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Erica Clites
Sr. Museum Scientist (Invertebrate Collections)

Erica Clites


Why collections?: "Each fossil has a story to tell, but in order to decipher it you need to know where the fossil came from, who collected it and when. I enjoy ensuring that these links between objects and data are preserved, and continuing to find better ways to communicate this information to researchers and the public."

Federal collections: "Before coming to UCMP, I worked as a paleontologist for the National Park Service (NPS). Since arriving in Berkeley, I have been privileged to collaborate with the Pacific West Region of NPS. We are working on a number of projects including a paleontological inventory for Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a portal for NPS staff to view detailed UCMP locality information and a long-term field monitoring program for Point Reyes National Seashore. These collaborations benefit both UCMP and NPS, through improved accuracy of data and better care of collections."

Research interests: "I like studying unusual organisms and environments. This has included characterizing clotted microbial mats called thrombolites that grew around living trees in brackish water. The thrombolites are preserved in building stone quarry walls in the Jurassic-aged chalk cliffs of southern England. For my Master's thesis I described a new sponge-like organism from the Ediacaran strata of south Australia. The earliest macroscopic organisms are Ediacaran in age, and this organism was significant because it consisted of two different types of tissue, with ruler-straight spicules disarticulating from the cone-shaped body of the organism after death. Coronacollina also resembles the Cambrian sponge, Choia, providing a rare link across the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary.

Current projects: Erica is the coordinator for the EPICC TCN, a group of nine museums digitizing marine invertebrate fossils from the eastern Pacific over the last 66 million years of Earth's history.

See my NPS profile and an article about my time with GeoCorps America.


Kahanamoku, S.S., P.M. Hull, D.R. Lindberg, A.Y. Hsiang, E.C. Clites and S. Finnegan. 2018. Twelve thousand recent patellogastropods from a northeastern Pacific latitudinal gradient. Scientific Data, 5:170197.  Read it

Pearson, L.K., E.C. Clites, V.L. Santucci and R.W. Boessenecker. 2016. Protocols for paleontological site Monitoring at Point Reyes National Seashore. Natural Resource Report NPS/NRSS/NRR - 2016/1185. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Stevens, C.H. and E.C. Clites. 2016. Transfer of the Calvin H. Stevens coral collection to the University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley, California: Journal of Paleontology, v. 90, p.182.  Read it

Henkel, C.J., W.P. Elder, V.L. Santucci and E.C. Clites. 2015. Golden Gate National Recreation Area: Paleontological resource inventory. Natural Resource Report NPS/GOGA/NRR-2015/915. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Cllites, E.C., M.B. Goodwin, C.R. Marshall. 2014. Making the former USGS Menlo Park invertebrate collection digitally accessible through the University of California Museum of Paleontology. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol.46, No.6, p.701.  Read it

Clites E.C. and V.L. Santucci. 2012. Protocols for paleontological resource site monitoring at Zion National Park. Natural Resource Report. NPS/ZION/NRR—2012/595. National Park Service. Fort Collins, Colorado. Published Report-2191254.   Read it

Clites, E.C. and V.L. Santucci. 2012. Paleontological resource site condition assessment: Fort Washington Park (National Capital Parks-East). Natural Resource Report. NPS/NRSS/NRR—2012/555. National Park Service. Fort Collins, Colorado. Published Report-2187400.  Read it

Clites, E.C., M.L. Droser, and J.G. Gehling. 2012. The advent of hard-part structural support among the Ediacara biota: Ediacaran harbinger of a Cambrian mode of body construction. Geology. 40(4):307-310.  Read it

Clites, E. C. and V. L. Santucci. 2010. Preliminary paleontological resource field survey: Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. Natural Resource Report NPS/NRPC/NRR--2010/197. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Clites, E. C. and V. L. Santucci. 2009. Paleontological resource site condition assessment: Manassas National Battlefield Park. Natural Resource Report NPS/NRPC/NRR--2009/167. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.