Susan Kidwell William Rainey Harper Professor

Research Focus:
Stratigraphy, taphonomy, historical ecology
(773) 702-3008
Hinds 261

Research Interests

My primary research interest is understanding the formation of fossil records. What controls the abundance of skeletal remains (e.g., shells and bones), how time-averaged (age-mixed) are these remains per assemblage, and how accurately is community composition and structure captured given that temporal resolution -- to what extent is biological information skewed (biased) by inter-species differences in post-mortem durability and by out-of-habitat transport? I use ship-based fieldwork, sample rescue (from wastewater agencies), meta-analysis, and modeling to assess how very young fossil records (especially dead remains that are only now accumulating on the seafloor or landscape) can be used to acquire baseline information from before the onset of human activities. Such insights are essential to evaluating anthropogenic impacts and developing targets for remediation. My primary focus has been on continental shelves -- the majority of the marine fossil record accumulated in such shallow subtidal seafloors --, using southern California and the northern Red Sea as major study systems, and others in the group have been extending this approach to higher-latitude shelves (Oregon, Alaska) and estuaries (Puget Sound, WA), lakes (ostracodes), and terrestrial settings (small and large mammals).

Although this work is motivated largely by the need to solve modern-day environmental problems, it also lets us push toward a rigorous mechanistic understanding of skeletal preservation -- rates of recycling and sequestration, how shell reactivity might be reset at a microstructural level, and the consequences for isotopic and other proxy data carried by shells (all new directions). Understanding these dynamics is also essential to interpreting the older fossil record. I started out using very thin (Maryland) and very thick (California) Neogene stratigraphic records, then went geologically deeper & geographically all over to evaluate large-scale trends (evolution of shell beds, variation with latitude & nutrients). I basically walked away from rock-hammer work in ~2000 to concentrate on modern systems & societal applications of very young fossil records. I am now looping back to stratigraphy in my research via core-based analysis of post-glacial shelves, but have never stopped advising students in stratigraphic analysis of older records, which is still closest to my heart. 

The kinds of papers I write (full list below):

  • Meadows, CA, JM Grebmeier, SM Kidwell, 2019. High-latitude benthic bivalve biomass and recent climate change: testing the power of live-dead discordance in the Pacific Arctic.  Deep-Sea Research II: Topical Studies, 162:152-153. [pdf]
  • Tomasovych, A., and S.M. Kidwell, 2017. Nineteenth-century collapse of a benthic marine ecosystem on the open continental shelf. Proc Roy Soc London B 284: 20170328.
  • Kidwell, S.M., 2015. Biology in the Anthropocene: Challenges from young fossil records. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 112: 4922-4929. pdf

Conservation Paleobiology -- teaching materials

1. Students reconstruct the pre-Colonial to present-day history of a major US estuary using published data from sedimentary cores, learn to evaluate multiple working hypotheses of natural and human drivers; I developed this for students in a non-majors course on earth history, used at end of course when focusing on human evolution and the 'Anthropocene'

Environmental History of the Chesapeake Bay: Using Sedimentary Cores to Test for Stages and Drivers of Ecosystem Decline (2008 version). [pdf 2] NB most of the web-sites listed in last Synthesis section were taken down by agencies in 2018. 

2. Students develop *hypotheses of stress on downstream water bodies based on their reconstruction of the cultural and economic history of their hometown watershed, using diverse web sources [starts with EPA's Surf Your Watershed, taken down 2018; will need revision to accomodate EPA's new version in 2021, Know Your Watershed]; learn about challenges of acquiring quantitative data even for economic measures in the very recent past, of comparing diverse kinds and qualities of data, and of modeling expected net effects. Serves as 2-week capstone individual project for lab portion of a non-majors course in earth history at UChicago, could work for students at several different levels (trialed in 2014 & 2015).

Human Stressors on Watersheds: A Scavenger Hunt [pdf Intro-Background -- too large, email me] [pdf Instructions & Questions form -- email me] [Teachers Guide pdf -- email me] [So California Resources for Teachers -- email me] [pdf worked example Net Stress NY]

Lab Alums & Other Friends

Current Group -- see their web pages!

