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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Colby College
  • Robert A Gastaldo
  • (207) 859-5807
Award Date:07/21/2016
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 190,345
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 190,345
  • FY 2016=$190,345
Start Date:09/01/2016
End Date:08/31/2019
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:ABR/RUI Is the Terrestrial Permian-Triassic Boundary in the Karoo Basin? Implications for the Response of the Terrestrial Ecosystems to the End-Permian Extinction Event
Federal Award ID Number:1624302
DUNS ID:071741268
Parent DUNS ID:071741268
Program Officer:
  • Dena Smith
  • (703) 292-8550

Awardee Location

Street:4000 Mayflower Hill
Awardee Cong. District:01

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Colby College
Cong. District:01

Abstract at Time of Award

Earth's biosphere experienced its greatest mass extinction ~251.9 million years ago at the end of the Permian Age. In approximately 60,000 years, the oceans experienced a loss of 90% of marine life. Many workers believe that a similar change co-occurred on land, but rock-and-fossil records from the continents are not well dated. For more than a century, the Karoo Basin, South Africa, has served as the center for interpreting the response of terrestrial ecosystems to this crisis. The current proposal uses a multidisciplinary, international team of geoscientists to refine the physical and chemical conditions around which the biological event is believed to have occurred in this basin. Field-and-laboratory training of undergraduate STEM students continues to be an integral component of the project, educating the next generation of geoscientists in an understanding of Earth Systems in deep time. Mechanisms responsible for the end-Permian biodiversity loss are attributed to changes in atmospheric and oceanic chemistries. These were a consequence of the emplacement of basalt in a large igneous province, the Siberian Traps. Increasing atmospheric gas concentrations, accompanied by increasing global temperatures, stressed the physiological limits of the plants and animals. It is essential to know if these stresses affected both marine and terrestrial ecosystems, concurrently, or if their responses are temporally out of phase. This project will use stratigraphy, sedimentology, magnetic rock properties, and whole-rock and stable-isotope geochemistry to look at the physical and chemical conditions, in addition to paleontology and palynology to determine the biological components, and constrain these in time (employing high resolution geochronology). An empirical model will be developed to assess the stratigraphic applicability of paleobiological data, leading to a better interpretation of the latest Permian to earliest Triassic terrestrial transition.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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Gastaldo, R.A., Neveling, J., Looy, C.V., Bamford, M.K., Kamo, S.L., and Geissman, J.W., "Paleontology of the Blaauwater 67 Farm, South Africa: Testing the Daptocephalus/Lystrosaurus Biozone Boundary in a Stratigraphic Framework:" Palaios, v.34, 2017, p.349. doi:DOI: 

Li, J., Gastaldo, R.A., Neveling, J., and Geissman, J.W., "Siltstones Across the Daptocephalus (Dicynodon) and Lystrosaurus Assemblage Zones, Karoo Basin, South Africa, Show No Evidence for Aridification" Journal of Sedimentary Research, v.87, 2017, p.653. doi:DOI: 

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