Researcher Profile

Jackson School of Geosciences

Rowan C Martindale

Rowan C Martindale
Assistant Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences

Work: +1 512 475 6439
Office: JGB 3.216A
Mailcode: C1100

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

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 reef crisis and Toarcian Ocean Anoxic Event from the Early Jurassic (~183 Ma). 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. Another aspect of my research is Early Jurassic Lagerstatten, 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, Oceanic Anoxic Events, invertebrate paleontology (corals, sponges, algae, microbes), Mesozoic marine communities and ecosystems, exceptional fossil preservation (Lagerstätten), 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 )

CAREER Award - National Science Foundation (2019)

Best paper in 2019 for the journal “Papers in Palaeontology”: - Palaeontology (2019)

Acknowledgement for support of students with disabilities - UT Austin (2018)

Carolyn G. and G. Moses Knebel Teaching Award (teaching excellence in an introductory undergraduate course in the Department of Geological Sciences) - Jackson School of Geoscience (2017)

UT Austin Mentoring fellowship - University of Texas at Austin (2017)

JSG Outstanding Service Award - Jackson School of Geosciences (UT Austin) (2017)

2013 Outstanding Paper in Palaios - SEPM (2015)

Critical infrastructure upgrades and expanded digital access to Non-vertebrate Paleontology Collections at the University of Texas at Austin - NSF Collections in Support of Biological Research (2015)

CNS Catalyst Grant - University of Texas at Austin, College of Natural Sciences (2015 - 2016)

JSG Seed Grant - Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin (2013 - 2016)

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

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

AGU Session Organizer, AGU Annual Meeting (2015 - 2016)

Science Advisor, Paleontological Society of Austin (2015 - Present)

AGU Outstanding Student Presentation Judge, Judge and Session Liason, American Geophysical Union (AGU) (2015 - Present)

Session Chair, Caribbean Coral Reefs at Risk Symposium (2015)

Poster Symposium Judge, Jackson School of Geosciences Student Symposium (2015 - Present)

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

Board of Directors, Workshop Committee, STEPPE Consortium (2014 - Present)

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

Reviewer, NSF; Science; Geology; Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology; Sedimentology (2008 - Present)


Drew Muscente
Drew Muscente is a postdoctoral fellow with a background in biology and geology. After receiving a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Cornell University, Drew completed his Ph.D. in Geosciences at Virginia Tech, where his work focused on the geomicrobiological processes and paleoenvironments that allow for fossilization of soft and labile tissues. He then spent two years as a postdoc at...

William Foster, 2015 - 2017

Graduate Students

Estefania Salgado-Jauregui , Ph.D., expected 2022 (Co-supervisor)
Estefania is a PhD candidate and a Fulbright scholar at the Jackson School of Geosciences, co-advised by professors Dr. Rowan Martindale and Dr. Katherine Ellis, Program Director of Geoscience Education Research. Estefania’s research is aimed to incorporate geoscience education research into geoconservation strategies, she is especially interested in the relation nature-society, how place-based education increases sense of place, and how...

Anna M Weiss , Ph.D., expected 2019 (Supervisor)
I am a 5th year PhD Candidate (ABD) in the Martindale Lab at The University of Texas at Austin. I received my undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Geology from Stony Brook University in 2013. I am a paleontologist and carbonate sedimentologist interested in how corals and reef ecosystems respond to environmental and climate stress, especially during the Paleocene and Eocene...

Benjamin Smith , Ph.D., expected 2019 (Committee Member)
I am fourth year PhD student studying carbonate sedimentology and stratigraphy. I am interested in ancient carbonate platforms as both reservoirs as well as records of biogeochemical change throughout earth history. My research focuses on unravelling this carbonate record by integrating outcrop-based field studies with quantitative data such as 3D point cloud models and geochemistry.

Sinjini Sinha (Supervisor)
Sinjini Sinha is a Ph.D. student in the Martindale lab. Her current research focuses on taphonomic pathways that leads to exceptional fossil preservation in the Early Jurassic. Broadly, Sinjini's research addresses critical questions about Earth-Life interactions in deep-time through the synergistic activities of multi-disciplinary science (Paleontology, Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, Geochemistry, etc.). Her previous research focused on the systematics and paleoecology of...

Travis N Stone (Supervisor)
Travis Stone is a first year PhD student working in the Martindale lab. He received his B.S. in Geological Sciences in 2018 from California State University, Fullerton, where he studied Triassic reefs and their recovery following the End-Permian mass extinction in the Panthalassic Ocean. Travis is interested in ecosystem reconstruction following extinction events and other environmental stressors and plans...

Nicholas Ettinger, M.S., 2017 (Supervisor)

Kelly Hattori, M.S., 2017 (Supervisor)

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

Chiara Tornabebe, M.S., 2016 (Supervisor)

Hannah Brame (Supervisor)

Paleontological Society of Austin seminar speaker, Paleontological Society of Austin, Austin, TX (2018)

McConnell Club Invited Speaker, Geological Survey of Canada, Calgary, Canada (2017)

Repsol Invited Speaker, Repsol, Calgary, Canada (2017)

Goldschmidt Invited Speaker, Goldschmidt, Paris, France (2017)

Boone Pickens School of Geology Invited Speaker (Department Seminar), Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma (2017)

Stout Lecture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska (2017)

Mesozoic Marine Communities and the Extinctions that Shaped Them, Texas A&M University, College Station (2016)

Reefs, Extinctions, and Lagerstätten! Oh My!, University of Texas, San Antonio, San Antonio (2015)

Reefs, Lagerstätten, and Extinctions!, Paleontological Society of Austin, Austin (2015)

2020Spring GEO 405 Life Through Time
2019Fall GEO 397L Transitions In Hist Of Life
2019Fall GEO 322J Transitions In History Of Life
2019Summer GEO f660A Field Geo-Tx/Nm/Co/Wy/Mt/Id/Ut
2019Spring GEO 389E Evolution Of Reef Ecosystems
2019Spring GEO 369E Evolution Of Reef Ecosystems
2019Spring GEO 405 Life Through Time
2018Summer GEO f660A Field Geo-Tx/Nm/Co/Wy/Mt/Id/Ut
2018Spring GEO 405 Life Through Time
2017Fall GEO 397L Transitions In Hist Of Life
2017Fall GEO 322J Transitions In History Of Life
2017Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Geological Sciences
2017Spring GEO 405 Life Through Time
2016Fall GEO 389E Evolution Of Reef Ecosystems
2016Fall GEO 371T Evolution Of Reef Ecosystems
2016Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Geological Sciences
2016Spring GEO 405 Life Through Time
2015Fall GEO 394 Rsch In Geological Sciences
2015Fall GEO 391 Transitions In History Of Life
2015Fall GEO 371T Transitions In History Of Life
2015Spring GEO 391 Exceptional Fossilization
2015Spring GEO 391 Evolution Of Reef Ecosystems

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