  • Rachel Laker (PhD cand.) "Preservational heterogeneity of marine vertebrates in a sequence stratigraphic context: inferring exposure and burial dynamics from bone diagenesis" 
  • Broc Kokesh (PhD cand.) "Taphonomic and biotic responses to spatio-temporal gradients: molluscan death assemblages, Salish Sea, WA"
  • Sophia Carryl (PhD cand. CEB, co-advised with Rachel Santymire) "Physiological responses of wild species along an urban-rural gradient"
  • Melissa Wood (pre-cand., co-advised with Graham Slater) "Response of mammalian communities to climate- and tectonics-driven habitat changes"
  • Lilja Carden (undergrad Geo major) -- modern Bering-Chukchi Seas & Puget Sound
  • Thomas Cortellesi (undergrad Geo major) -- modern Puget Sound

Members from last 10 years

  • Caitlin Meadows (PhD 2020, now Data Science Manager, Ascend Innovations. "Community-Level Biotic Response to Increasing Climate Variability During the Last 150 Years on the Continental Shelf of the Pacific Arctic"”.
  • Peter W. Tierney (2018 PhD, now Program Coordinatory, Science & Religion, Lumen Christi Institute). “Characterizing and quantifying habitat heterogeneity, extinction, and persistence of habitat preference in Phanerozoic reefs”
  • Madeline Marshall (2018 PhD, now Asst Prof (Geology), Albion College. “Sequence stratigraphy and taphonomic expression of hiatuses in a highly condensed, organic- and phosphate-rich record: Permian Phosphoria Rock Complex, southeastern Idaho”
  • Mackenzie Mandich (2017 BS w Honors Enviro Sci, then MS Enviro Eng ETH Zurich, now Catastrophe Risk Analyst, Intact). “Ranked effects of heavy metals on marine bivalves in laboratory mesocosms: A meta-analysis", pub 2018 Marine Pollution Bulletin
  • Kristen Jenkins Voorhies (2015 PhD CEB, co-advised w Tim Wootton, now Biologist, US Fish & Wildlife Service). “Variability in marine molluscan communities: Historical versus modern drivers across local and regional scales, Oregon continental shelf" 
  • Matthew Bizjack (2013 BS w Honors Geosci, then MS Hydrogeology UIUC, now geologist at Geosyntec Consultants). “The trouble with dribbles: Detection of dredged material on the seafloor using dead mollusk shells”, pub 2017 Marine Pollution Bulletin
  • Mara Brady (2012 PhD, now Assoc Prof (Geology) Calif State Univ Fresno."Carbonate sequences from cratonic interior versus continental margin settings: a comparative stratigraphic and taphonomic analysis of the Devonian of Iowa and Nevada"
  • Christina Belanger (2011 PhD, co-advised w Pam Martin, now Asst Prof (Geology) Texas A&M University. "From the individual to the community: Biotic responses to Early Miocene warming and continental shelf dysoxia (Astoria Formation, Oregon)"

Members pre-2010, Univ. Chicago

  • Joshua Miller, 2009 PhD, now Asst Prof (Geol Sci) Univ Cincinnati. "The large mammal death assemblage of Yellowstone National Park: Historical ecology, conservation biology, paleoecology"

  • Rebecca Terry, 2008 PhD, now Assoc Prof (Integr Biology) Oregon State University. "Raptors, rodents, and paleoecology: recovering ecological baselines from Great Basin caves" 

  • Bjarte Hannisdal, 2006 PhD, now Assoc Prof (Earth Sci), Univ Bergen. "Inferring evolutionary patterns from fossil records using Bayesian inversion: an application to the Miocene of the mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain"

  • Thomas Rothfus, 2005 PhD, now Res Asst Prof & Director, Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon, Univ Illinois Springfield. "Taphonomic damage, taxonomic identifiability, & preservational quality: implications for bias in paleoecological data" 

  • Yael Edelman-Furstenberg, 2004 PhD, now Head (Strat & Subsurf Reserach), Geological Survey of Israel. "Macrobenthic paleoecology of high-productivity marine environments, Cretaceous of Israel and Recent of Namibia"

  • Francesca (Smith) McInerney, 2002 PhD, co-advised w Jim White, UC Boulder; now ARC Future Fellow, University of Adelaide. "Biogeography of Neogene C3 & C4 grasses: C-isotopic signatures of phytoliths"

  • Mairi Best, 2000 PhD, now senior consultant, Environmental Observation Systems, Sudbury CA."Fates of bivalve skeletal carbonate in tropical siliciclastics and carbonates, Caribbean Panama"
  • Richard Lupia, 1997 PhD, co-advised w Pete Crane; now Gelphman Assoc. Prof. (Geosci) & Assoc. Curator, Univ. Oklahoma. “Palynological record of the Cretaceous angiosperm radiation: Diversity, abundance and morphological patterns"

  • Raymond Rogers, 1995 PhD, now Dewitt Wallace Prof. & Chair (Geology) Macalester College. "Sequence stratigraphy and vertebrate taphonomy of Upper Cretaceous Two Medicine and Judith River Formations, Montana"

  • Eric Gyllenhaal, 1991 PhD, now Educator, Wonder Works Children's Museum, IL. "How accurately can paleo-precipitation and paleoclimatic change be interpreted from subaerial unconformities?"

