UCMP’s summer field adventures

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Each summer, the Museum becomes a very quiet place as many of the faculty, students and staff disperse to various corners of the globe to follow their individual paleo pursuits. Here are some short descriptions of “what we did on our summer vacations:”

In Chinese it’s:
Cambrian field conference
The English translation: VII Field Conference on the Cambrian Stage Subdivision. Jere Lipps and Sarah Reiboldt, a student of Hickman and Lipps, took part in this field conference in Hunan, Guizhou and Yunnan Provinces, China. Along with 75 Cambrian paleontologists and stratigraphers from a dozen countries, Jere and Sarah covered well over 1000 km via minibus and train, visiting the classic Cambrian (and some Precambrian) sections in SW China. The sites included the famous sections at Paibi, Hunan, the Kaili Biota (similar to Burgess Shale) in the lower Cambrian in Guizhou, and the world-famous early Cambrian Chengjiang Biota in Yunnan, in addition to several other sections well known to Precambrian and Cambrian scientists.
The trip also provided numerous opportunities to learn about the people and cultures of remote areas in China. During the stop near Wuhe in Guizhou, the group joined local officials and the Maio people of that province in a special ceremony to designate the Kaili Biota localities as a National Protected Area. Following the ceremonies, the Maio invited the entire group of scientists, politicians, and television and newspaper reporters for a fine lunch in a cleared rice paddy. Here, Sarah and Jere were “adopted” into the Maio and more fun was had by all.

Snails, Egg Collars & Sediment
Naticids are predatory marine snails that date back to the Cretaceous and feed by drilling holes through the shells of their prey. They are sleek and fast, plowing through the sediment with a greatly enlarged foot. Naticids are also the only molluscs that incorporate large amounts of sediment in the construction and sealing of their unique egg masses, called egg collars. The function of this sediment is unknown. In order to test a series of functional hypotheses for sediment usage, Audrey Aronowsky spent much of her summer in California at the Bodega Marine Laboratory and also in French Polynesia at the Gump Research Station. Audrey collected the specimens while snorkeling

  Euspira lewissi
egg collar
At top, Euspira lewissi female on the mudflat at Bodega Marine Lab. Shell is 95 mm across. Below, an egg collar (17 cm in diameter) of Euspira lewissi, Bodega Bay Marine Lab. (photos by Ken Angielczyk)

or while walking on mudflats at low tide and she was assisted by her mother and sister, and fellow UCMP grad students Ken Angielczyk and Emina Begovic. Initially, several problems were encountered. As egg collars dry, they become brittle and fragile, so UCMP preparator Jane Mason developed a technique of drying the collars and

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