Natasha S. Vitek
Principal Investigator. I am a paleontologist studying the evolutionary consequences of intraspecific variation in the fossil record. Using morphometrics, genomics, and museum collections I integrate modern studies of microevolution with the long timescales of the fossil record. I am an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolution at Stony Brook University. There are current openings for PhD students to join my lab and develop projects.
You can find a current list of publications on my Google Scholar Profile.
Robert W. Burroughs
Postdoctoral Scholar. I am an IRACDA Postdoctoral Scholar whose research is focused on understanding the interplay between developmental variation and natural selection within vertebrates. My goal is understand the mechanisms which underlie phenotypic evolution. In 2019, I was selected as an innagural member of the Paleontological Society’s Future Leaders in Paleontology program in recognition of my research efforts. In addition to my research I am active in professional service, serving as a member of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology’s Development Committee. Finally, I am particularly proud to serve as a mentor to undergraduate and high school students. This is a role I have embraced throughout my career and continues as part of my appointment here at Stony Brook University.
PhD Student. I am a PhD student interested in studying the patterns and processes of speciation and within-species divergence. My previous projects have focused on the biomechanics of adhesive lizards. I am also interested in bettering methods of science communication, education, and data visualization.
Jia Ci Deng
George Gurgis (PhD Student) George focused on using methods such as geometric morphometrics and finite element analysis to study functional morphology over different time scales in reptiles.
Ella Saks (undergraduate) Ella completed a undergraduate honors thesis on the effect of nutritional deficit on the size of rat molars.
Nick Rutig (undergraduate) Nick worked on finding features to help identify the correct tooth position of isolated hyrax molars.
Hui (Jason) Chen (undergraduate) Hui improved code that eased MorphoSource batch uploading, and studied how wear affected the shape of porcupine teeth and the possibility of identifying isolated teeth at different wear stages. The peer-reviewed report of his results was published in 2022.
Milka Espinal (undergraduate) Milka worked on characterizing the pattern on soft-shelled turtle shells by making model shell "fragments" in the lab. The peer-reviewed report of her results was published in 2022.
Rhianna Schantz (high school) Rhianna worked on understanding variation in the toothrows of grasshopper mice (Onychomys leucogaster) in relation to climatic and geographic variation.
Kimberly Placencia (undergraduate) Kimberly worked describing and identifying previously unknown cranial material of soft-shelled turtles (Trionychidae) from the Miocene of Nebraska.
Sabrina Han (undergraduate) Sabrina studied variation in the molars of the multituberculate Ectypodus tardus and its relationship to diet and species boundaries.
Kierstin Rosenbach (undergraduate) Kierstin compared the morphological disparity of eulipotyphlans during different parts of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. She was a recipient of the 2015 Biology Graduate Student Association Grant-in-Aid of Research, and presented her work at the 2015 Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting.
Natalí Valdes (undergraduate) Natalí described a new species of soft-shelled turtle (Trionychidae) from the Miocene of Florida. Her resulting senior research thesis received Highest Honors from the Department of Anthropology. The peer-reviewed report of her results was published in 2017.