Contributions and New Methods in Paleontology: Geochemical, Ultrastructural, and Microstructural Characterization of Archean, Proterozoic, and Phanerozoic Fossils
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While the chapters presented in this dissertation may not have a unifying theme in terms of a distinct fossil organism or specific time in Earthâ s history, furthering the use of electron- and ion- microbeam instrumentation and expanding the paleo-genres to which digital paleobiological approaches may be applied encompasses the fundamental intention of my research. Two of the chapters reported here focus on the geochemical, ultrastructural, and microstructural investigation of organic-walled microfossils, or acritarchs, from the Paleoproterozoic (2500â 1600 Ma) and Mesoproterozoic (1600â 1000 Ma), using a range of advanced instrumentation including field emission scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, laser Raman spectroscopy, electron microprobe, secondary ion mass spectroscopy, and focused ion beam electron microscopy. Moving into the Neoproterozoic (1000â 542 Ma), the third primary research chapter utilizes field emission scanning electron microscopy for high-resolution, high magnification imaging and quantitative evaluation of an entire fossil assemblageâ from acritarchs and algal fossils to the earliest metazoan embryos. This study was conducted in an effort to examine and describe the phosphatization taphonomic window of the Doushantuo Formation of South China, which is a prime example of exceptional preservation. Finally, the fourth primary research chapter reported here uses field emission scanning electron microscopy and environmental scanning electron microscopy in a field of paleobiology in which advanced instrumentation has been highly underutilized â predatory-prey interactions. This research examines microstructural characteristics of predatory drill holes in both modern and fossil organisms in an attempt to mitigate the identification of predation traces in the fossil record.
- Doctoral Dissertations