  • Steven Holland, 1990 PhD, now Prof (Geosci) University of Georgia. "Distinguishing eustasy and tectonics in foreland sequences: Upper Ordovician Cincinnati Arch & Appalachian Basin"

Univ Arizona Days

  • Charles Winker, 1987 PhD, co-advised w Bill Dickinson; now Senior Research Geologist (ret.), Shell Explor Prod Co. "Neogene stratigraphy of the Fish Creek-Vallecito section, southern California: Implications for early history of the northern Gulf of California and Colorado Delta" 

  • Richard Norris, 1986 MS, then PhD Harvard; now Professor, Scripps Inst Oceanogr, Univ Calif San Diego. MS thesis “Taphonomic gradients in shelf fossil assemblages: Pliocene Purisima Formation, California” (pub. Palaios)

  • Nancy Beckvar, 1986 MS, now Enviro Sci (ret), National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration, Seattle. MS thesis “Stratigraphy, taphonomy, and faunal-substrate relations in a Pleistocene marine terrace near Punta Chueca, Sonora, Mexico” (pub Palaios)

  • Alison Hess, 1985 MS, now Project Manager, Environmental Protection Agency, NYC. MS thesis “Chertification of the Redwall Limstone (Mississippian), Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona”

  • Dennis Sylvia, 1985 MS, then PhD Univ Texas Austin, now consultant, natural resource & enviro compliance management. MS thesis “Stratigraphy, paleoenvironments, and geohistory analysis of the Mississippian Redwall Limestone and coeval strata, Arizona and Nevada”

More publications & pdfs:

