Monday, July 31, 2006

Fieldwork Pt I

Alas, an internet connection and a bit of time to explain my inexcusable absence from the blogging world! As some of you may know, my absence has been due to extended fieldwork missions in eastern Canada. My first project was in southern New Brunswick, collecting fossil fishes from the earliest part of the Carboniferous. The goal is to study the fish faunas that existed at that time and to understand how the vertebrate fauna turned over after the end of the Devonian. Of course, there is always the hope that one will find a tetrapod.

The site is relatively accessible and I'm not keen to inspire private collectors to poach the site, so my details will be limited. Most of the material is not really the envy of collectors as it is generally disarticulated, broken open in section, and ridiculously difficult to prepare. The fossils are found in shale beds that crop out in various parts of southern New Brunswick.

An outcrop of Carboniferous shale that is quite typical of the region. Fossil vertebrates appear to come from only a few restricted horizons in the formation.

The site is relatively rich and surprisingly more diversity is found here than we had previously expected from this fauna. Sadly, the tetrapod continues to elude us.


The partially articulated skeleton of an undetermined genus of lobe-finned fish is seen in section on the side of a large boulder.



Hopefully, the data from this work will help us understand both the diversity and paleoecology of vertebrates that lived shortly after the Devonian. This site has equivalent age counterparts all over the Atlantic provinces of Canada, each of which has different kinds of animals living in it. This could provide some information on how animals are distributed across different environments during this time which should be crucial in understanding what these ancient communities were like.

35 comments:

ccc said...

Man, I've love to be able to volunteer to help with that kind of thing. As a disabled person, I have the time.... but as a disabled person, I don't have the finances or ability to drive. :(

Anonymous said...

"ccc said...
Man, I've love to be able to volunteer to help with that kind of thing. As a disabled person, I have the time.... but as a disabled person, I don't have the finances or ability to drive. :("

Can you swing a hammer? If you could, I am sure Martin and company could have used you...

The Bizarre Jokester said...

nice blog! and congrats on getting into the blogs of note!
The JOKES Blog

UB said...

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Quotations on Education

UB said...

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Oberon said...

......lobe fin?.....is that like the coelacanth's fins....as opposed to ray fin?

oliver said...

Wow you must really like your job.

Alex said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alex said...

In your first paragraph, you say your absence is inexcusable, and then you go on to excuse your absence. I like it.

Just thought I'd point that out. ; )

By the way... does you field ever talk about/deal with Coelacanth?

D'Arcy said...

How far are you from St. Andrews?

Severin Bloodclot said...

You're wasting your time buddy. everyone knows fossils were put into the rocks as gods way of testing our faith. you've fallen for it in a big way. you're going to hell.

The Sparrow said...

That is so cool! I love to do fieldwork, I say it beats sitting in the lab any day. I'm doing research on polychaetes with my professor this summer, and the two days that we went to the coast to collect were, for me, the most fun out of the whole project.

I've added your blog to my blog links, if that's okay! I'm new to blogging, and I've been looking for interesting science blogs to link to. Can't wait to see more of your work! Good luck finding a tetrapod.

Matt Stambaugh said...

Cool site and congrats on blog-o-the week. As a layperson who is interested in science I enjoy your blogs because they are relatively approachable for someone unfamiliar with biology jargon. I've read a couple of articles from evolutionary biologists on edge.org and find the stuff fascinating. It's especially interesting because it disproves the common perception, promoted by creationists, that evolution theory is lacking evidence. From what I've read, while there may still be some "missing links" you guys are finding links all of the time. Continue the good work. If you get a chance checkout my blog on this site Ephemeralmind. No science but I do like to comment on the creationism versus evolution debate and other aspects of our crazy society.

nateky said...

hello

when i c you update

clik to say hi ^_^

Pat said...

Seems Martin is one popular guy, but again, we've always know this...

oberon asked: "......lobe fin?.....is that like the coelacanth's fins....as opposed to ray fin?"

Yes, it is. Basically there are a series of bones in a fleshy lobe that are grouped as sarcops (which inclused what is commonly known as coelacanths as well as numerous other fish)...as opposed to the ray finned Actinops (which includes most of the modern boney fish you can think of)...

katfish said...

I give a rat's ass about Carbolithic fish fossils or whatever.

Why are you eggheads wasting your time on crap like this when it is the present and the future that are important?

anonymous jones said...

I think semicolons are far more crucial to our understanding

BionicBuddha said...

Atlantic Canada is nice...especially this time of the year. A great place for field work, or just laying the field!



www.bionicbuddha.com

Swyers Auberon said...

Martin: This lobed fish; did you say you found it in devonian shale? There is some of that in Ohio where I am from. It appears to have all the hallmarks of a vertebrate (precambrian or not). Diversity is such an interesting mystery. Why is there diversity when it could have gone on for so long with just trilobites?
On Origin of Species is the work of a brilliant man but Darwin was wrong about a lot of things. Don't you agree?
Oh, my family emigrated to newfounland in 1837 from germany.
alternavent.blogspot.com

Woon Wei Zhong said...

Nice Blog!! Blogs of Note!!! something im dreaming about!!!
Days of My Life

Pat said...

Betterlucknextime asked Martin:

"On Origin of Species is the work of a brilliant man but Darwin was wrong about a lot of things. Don't you agree? "

Pat responds:

Well, maybe marrying his first cousin was not all that bright, but at least he didn't play the Banjo and come from Arkansas.

Shelina said...

Congratulations on being a blog of note. Man, you get some weird comments when you are a blog of note.

Beth said...

Your job is pretty interesting!
I like!

Anonymous said...

uhhhh

R2K said...

Yes a science - nature blog!

Check my page out also if you will:

A microscope page that has images I have taken under optical and Electron Microscopes.

Anonymous said...

Where did all those things come from ( i mean, the animals, err species)?

Miss China Paws said...

Are you doing anything on cats? For instance...me?

Pat said...

Nice work!
Foto's uit Afrika

Blondie said...

Severin Bloodclot said...

You're wasting your time buddy. everyone knows fossils were put into the rocks as gods way of testing our faith. you've fallen for it in a big way. you're going to hell.

Oh damn... all those archeologists! All going to hell! How conniving is our God then… sure buddy, they all alive and kicking.

Christina said...

I just found you on here, you are the first blog I have read and interestingly enough I think you'd despice me. . .

Thanks and have a great day!

Christina

Global Alarmist said...

If you like science then come to my blog and read about global warming.

Bright Light District said...

Interesting post. I don't really know what you call your occupation, but going to different places and checking out the wildlife sounds really cool! Maybe after you're done with that, you'd like to spend some time with the people from webdate.com! Apparently, they find people who're into ecology very attractive! Check them out someday.

The Link Whore said...

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Also, whenever I think of Jesus, I get an erection.
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