. CXL, 2009, pp. 115-122.
  • Padovani, V. 2010. The Importance of Museums in Formal Science Learning: Thoughts and Remarks. New Trends in Science and Technology Education: Selected Papers (pp. 122-124). Bologna: CLUEB.
  • Padovani, V. 2009. Planning an Exhibition About Urban Geology. American Paleontologist, 17(4): 30-31.

Robin Hadlock Seeley

Research Associate

Robin Hadlock-Seeley, Cornell Academic Coordinator for the Shoals Marine Laboratory (jointly operated by Cornell and University of New Hampshire), has served as a Research Associate at the Paleontological Research Institute for several years. Seeley has been an active member of several other societies including the National Geographic Society, the American Malacological Society, the Malacological Society of London, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society for the Study of Evolution and the NY Academy of Sciences. In addition, Seeley has appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, NY Academy of Sciences, Biological Bulletin, Hawaiian Shell News, Journal of Crustacean Biology, and Scientific American. A Faculty Fellow of the Atkinson Center for A Sustainable Future at Cornell, Seeley teaches undergraduates with Warren Allmon at the Shoals Marine Laboratory, where her research is focused on the consequences of climate change for invasive species and their gastropod prey in marine communities of the Gulf of Maine and on the sustainability of commercial seaweed harvesting.

Richard Waite

Research Associate

Dr. Richard Waite is a Carbonate Sedimentologist currently working part time with a small, specialized engineering company in Muttenz, Switzerland. He joined PRI as a Research Associate in 2013, after having previously spent two years working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the institution. He was a University of Fribourg graduate student in Switzerland, who, for his graduate work, collaborated with PRI Director Warren Allmon, receiving his Ph.D. degree in 2010 with the dissertation "The palaeoecology of high-spired gastropods and the lost palaeosols: depositional reconstructions on a shallow carbonate platform (Late Kimmeridgian, Swiss Jura Mountains)." His dissertation was published as the 23rd issue of the Geofocus Series by the University of Fribourg in November 2010.

Richard continues to collaborate with staff members at PRI. His research interests include invertebrate paleontology and zoology (especially Mesozoic and Cenozoic high-spired gastropods), species interactions, stable isotope sclerochronology, formation and erosion of paleosols, the relationships between soil erosion and molluscan mass accumulation, paleobiogeography, as well as sequence and cyclostratigraphy. Richard is currently working with Warren Allmon both on Mesozoic species interactions and on stable isotope sclerochronology and shell-carbon sources of Recent turritellid gastropods from around the world. In 2012, Richard was fortunate to receive the legacy of Prof. Emeritus Michael J. Barker, an expert on nerineoid gastropods, who generously donated his private collection of nerineoid specimens for further study.

John Wehmiller

Research Associate

Dr. Wehmiller has been actively advising on the set-up of PRI''s amino acid racemization (AAR) laboratory and training students and staff in its use for the past two years. After 39 years on the faculty at the University of Delaware, John retired in 2013. Upon retiring, Dr. Wehmiller helped facilitate the relocation of his lab equipment and much of his research collection to PRI. He is a world-renowned expert in AAR geochronology, having published over 100 scientific papers and trained over 30 graduate students during his long, productive career. Dr. Wehmiller’s research focuses on using AAR geochronology to gain insight into stratigraphy and coastal geological processes, including investigations of the aminostratigraphy of Quaternary deposits in the southeastern United States, neotectonic uplift along the Pacific coast of the United States, and using beach shell accumulations to investigate offshore geology in the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic region of the United States.