I am an Assistant Professor at UT Austin in the Department of Geosciences. My students and I are already involved with many paleontological, geobiological, and sedimentological projects so please contact me if think you may be interested in joining the group. Check out specific projects and facilities on our website: www.jsg.utexas.edu/martindale/

I am primarily interested in marine paleoecology and the geobiology of carbon cycle perturbation events (e.g. mass extinctions, ocean anoxic events, and ocean acidification events in deep time). My research also includes carbonate sedimentology and the paleontology/paleobiology of reef builders (e.g corals and sponges). I am currently working on the Pliensbachian-Toarcian (Early Jurassic, ~183 Ma) reef crisis and Toarcian Ocean Anoxic Event. My doctoral research focused on the reef demise and extinction at the Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) boundary, which has been hypothesized to be an ocean acidification event caused by the rapid eruption of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province and subsequent release of carbon dioxide. Extinction events, such as the Triassic-Jurassic, draw attention for their catastrophism, however, lesser extinction events can be just as interesting, particularly for resolving questions pertaining to species survival and ecosystem recovery. The Late Triassic and Early Jurassic events will help us understand what environmental conditions cause massive ecosystem collapse, and what conditions marine biota can survive. A large part of my research involves the study of Upper Triassic and Lower Jurassic reef ecosystems, the newly evolved scleractinian corals, and reef variations geographically and temporally. I have also begun research on an Early Jurassic Lagerstätte, which preserves both pelagic and benthic communities across the Toarcian Ocean Anoxic Event. In future work, I am interested in combining my research on ancient ocean carbon cycle perturbations and extinctions with research on modern reef decline and stressors that inhibit the secretion of calcareous skeleton.

Areas of Expertise

Triassic and Jurassic reef paleoecology, mass extinctions (Triassic-Jurassic, 201 Ma), carbon cycle perturbation events in deep time, ocean acidification in deep time, invertebrate paleontology (corals, sponges, algae, microbes), Mesozoic marine communities and ecosystems, exceptional fossil preservation, paleoecology, carbonate petrography, warm-water and cool-water carbonate (eco)systems, low-temperature geochemistry.

Research Locations

Current Research Programs & Projects

Mass Extinctions and their Causes ( view )Carbon-cycle Perturbation Events: Community collapse or resilience? ( view )Triassic and Jurassic Reef Paleoecology ( view )Paleocene-Eocene Reefs and the PETM ( view )Paleobiology of Reef Builders ( view )Exceptional Fossil Preservation (Lagerstatten) ( view )

Seed Grant - Jackson School of Geosciences (2013 - 2015)

Postdoctoral Scholar (declined) - Scripps Institution of Oceanography (2012)

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (declined) - Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2012)

AGU Session Organizer, AGU Annual Meeting (2015 - Present)

Executive committee member, GSA Geobiology and Geomicrobiology Division (2014 - Present)

GSA Session Organizer, GSA Annual Meeting (2013 - 2014)

Reviewer, NSF, Geology, Paleo3, Sedimentology (2008 - Present)

Graduate Students

Anna M Weiss, Ph.D., expected 2019 (Supervisor)
I am a doctoral student in the Martindale lab. I received my undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Geology from Stony Brook University in 2013. My research focuses on biotic interactions and reef collapse during the PETM, specifically looking at the formation of novel reef ecosystems during this period. I am also a passionate environmentalist and hope that my work can add to a growing body of research that aims to better predict and mitigate the effects of climate change on modern reefs.

Nicholas Ettinger, M.S., expected 2017 (Supervisor)
My research focuses on carbonate systems of the Lower Jurassic, in which I aim to document sedimentological and paleoecological changes across the Pliensbachian - Toarcian transition. We predict changes to be apparent as a result of the Toarcian Ocean Anoxic Event. Through studying these systems in the Dinaric and Adriatic platforms of Europe, I endeavour to draw analogies to other Lower Jurassic conjugate margin platforms that are not as accessible.

Kelly E Hattori, M.S., expected 2017 (Supervisor)
I am a master's student in the Martindale lab. I obtained my undergraduate degrees in Geology and Marine Biology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a strong focus in paleontology and ecology. My research interests range broadly and include Mesozoic coral reef paleoecology, Pleistocene mollusk paleoecology, Eocene lacustrine taphonomy, and digitization techniques for museum collections. Here at UT, I will be focusing on coral reef paleoecology and transitions in reef community composition in a changing ocean environment. I intend to add my data sets to those obtained from modern coral reefs in order to gain a broader understanding of effects of a changing global climate upon reef communities. Outside of paleontology, I enjoy traveling, SCUBA diving, and working on classic cars.

Selva M Marroquin, M.S., expected 2016 (Supervisor)
I am a second year graduate student pursuing a Master's degree at the Jackson School of Geosciences. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Geological Sciences from Tufts University in 2014. My research focuses on an Early-Jurassic Lagerstätte from Alberta that contains the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event and preserves the soft tissue of Octobrachia Coleoids. The coleoids collected from this site are some of the only specimens to have been found outside of Europe for this time period. My aim is to image these fossils in novel ways in order to describe the species as well as researching the preservation and paleobiogeography of the specimens. I plan on applying to PhD programs to investigate paleoenvironmental changes in earth history, specifically I am interested in working on marine black shales and oceanic anoxia. I would like to combine geochemical techniques with my paleontological background to investigate environmental perturbations around black shale deposits as well as expanding the record of known oceanic anoxic events outside of the Northern Hemisphere (specifically North America and Europe). Additionally, I would like to investigate how the fauna reacted to such changes in environment as well as investigating taphonomy and small scale geochemical changes that affect an organisms ability to be preserved. In my spare time I enjoy traveling and have had wonderful opportunities in school as an undergraduate and graduate student to travel internationally. Having spent time in South America I would love to go back to complete research in Argentina or Chile or other parts of Latin America.

Chiara Tornabene, M.S., expected 2016 (Supervisor)
I'm is a second year Masters student working with Dr. Rowan Martindale. My current research aims to determine novel proxies to test for photosymbiosis in Mesozoic corals. Photosymbiosis is a mutualistic relationship between modern corals and dinoflagellates called zooxanthellae. Because zooxanthellae are not preserved in the fossil record, my research aims to define a quantitative proxy for ancient photosymbiosis using stable isotope geochemistry.

2015Spring GEO 394 Rsch Invertebrate Paleoecology
2015Spring GEO 391 Exceptional Fossilization
2015Spring GEO 391 Evolution Of Reef Ecosystems
2014Fall GEO 394 Rsch Invertebrate Paleoecology

PhD Student (Graduate)
I am accepting applications for a new PhD Student in my lab. This student must be interested in paleontological or carbonate sedimentology research (both would be best), and should be aware of the current/recent projects in the Martindale Lab. Exceptional MSc students will be considered, but preference is for a doctoral student (prior research experience at the undergraduate or MSc level is desired).


Martindale Lab Website
The website for the Martindale research group at UT Austin.

Finding Fossils
This is my science blog, check it out for photos and stories from the field and my research.

Non-vertebrate Paleontology Lab
The Non-vertebrate Paleontology Lab website on Pickle Research Campus

GSA Geobiology & Geomicrobiology Website
News and Updates from the GSA Geobiology & Geomicrobiology Division