Research Papers

  • Edelman-Furstenberg Y, SM Kidwell, and HC de Stigter, 2020. Mixing depths and sediment accumulation rates on an arid tropical shelf based on fine-fraction 210Pb analysis. Marine Geology, 425, p.106198. [pdf]
  • Tomasovych A, SM Kidwell, D Kaufman, and CR Alexander, 2019. Millennial-scale age offsets within benthic assemblages: Product of out-of-phase production and bioturbation below the taphonomic active zone. Paleoceanography Paleoclimatology 34(6), pp.954-977. [pdf]
  • Meadows, CA, JM Grebmeier, SM Kidwell, 2019. High-latitude benthic bivalve biomass and recent climate change: testing the power of live-dead discordance in the Pacific Arctic.  Deep-Sea Research II: Topical Studies, 162:152-153.  [pdf]
  • Leonard-Pingel, JS, SM Kidwell, A Tomasovych, CR Alexander, DB Cadien, 2019. Gauging benthic recovery from 20th-century pollution on the southern California continental shelf using bivalves from sediment cores. Marine Ecology Progress Series 615: 101–119. [pdf]
  • Gilad, E., S.M. Kidwell, Y. Benayahu, Y. Edelman-Furstenberg, 2018. Unrecognized loss of seagrass communities based on molluscan death assemblages: historic baseline shift in tropical Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series 89: 73–83.  [pdf]
  • Michelson, A., S.M. Kidwell, L.E. Park Boush, & J.L. Ash, 2018. Testing for human impacts in the mismatch of living and dead ostracode assemblages at nested spatial scales in subtropical lakes from the Bahamian archipelago. Paleobiology 44(4), pp.758-782. [pdf]
  • Tomasovych, A., S.M. Kidwell, 2017. Nineteenth-century collapse of a benthic marine ecosystem on the open continental shelf. Proc Roy Soc London B 284: 20170328. [pdf] pdf of electronic supplement
  • Bizjack*, M.T., S.M. Kidwell, R. Velarde, J. Leonard-Pingel, and A. Tomasovych, 2017. Detecting, sourcing, and age-dating dredged sediments on the open shelf, southern California, using dead mollusk shells. Marine Pollution Bulletin 114(1), pp.448-465. *Univ Chicago undergraduate [pdf]
  • Tomašových, A., S.M. Kidwell, and R.F. Barber, 2016. Inferring skeletal production from time-averaged assemblages: skeletal loss pulls the timing of production pulses towards the modern period." Paleobiology 42 (1):  54 - 76. [pdf]
  • Rogers, R.R., S.M. Kidwell, A.L. Deino, J.P. Mitchell, K. Nelson, and J.T. Thole, 2016. Age, correlation, and lithostratigraphic revision of the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) Judith River Formation in Its type area (north-central Montana), with a comparison of low- and high-accommodation alluvial records. Journal of Geology 124: 99-135. [pdf]
  • Edelman-Furstenberg, Y., and S.M. Kidwell, 2015. Chemosymbiont-dominated seafloor communities in modern and Cretaceous upwelling systems support a new, high-productivity variant of standard low-oxygen models. Geology v. 43, no. 11, p. 975–978. Data Repository item 2015329; doi:10.1130/G37017.1  [pdf
  • Kidwell, S.M., L.E. Edwards, D.S. Powars, P.R. Vogt, 2015. Miocene stratigraphy and paleoenvironments of the Calvert Cliffs, Maryland, in D.K. Brezinski, J.P. Halka, and R.A. Ortt, Jr., eds., Tripping from the Fall Line: Field Excursions for the GSA Annual Meeting, Baltimore, 2015: Geological Society of America Field Guide 40, p. 231–279, doi:10.1130/2015.0040(08). [pdf]
  • Powars, D.S., L.E. Edwards, S.M. Kidwell, and J.S. Schindler, 2015. Cenozoic stratigraphy and structure of the Chesapeake Bay region, in D.K. Brezinski, J.P. Halka, and R.A. Ortt, Jr., eds., Tripping from the Fall Line: Field Excursions for the GSA Annual Meeting, Baltimore, 2015: Geological Society of America Field Guide 40, p. 171–229, doi:10.1130/2015.0040(07). [email me for pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 2015. Biology in the Anthropocene: Challenges from young fossil records. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, , 112: 4922-4929. [invited perspective, pdf]
  • Dietl, G.P., S.M. Kidwell, M. Brenner, D.A. Burney, K.W. Flessa, S.T. Jackson, P.L. Koch, 2015. Conservation paleobiology: Leveraging knowledge of the past to inform conservation and restoration. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Science, 43: 79–103. [pdf]
  • Tomasovych, A., S.M. Kidwell, R. Foygel, and D. Kaufman, 2014. Long-term accumulation of carbonate shells reflects a 100-fold drop in loss rate. Geology 42(9), 819-822. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 2013. Time-averaging and fidelity of modern death assemblages: Building a taphonomic foundation for conservation paleobiology. Palaeontology 44: 487-522. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., and A. Tomasovych, 2013. Implications of time-averaged death assemblages for ecology and conservation biology. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 44: 539–563. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-110512-135838. [pdf] [pdf Supplement]
  • Tomasovych, A. and S.M. Kidwell, 2011. Accounting for the effects of biological variability and temporal autocorrelation in assessing the preservation of species abundance. Paleobiology 37: 332-354. doi:10.1666/09506.1 [pdf]
  • Kosnik, M.A., A. K. Behrensmeyer, F. T. Fürsich, R. A. Gastaldo, S. M. Kidwell, M. Kowalewski, R. E. Plotnick, R. R. Rogers, P. J. Wagner, and J. Alroy, 2011. Changes in the shell durability of common marine taxa through the Phanerozoic: Evidence for biological rather than taphonomic drivers. Paleobiology 37: 303-331. [email me for pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M. and T.A. Rothfus, 2010. The live, the dead, and the expected dead: variation in life span yields little bias of proportional abundances in bivalve death assemblages. Paleobiology 36: 615-640. [pdf] [pdf Suppl with Table of Bivalve Lifespans]
