I am a new Assistant Professor at UT Austin (Fall 2014), while I get my UT website sorted out, please find information about my past, current, and future areas of research on my Harvard website: www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~rmartindale. I am looking for prospective undergraduate and graduate students to join my research group! The lab is already involved with many paleontological, geobiological, and sedimentological projects so please contact me if think you may be interested in joining the group.*

I am primarily interested in reef paleoecology and the geobiology of carbon cycle perturbation events (e.g. ocean acidification 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. In future work, I am interested in combining my research on ancient ocean carbon cycle perturbations and reef 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



Graduate Students

Anna M Weiss, Ph.D., expected 2019 (Supervisor)

Selva Marroquin, M.S., expected 2016 (Supervisor)

Chiara Tornabene, M.S., expected 2016 (Supervisor)