Stratigraphic Paleobiology

Geography-Geology Building, Room 217

Current Research Interests

I am a paleontologist and a stratigrapher, and I’m interested in the long-term response of marine invertebrate communities and sedimentary environments to sea-level change and climate change. I use a combination of field work and computer simulation in my research. In my field work, I've used extraordinarily fossiliferous deposits to test a wide range of hypotheses about the controls on the diversity and structure of marine communities. My graduate students study the paleoecology of marine invertebrate communities of a variety of ages, as well as the stratigraphy and sedimentology of the rocks in which they are found. Currently, my students and I are studying the ecological assembly and history of the Jurassic epicontinental seaway in western North America.

  • B.S., University of Cincinnati, 1985
  • Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1990
Research Interests:

Currently, I am concentrating on an NSF-funded project on the common-cause problem, that both biodiversity and the completeness of the stratigraphic record are controlled by the same factors, such as eustatic sea-level change. The project includes computer simulation to make predictions about how sea-level change would affect the diversity of marine invertebrate communities, the structure of the stratigraphic record, and our perceptions of the fossil record. The project also includes a field study and a database study to test the predictions of these models.

I am also working on the ecological structuring of newly formed inland seaways, specifically focusing on the Jurassic Sundance Seaway of the western United States. My students and I are developing a regional sequence stratigraphic framework for the basin, investigating the biogeographic sources of the marine organisms that populated this seaway, and identifying the main factors that controlled the development and evolution of marine communities.

Selected Publications:
  • Clement, A.M., and S.M. Holland. 2016. Sequence stratigraphic context of extensive basin-margin evaporites: Middle Jurassic Gypsum Spring Formation, Wyoming, U.S.A. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 86:965–981.
  • Patzkowsky, M.E., and S.M. Holland. 2016. Biotic invasion, niche conservatism, and the assembly of regional biotas in deep time: comparison of donor and recipient regions. Paleobiology 42: 359–379. Featured Article for the August 2016 Issue.
  • Jenkins, C.E., and S.M. Holland. 2016. Continental-scale biogeographic variation: provinces versus gradients in the Upper Ordovician of Laurentia. Paleobiology 42: 410–425.
  • Holland, S.M. 2016. The non-uniformity of the fossil record. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Biological Sciences 371, no. 20150130. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0130.
  • Holland, S.M., and M.E. Patzkowsky. 2015. The stratigraphy of mass extinction. Palaeontology 58: 903–924. Voted Paper of the Year by the editors of Palaeontology.
  • Holland, S.M., and J. Sclafani. 2015. Phanerozoic diversity and neutral theory. Paleobiology 41: 369–376.
  • McMullen, S.K., S.M. Holland, and F.R. O’Keefe. 2014. The occurrence of vertebrate and invertebrate fossils in a sequence stratigraphic context: the Jurassic Sundance Formation, Bighorn Basin, Wyoming, USA. Palaios 29: 277–294.
  • Christie, M., S.M. Holland, and A.M. Bush. 2013. Contrasting the ecological taxonomic consequences of extinction. Paleobiology 39: 538–559.
  • Holland, S.M., and M. Christie. 2013. Changes in area of shallow siliciclastic marine habitat in response to sediment deposition: implications for onshore-offshore paleobiologic patterns. Paleobiology 39:511–524. Featured Article for the Fall 2013 Issue.
  • Holland, S.M. 2013. Relaxation time and the problem of the Pleistocene. Diversity 5: 276–292.
  • Sclafani, J.A., and S.M. Holland. 2013. The species-area relationship in the Late Ordovician: a test using neutral theory. Diversity 5: 240–262.
  • Holland, S.M. 2012. Sea-level change and the area of shallow marine habitat: implications for marine biodiversity. Paleobiology 38: 205–217.
  • Holland, S.M., and M.E. Patzkowsky. 2012. Sequence architecture of the Bighorn Dolomite, Wyoming, USA: transition to the Late Ordovician icehouse. Journal of Sedimentary Research 82: 599–615.
  • Zaffos, A., and S.M. Holland. 2012. Abundance and extinction in Ordovician–Silurian brachiopods, Cincinnati Arch, Ohio and Kentucky. Paleobiology 38: 278–291.
  • Holland, S.M., and A. Zaffos. 2011. Niche conservatism along an onshore–offshore gradient. Paleobiology 37: 270–286.
  • Holland, S.M. 2010. Additive diversity partitioning in paleobiology: revisiting Sepkoski’s question. Palaeontology 53: 1237–1254.
  • Holland, S.M., and M.E. Patzkowsky. 2009. Stratigraphic architecture of a tropical carbonate platform and its effect on the distribution of fossils: Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite, Wyoming, USA. Palaios 24: 303–317.
Curriculum Vitae:
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