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Steven Holland

Stratigraphic Paleobiology

Contact Info

Geography-Geology Building, Room 217
Phone Number:
Curriculum Vitae:
Holland.pdf (184.52 KB)
Personal Website:

Current Research Interests

I am a paleontologist and a stratigrapher, and I’m interested in the long-term response of ecological communities and sedimentary environments to sea-level 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 ecological communities. My previous work has focused on marine environments and communities of a variety of ages, and we are currently finishing our study of the ecological assembly and history of the Jurassic epicontinental seaway in western North America. We are beginning a new project applying sequence-stratigraphic principles to an understanding of the terrestrial fossil record.

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

I am finishing a study 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.

Our current project, just in its beginning stages, is the stratigraphic paleobiology of continental systems. Specifically, we are applying the most recent understanding of the sequence-stratigraphic architecture of continental systems to the fossil record of continental (both terrestrial and aquatic) plants and animals. This project will involve a combination of field-based stratigraphic and paleobiologic studies with numerical simulations of the continental stratigraphic and fossil record.

Selected Publications:

• Holland, S.M., 2019. Estimation, not significance. Paleobiology, v. 45, p. 1–6.

• Holland, S.M., 2018. Diversity and tectonics: predictions from neutral theory. Paleobiology, v. 59, p. 219–236.

• Danise, S., and S.M. Holland, 2018. A sequence stratigraphic framework for the Middle to Late Jurassic of the Sundance Seaway,Wyoming: implications for correlation, basin evolution, and climate change. Journal of Geology, v. 126, p. 371–405.

• Danise, S., and S.M. Holland, 2017. Faunal response to sea-level and climate change in a short-lived seaway: Jurassic of the western interior, U.S.A. Palaeontology v. 60, p. 213–232.

• Clement, A.C., and S.M. Holland. 2016. Sequence stratigraphic context of extensive evaporites: Middle Jurassic Gypsum Spring Formation,Wyoming, U.S.A. Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 86, p. 965–981.

• Holland, S.M. 2016.The non-uniformity of the fossil record. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Biological Sciences v. 371, no. 20150130. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0130.

• Holland, S.M., and M.E. Patzkowsky. 2015.The stratigraphy of mass extinction. Palaeontology, v. 58, p. 903–924. Awarded best paper in Palaeontology for 2015.

• Holland, S.M., and J. Sclafani. 2015. Phanerozoic diversity and neutral theory. Paleobiology, v. 41, p. 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 v. 29, p. 277–294.

• 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 v. 39, p. 511–524. Featured Article for the Fall 2013 Issue.

• Holland, S.M., 2012, Sea-level change and the area of shallow marine habitat: Implications for marine biodiversity. Paleobiology v. 38, p. 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 v. 82, p. 599– 615.

• Holland, S.M., and A. Zaffos, 2011, Niche conservatism along an onshore–offshore gradient. Paleobiology, v. 37, p. 270–286.

• Holland, S.M., 2010, Additive diversity partitioning in paleobiology: revisiting Sepkoski’s question. Palaeontology, v. 53, p. 1237–1254.

•Holland, S.M., and M.E. Patzkowsky, 2009,The stratigraphic distribution of fossils in a tropical carbonate succession: Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite,Wyoming, USA. Palaios v. 24, p. 303–317.

Articles Featuring Steven Holland

Friday, September 15, 2017 - 7:09am

Steven Holland and his graduate students have been engaged in a multi-year study of a Jurassic epicontinental seaway in western North America, known as the Sundance Seaway.

Events featuring Steven Holland

Geography-Geology Building - Room 200A

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