Paleobiologist to discuss prehistoric climate shifts

BAR HARBOR — Paleobiologist Jocelyn Sessa will discuss her research into ancient episodes of global warming Thursday, April 18, at 4:10 p.m. at College of the Atlantic’s McCormick lecture hall.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is part of the COA Seminar on Climate Change Speaker Series. It is sponsored by the Anne M. and Robert T. Bass Geoscience Chair Fund.

“Sessa’s research tracks the response of mollusk communities to environmental stresses, such as disturbances that result from climatic shifts,” event organizers said. “In this presentation, she will use climate reconstructions to ascertain the ecology of an extinct group of mollusks and discuss the effects of rapid warming that occurred 56 million years ago on a group of pelagic mollusks called pteropods.”

Sessa is member of the Department of Biodiversity, Earth, and Environmental Science at Drexel University.

She is a paleobiologist who uses the fossil record as a natural laboratory to study times of change in earth’s history. Her research melds fossil and modern data to elucidate the response of mollusk faunas (clams and snails) to environmental perturbations across space and time.

Sessa’s studies span a wide range of events, from the mass extinction that killed off the dinosaurs to past climatic fluctuations, including intervals of past and present global warming. By analyzing the chemistry of mollusk shells, she also reconstructs the climatic conditions that affected ecosystems.

Contact COA at 801-5623.

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