David Moss

Department of Earth Sciences

216 Heroy GL

Email: dkmoss@syr.edu

David's CV

PhD Student Earth Sciences
Advisor: Linda Ivany

Research Interests

My research interests are primarily in evolutionary paleobiology and throughout my academic career I have worked on a wide range of organisms.  While an undergrad at Centenary College of Louisiana, I measured over 5,000 serrations on the teeth of great white and megatoothed sharks to better understand the evolutionary relationships of these two groups.  Serrations from the megatoothed lineage showed an evolutionary trend towards fine and regular serrations, whereas serrations from fossil and modern great white sharks showed coarseness and irregularity that resemble serrations from early in the megatoothed lineage.  As a result, I concluded that great white sharks are most closely related to the broad

SEM Images of microfossils

 As a masters student at the University of Oklahoma, I examined the sequence stratigraphy of the Lebanon Limestone near Nashville, Tennessee and also conducted a phylogenetic analysis on a group of poorly understood Ordovician encrinurine trilobites (Moss and Westrop 2013, in prep). The results of the phylogenetic analysis showed support for the establishment of a monophyletic Walencrinuroides, but little support for the genus Frencrinuroides as established by previous authors.

Image of outline of evolutionary diagram

My research at Syracuse will investigate the evolution of extreme longevity in bivalves.  Less than two dozen modern animals have maximum reported lifespans that exceed 100 years.  Of these, no group accounts for more than one representative, except for the bivalves, which contain an astonishing 12 species that reach centenarian ages.  Furthermore, the longest lived non-colonial animal, Arctica islandica (507 years, Wanamaker et al., 2012) has caught the attention of the geroentological community as it does not appear to age!  I plan to investigate environmental and phylogenetic controls on extreme longevity using the fossil record.  For the environmental controls I plan to examine lifespans of taxa from the Eocene of Antarctica, which is a unique warm, high paleolatitude setting that already has one reported “centenarian”, Cucullaea raea (Buick and Ivany, 2004).  To answer phylogenetic questions I plan on examining lifespans throughout the phylogenies of Glycymeris and Arctica.


EAR 117 Oceanography Recitation

EAR 325 Paleobiology Lab


Moss, David K. and Westrop, Stephen R.  2012.  Systematics of some Late Ordovician encrinurid trilobites from North America.  Manuscript in prep. For submission to Journal of Paleontology, anticipated  June, 2013.  60 manuscript pages.

Moss, David K. and Westrop, Stephen R.  2012.  Sorting through a paraphyletic garbage can: a phylogenetic analysis of middle and upper Ordovician "Encrinuoides" (trilobita) species from Laurentian North America.  Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, v. 44, no. 7, p. 233.

Moss, David K. and Westrop, Stephen R. 2011.  Trilobite biofacies and lithofacies of the upper Ordovician (Sandbian) Lebanon Limestone, Nashville Dome, Tennessee.  Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, v. 43, no. 5, p.83. 

Moss, David K. and Agnew, Jeffrey G. 2008.  Patterns of serrations on the teeth of fossil great white and megatoothed sharks.  Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 40, no. 6, p. 177. 

Contact Us

Department of Earth Sciences
204 Heroy GL
Ph: 315-443-2672
Fx: 315-443-3363

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