  • Tomasovych, A. and S.M. Kidwell, 2010. Effects of temporal scaling on species composition, diversity, and rank-abundance distributions in benthic assemblages. Paleobiology 36: 672-695. [pdf]
  • Tomasovych, A. and S.M. Kidwell, 2010. The effects of temporal resolution on species turnover and on testing metacommunity models. American Naturalist 175: 587-606. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 2009. Evaluating human modification of shallow marine ecosystems: mismatch in composition of molluscan living and time-averaged death assemblages, p. 113-139. In G.P. Dietl and K.W. Flessa, eds., Conservation Paleobiology: Using the Past to Manage for the Future. Paleontological Society Papers Vol. 15, 113-139. [pdf]
  • Tomasovych, A. and S.M. Kidwell, 2009. Preservation of spatial and environmental gradients by death assemblages. Paleobiology 35: 122-148. [pdf]
  • Tomasovych, A. and S.M. Kidwell, 2009. Fidelity of variation in species composition and diversity partitioning by death assemblages: time-averaging transfers diversity from beta to alpha levels. Paleobiology 35: 97-121. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 2008. Ecological fidelity of open marine molluscan death assemblages: effects of post-mortem transportation, shelf health, and taphonomic inertia. Lethaia 41: 199-217. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 2007. Discordance between living and death assemblages as evidence for anthropogenic ecological change. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. vol. 104 (45): 17701–17706. [with commentary by J.P. Smol, Marine sediments tell it like it was, p. 17563–17564.]  [pdf] [pdf of Supp Info on Study Areas]
  • Rogers, RR, and SM Kidwell, 2007. The origin and interpretation of bonebeds, p. 1-63. In Rogers, RR, D Eberth and A Fiorillo, eds, Bonebeds: Genesis, Analysis, and Paleobiological Significance. Univ Chicago Press. [pdf]
  • Best, M.M.R, T. C.W. Ku, S. M. Kidwell, and L. M. Walter, 2007 Carbonate preservation in shallow marine environments: Unexpected role of tropical siliciclastics. J. Geology 115, p. 437–456. [pdf]
  • Olszewski, T.A. and S.M. Kidwell, 2007. The preservational fidelity of evenness in molluscan death assemblages. Paleobiology 33: 1-23. [email me for pdf]
  • Lotze, H.K., H.S. Lenihan, B.J. Bourque, R. Bradbury, R.G. Cooke, M. Kay, S.M. Kidwell, M.X. Kirby, C.H. Peterson, J.B.C. Jackson, 2006. Depletion, degradation, and recovery potential of estuaries and coastal seas worldwide. Science 312: 1806-1809. [email me for pdf of text] [pdf Suppl Material]
  • Valentine, J.W., D. Jablonski, S.M. Kidwell, and K. Roy, 2006. Assessing the fidelity of the fossil record by using marine bivalves. Proc Nat Acad Science USA 103: 6599-6604. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 2005. Shell composition has no net impact on large-scale evolutionary patterns in mollusks. Science 307: 914-917. [pdf] [pdf Suppl Material, Method Scoring][pdf bivalve mineralogy & microstructure data]
  • Kidwell, S.M., M.M.R. Best, and D. Kaufman, 2005. Taphonomic tradeoffs in tropical marine death assemblages: differential time-averaging, shell loss, and probable bias in siliciclastic versus carbonate facies. Geology 33: 729-732. [pdf] [pdf Suppl Table Shell Ages]
  • Behrensmeyer, A. K., F. T. Fürsich, R. A. Gastaldo, S. M. Kidwell, M. A. Kosnik, M. Kowalewski, R. E. Plotnick, R. R. Rogers, and J. Alroy, 2005. Are the most durable shelly taxa also the most common in the marine fossil record? Paleobiology 31: 607-623. [email me for pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 2002. Time-averaged molluscan death assemblages: palimpsests of richness, snapshots of abundance. Geology 30 (9): 803-806. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, SM and SM Holland, 2002. Quality of the fossil record: implications for evolutionary biology. Annual Review of Ecology & Systematics 33: 561-588. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 2002. Mesh-size effects on the ecological fidelity of death assemblages: A meta-analysis of molluscan live-dead studies. Geobios mémoire spécial n. 24, 107-119. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 2002. The stratigraphy of skeletal concentrations: Testing for broad-scale trends. In. M. de Renzi et al., eds., Current Topics on Taphonomy and Fossilization (Proceedings International Conference Taphos 2002), p. 179-186. Valencia, Spain: Ayuntamiento de Valencia [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 2002. Ecological fidelity of abundance data from time-averaged fossil assemblages: Good news from the dead. In. M. de Renzi et al., eds., Current Topics on Taphonomy and Fossilization (Proceedings International Conference Taphos 2002), p. 173-178. Valencia, Spain: Ayuntamiento de Valencia [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 2001. Preservation of species abundance in marine death assemblages. Science 294: 1091-1094. [pdf easy to get online] [pdf of suppl material]
  • Jackson, J.B.C., M.X. Kirby, and 16 alphabetic authors including S.M. Kidwell, 2001. Historical overfishing and the recent collapse of coastal ecosystems. Science 293: 629-638. [pdf easy to get online]
