Michelle Casey

Assistant Professor

Name

Contact Information

PHONE
OFFICE
Smith Hall, room 412E

Education

Ph.D., Geology and Geophysics, Yale University
M.S., Geosciences, Virginia Tech
B.A., Geology, Macalester College

Areas of Expertise

Invertebrate Paleontology
Conservation Paleobiology
Predator-Prey Interactions
Stable Isotope Trophic Analyses using Nitrogen and Carbon

Research

The goal of my research is to study ecological responses to natural and anthropogenic environmental disturbances. In particular, I use the fossil record as a natural laboratory to test ecological and evolutionary responses that operate at timescales beyond direct human observation and I determine the pristine ecological baseline of modern ecosystems in need of conservation or restoration. Research approaches that I employ include:

  • Evaluation of multiple stressors in Long Island Sound, specifically commercial fishing, eutrophication, and hypoxia, by combining modern geochemical evidence with that from live (and recently dead) organisms, archaeological shell middens, and Holocene fossils.
  • Stable isotopes (N and C) to evaluate trophic position (i.e., predatory versus omnivore) of modern drilling gastropods.
  • Taphonomic and feeding experiment approaches that evaluate the amount and kinds of data we can reliably obtain from shells, including changes in predatory behavior, predator identity, and predation intensity.
  • Morphometric analyses to study placement of predatory drill-holes to investigate changes in predator-prey interactions and evolutionary trends.
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and PaleoGIS, including the study of how abiotic and biotic factors govern ​species distribution and species extinctions in deep time.