Robert Gastaldo, Whipple-Coddington Professor of Geology, was invited by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to return to Germany this year during his sabbatical to work with colleagues at the Steinmann Institute in Bonn. 

He will continue collaborative work begun when he won a research prize from the foundation prior to his appointment at Colby. At that time he spent a year at the Palaontologische Museum in Gottingen, and he and his German colleagues reconstructed Tertiary-aged, landscape vegetational patterns prior to the global climate decrease that accompanied the current icehouse state.

Gastaldo and Carole Gee will study the mineralogical and geochemical pathways responsible for preserving fossil wood, commonly known as “petrified wood.” They plan field work in the Miocene-aged “petrified forest” of Lesbos, Greece, and the Permian-aged forest of Chemnitz, Germany. Results will be incorporated into Gastaldo’s introductory paleontology course at Colby titled Record of Life.