  • Peterson, C., J. Jackson, M. Kirby, H. Lenihan, B. Bourque, R. Bradbury, R. Cooke, and S. Kidwell, 2001. Factors in the decline of coastal ecosystems. Response. Science v. 293(5535): 1590-1591. [pdf easy to get online]
  • Kidwell, S.M., TA Rothfus, and M.M.R. Best, 2001. Sensitivity of taphonomic signatures to sample size, sieve size, damage scoring system, and target taxa. Palaios 16: 26-52. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 2001 (in press since 1998). Ecological fidelity of molluscan death assemblages, p.199-221. In J.Y. Aller, S.A. Woodin, and R.C. Aller (eds.), Organism-Sediment Interactions. Belle W. Baruch Library in Marine Science no. 21, University of South Carolina Press, Columbia. [pdf NB. is work before the meta-analysis pub as Kidwell 2001 Science]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 2001. Major biases in the fossil record, p. 299-305. In Paleobiology II, A Synthesis (D.E.G. Briggs and PR Crowther, eds.). Oxford: Blackwell. [pdf]
  • Behrensmeyer, A.K., S.M. Kidwell, and R. Gastaldo, 2000. Taphonomy and paleobiology. In DH Erwin and SL Wing, eds, Deep Time, Paleobioloogy’s Perspective. Paleobiology, Supplement to Volume 26(4): 103-147. [pdf]
  • Rogers, R.R., and S.M. Kidwell, 2000. Associations of vertebrate skeletal concentrations and discontinuity surfaces in nonmarine and shallow marine records: A test in the Cretaceous of Montana. J. Geology 108 (2): 131-154. [email me for pdf]
  • Best, M.M.R, and S.M. Kidwell, 2000. Bivalve taphonomy in tropical mixed siliciclastic-carbonate settings: II. Effect of bivalve life-habits and shell types. Paleobiology 26 (1): 103-115. [pdf]
  • Best, M.M.R, and S.M. Kidwell, 2000. Bivalve taphonomy in tropical mixed siliciclastic-carbonate settings: I. Environmental variation in shell condition. Paleobiology 26 (1): 80-102. [pdf]
  • Dorsey, R.J., and S.M. Kidwell, 1999. Mixed carbonate-siliciclastic sedimentation on a tectonically active margin: example from the Pliocene of Baja California Sur, Mexico. Geology 27: 935-938. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., and E.D. Gyllenhaal, 1998. Symbiosis, competition, and physical disturbance in the growth histories of cheilostome bryoliths, Pliocene Imperial Formation, California. Lethaia 31: 221-239. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 1998. Time-averaging in the marine fossil record: overview of strategies and uncertainties. Géobios 30: 977-995. [email me for pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 1997. Anatomy of extremely thin marine sequences landward of a passive-margin hinge zone: Neogene Calvert Cliffs succession, Maryland. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 67B: 322-340. [pdf]
  • Roy, K., J.W. Valentine, D. Jablonski, and S.M. Kidwell, 1996. Scales of climatic variability and time averaging in Pleistocene biotas: Implications for ecology and evolution. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 11: 458-463.
  • Winker, C.D., and S.M. Kidwell, 1996. Stratigraphy of a marine rift basin: Neogene of the western Salton Trough, California. In P.L. Abbott, J.D. Cooper, eds., Field Conference Guide 1996 (Annual meeting Amer. Assoc. Petroleum Geologists, Soc. Econ. Paleont. Mineral.): Pacific Section A.A.P.G., Guide Book 73; Pacific Section S.E.P.M., Book 80, p. 295-336. [pdf] [reprinted many times in other guidebooks; this is the original]
  • Kidwell, S.M., and P.J. Brenchley, 1996. Evolution of the fossil record: thickness trends in marine skeletal accumulations and their implications. In Evolutionary Paleobiology: Essays in Honor of James W. Valentine (D. Jablonski, D.H.Erwin, and J.H. Lipps, eds.), Univ. Chicago Press, p. 290-336. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., and K. W. Flessa, 1995. The quality of the fossil record: Populations, species, and communities. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 26: 269-299. [reprinted with additional notes in Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciencies (1996) v. 24: 433-464] [pdf of 1996 reprinting, smaller file, has extra page of refs/comments]
  • Kidwell, S.M., and P.J. Brenchley, 1994. Patterns of bioclastic accumulation through the Phanerozoic: Changes in input or in destruction? Geology 22: 1139-1143. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 1993. Patterns of time-averaging in shallow marine fossil assemblages. In Taphonomic Approaches to Time Resolution in Fossil Assemblages (S.M. Kidwell and A.K. Behrensmeyer, eds.). Paleontological Society Shortcourse 6: 275-300. 
  • Glover, C.P., and S.M. Kidwell, 1993. Influence of organic matrix on the post-mortem destruction of molluscan shells. Journal of Geology 101: 729-747. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 1993. Taphonomic expressions of sedimentary hiatus: field observations on bioclastic concentrations and sequence anatomy in low, moderate and high subsidence settings.  Geol. Rundschau 82: 189-202. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 1993. Influence of subsidence on the anatomy of marine siliciclastic sequences and on the distribution of shell and bone beds. Jour. Geol. Soc. London 150: 165-167. [pdf]
  • Kerr, D.R., and S.M. Kidwell, 1991. Late Cenozoic sedimentation and tectonics, western Salton Trough, California. In Geological Excursions in Southern California and Mexico (M.J. Walawender & B.B. Hanan, eds.). Guidebook 1991 Annual Meeting Geological Society of America, San Diego, California, p. 397-416b. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 1991. The stratigraphy of shell concentrations. In Taphonomy, Releasing the Data Locked in the Fossil Record (P.A. Allison & D.E.G. Briggs, eds.). New York: Plenum Press, p. 211-290. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., and D.W.J. Bosence, 1991. Taphonomy and time-averaging of marine shelly faunas. In Taphonomy, Releasing the Data Locked in the Fossil Record (P.A. Allison & D.E.G. Briggs, eds.). New York: Plenum Press, p. 115-209. [pdf] [Note, fold-out Table 1 is at the end of the file]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 1991. Taphonomic feedback (live/dead interactions) in the genesis of bioclastic beds: keys to reconstructing sedimentary dynamics. In Cycles and Events in Stratigraphy (G. Einsele, W. Ricken, A. Seilacher, eds.), Berlin: Springer Verlag, p. 268-282. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 1991. Condensed deposits in siliciclastic sequences: expected and observed features. In Cycles and Events in Stratigraphy (G. Einsele, W. Ricken, A. Seilacher, eds.), Berlin: Springer Verlag, p. 682-695. [email me for pdf, too large to upload]
  • Banerjee, I., and S.M. Kidwell, 1991. Significance of molluscan shell beds in sequence stratigraphy: an example from the Lower Cretaceous Mannville Group of Canada. Sedimentology 38: 913-934. 
  • Kidwell, S.M., and S.M. Holland, 1991. Field description of coarse bioclastic fabrics. Palaios 6(4): 426-434. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., and T. Baumiller, 1990. Experimental disintegration of regular echinoids: roles of temperature, oxygen and decay thresholds. Paleobiology 16 (3): 247-271. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 1990. Phanerozoic evolution of macroinvertebrate shell accumulations: Preliminary data from the Jurassic of Britain. Paleontological Society Special Publication 5: 309-327. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 1989. Stratigraphic condensation of marine transgressive records: origin of major shell deposits in the Miocene of Maryland. Jour. Geology. 97: 1-24. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 1988. Reciprocal sedimentation and non-correlative hiatuses across marine-paralic siliciclastics: Miocene outcrop evidence. Geology 16: 609-612. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 1988. Taphonomic comparison of passive and active continental margins: Neogene shell beds of the Atlantic coastal plain and northern Gulf of California. Palaeogeog. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol. 63: 201-224. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S. M., and A.K. Behrensmeyer, 1988. Overview: Ecological and evolutionary implications of taphonomic processes. Palaeogeog. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol. 63: 1-14. [email me for pdf]
  • Beckvar, N., and S.M. Kidwell, 1988. Hiatal shell concentrations, sequence analysis, and sealevel history of a Pleistocene coastal alluvial fan, Punta Chueca, Sonora. Lethaia 21: 257-270. [pdf]
  • Winker, C.D., and S.M. Kidwell, 1986. Paleocurrents of the Pliocene Colorado delta plain, Fish Creek-Vallecito Basin, southern California: Implications for paleogeography of the early northern Gulf of California. Geology 14 (9): 788-791. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 1986. Taphonomic feedback in Miocene assemblages: Testing the role of dead hardparts in benthic communities. Palaios 1: 239-255. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., F.T. Furisch, and T. Aigner, 1986. Conceptual framework for the analysis and classification of fossil concentrations. Palaios 1: 228-238. [pdf] reprinted in 2020 Classics in Paleoecology
  • Kidwell, S.M., 1986. Models for fossil concentrations: Paleobiological implications. Paleobiology 12: 6-24. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M. 1985. Palaeobiological and sedimentological implications of fossil concentrations. Nature 318: 487-460. [pdf]
  • Behrensmeyer, A.K., and S.M. Kidwell, 1985. Taphonomy's contributions to paleobiology. Paleobiology 11: 105-119. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., J.A. Moore, and J.R. Moore, 1985. Inexpensive field technique for polyester resin peels of structures in unconsolidated sediments. Marine Geology 64: 351-359.
  • Kidwell, S.M., and T. Aigner, 1985. Sedimentary dynamics of complex shell beds: Implications for ecologic and evolutionary patterns. In U. Bayer and A. Seilacher, eds., Sedimentary and Evolutionary Cycles. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 382-395. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 1984. Outcrop features and origin of basin margin unconformities in the lower Chesapeake Group (Miocene), Atlantic Coastal Plain. In J.S. Schlee, ed., Interregional Unconformities and Hydrocarbon Accumulation. Amer. Assoc. Petrol. Geol. Mem. 36:37-56. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., and D. Jablonski, 1983. Taphonomic feedback: Ecological consequences of shell accumulation. In M.J.S. Tevesz and P.L. McCall, eds., Biotic Interactions in Recent and Fossil Benthic Communities. New York: Plenum Press, 195-248. [pdf]
  • Kidwell, S.M., 1982. Time scales of fossil accumulation: Patterns from Miocene benthic assemblages. Proc. Third North Amer. Paleontol. Conv. 1: 295-300. [pdf]


  • Conservation Paleobiology Workshop, 2012. Conservation paleobiology: opportunities for the earth sciences. Report to the Division of Earth Sciences, National Science Foundation. Paleontological Research Institution, Ithaca, NY, 32 pp.
  • Bennington, J.B. WA Dimichele, and 30 alphabetic authors including SM Kidwell, 2009. Critical issues of scale in paleoecology. Palaios 24:1-4.
  • Kidwell, S.M., 2009. Taphonomy, in M. Ruse & J. Travis, eds, Evolution: The first 4 billion years Harvard Univ Press
  • National Research Council, 2005. The Geologic Record of Ecological Dynamics. National Academy Press, 200 p.
  • Kidwell, S.M., and J.J. Sepkoski Jr, 1999. The nature of the fossil record, p. 61-76. In Evolution: Investigating the Evidence (D.A. Springer and J. Scotchmoor, eds.). Paleontological Society Special Publication 9.
  • Kidwell, S.M., and A.K. Behrensmeyer, 1993. Summary: Estimates of time-averaging. In Taphonomic Approaches to Time Resolution in Fossil Assemblages (S.M. Kidwell and A.K. Behrensmeyer, eds.). Paleontological Society Shortcourse 6: 301-302.
  • Kidwell, S.M., and A.K. Behrensmeyer, 1993. Introduction. In Taphonomic Approaches to Time Resolution in Fossil Assemblages (S.M. Kidwell and A.K. Behrensmeyer, eds.). Paleontological Society Shortcourse 6: 1-8.
  • National Research Council, 1989, Margins: A research initiative for interdisciplinary studies of processes attending lithospheric extension and convergence. Passive Margins: Rift and Passive margin basins--the sedimentary record [p. 45-60]. Workshop Proceedings, National Academy Press.
  • Kidwell, S.M., 1986. Section 11. Applications of seismic stratigraphy; Basic research on unconformities, p. 72-84. In A.W. Bally, et al., Notes on Sedimentary Basins in China -- Report of the American Sedimentary Basins Delegation to the Peoples' Republic of China. U.S.G.S. Open-File Report 86-327, 108 p.
  • Kidwell, S.M., 1985. Genesis of fossiliferous horizons and their significance for basin analysis. N.A.S. Pre-trip report for "Sino-American Academic Symposium on Petroleum-Bearing Sedimentary Basins" (Zhuoxian, August 1985), 19 p. (transl. and publ. in Chinese)
  • Kidwell, S.M., 1982. Stratigraphy, Invertebrate Taphonomy and Depositional History of the Miocene Calvert and Choptank Formations, Atlantic Coastal Plain. PhD Dissertation, Yale University (Geology & Geophysics), 514p. [pdf]