CV

Professional Preparation

Ph.D., Paleontology — Geology and Geophysics. Advisor: Randall B. Irmis

         Thesis: “Ecological response of crocodylomorphs to mass extinctions”

         University of Utah –11/08/2019

 

M.S., Paleontology — Geology and Geophysics. Advisor: Randall B. Irmis

Thesis: “Quantifying saurian tooth complexity: Implications for reconstructing diet of extinct archosaurs”

         University of Utah – 05/05/2016

 

B.S. with Distinction and Honors, Geological Sciences

University of Michigan – 08/17/2012

 

Positions Held

Postdoctoral Researcher (Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, CA; 01/20–01/21, extendable to 01/22)

Graduate Student (University of Utah, UT; 09/13–12/19)

Preparator (Ohio University, Athens, OH; 09/12–06/13)

Geologist in Park (Dinosaur National Monument, Vernal, UT; Summer 2011)

REU intern (Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL; Summer 2010)

 

Research Interests

Paleoecological reconstruction, Response of terrestrial ecosystems to mass extinctions, Lizard dietary ecology and dental morphology, Dinosaur growth.

 

Peer-Reviewed Publications

             Goodwin, M.B., Irmis, R.B., Wilson, G.P., DeMar, Jr., D.G., Melstrom, K.M., Rasmussen, C., Atnafu, B., Alemu, T., Alemayehu, M., and Getachew, S. 2019. The first confirmed sauropod dinosaur from Ethiopia discovered in the Upper Jurassic (Tithonian) Mugher Mudstone. Journal of African Earth Sciences doi.org/10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2019.103571.

             Melstrom, K.M. and Irmis, R.B. 2019. Repeated Evolution of Herbivorous Crocodyliforms during the Age of Dinosaurs. Current Biology. 29:1–7.

             Melstrom, K.M. 2017. The relationship between diet and tooth complexity in living dentigerous saurians. Journal of Morphology. DOI 10.1002/jmor.20645.

             Melstrom, K.M., D’Emic, M.D., Chure, D.J., and Wilson, J.A. 2016. A juvenile sauropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of Utah, USA, presents further evidence of an avian style air-sac system. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology e1111898.

             D’Emic, M.D., Melstrom, K.M., and Eddy, D. 2012. Paleobiology and geographic range of the large-bodied Cretaceous theropod dinosaur, Acrocanthosaurus atokensis. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 333–334:13–23.

 

Technical Abstracts

             Melstrom, K.M., and Wistort, Z. 2019. Quantification conundrum: How repeatable are dental complexity measurement methods? Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.

             D’Emic, M.D., K.M. Melstrom, T. Pascucci, and S. Hoffman. 2018. Estimating body mass from tooth dimensions in extinct mammals. Northeast Regional Vertebrate Evolution Symposium.

             Melstrom, K.M., and Irmis, R.B. 2016. Multiple origins of herbivory in Mesozoic crocodyliforms suggest novel ecological dynamics during the Mesozoic. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 36 (Online Supplement):188.

             Melstrom, K.M. 2015. Quantifying reptile tooth complexity: Implications for reconstructing the diet of extinct amniotes. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 35 (Online Supplement).

             Melstrom, K.M. 2012. Description of a Juvenile Diplodocus from Dinosaur National Monument, Utah and its Ontogenetic Implications. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 32(Online Supplement):45.

             Angielczyk, K.D., and K.M. Melstrom. 2012. Are the plastral scutes and plastral lobes of turtle shells modules? A geometric morphometric perspective. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. 52(Supplement):E7.

             Melstrom, K.M., D’Emic, M.D. 2011. Acrocanthosaurus atokensis from the Cloverly Formation of Wyoming: implications for Early Cretaceous North American ecosystems. Society of Vertebrate Paleontology 71st Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada.

             Anderson, J.L., Melstrom, K.M., Panosky, J. M. 2011. Terrestrial vertebrate trackways of the early Jurassic Nugget Formation at Dinosaur National Monument, Utah. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. 43(5):85.

             Melstrom, K.M., and K.D. Angielczyk. 2011. Morphological integration of the turtle shell. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. 51(Supplement):E91.

 

Grants

$600-“Quantification conundrum: Just how repeatable are dental complexity measurement methods?” ASUU Travel Grant, University of Utah, 2018.

$1,220-“The ecological response of crocodylomorphs to mass extinctions” Student Collections Study Award, Natural History Museum LA County, 2018.

$1,000-“Ecological reconstruction of Mesozoic crocodylomorphs” The David S. and Inga M. Chapman Fund, University of Utah, 2018.

$4,000-“Ecological response of crocodylomorphs to mass extinction” Northwest Federation of Mineralogical Societies, 2018.

$2,000-“Ecological response of crocodylomorphs to mass extinction” Theodore Roosevelt Grant, American Museum of Natural History, 2018.

$2,080-“The ecological response of crocodylomorphs to mass extinctions” Sylvester-Bradley Award, Palaeontological Association, 2018.

$1,000-“Quantifying the relationship between diet and dental morphology through the ontogeny of herbivorous squamates” Grants-in-aid of research, Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, 2018.

$800-“Ecological response of crocodylomorphs to mass extinction” Kenneth E. and Annie Caster Award, Paleontological Society, 2017.

$1,320-“Quantifying the effect of mass extinctions on the ecology and morphological disparity of crocodylomorphs” Graduate Student Research Grant, Geological Society of America, 2017.

$1,418-“Ecological implications of the saurian skull and its dental morphology” Visiting Scholar, Field Museum of Natural History, 2017.

$1,000-“Elucidating the paleoecology of early Mesozoic terrestrial vertebrates from Ethiopia” The David S. and Inga M. Chapman Fund, University of Utah, 2015.

$138,000-“Quantifying Crocodyliform Tooth Complexity: Implications for Reconstructing the Diet of Extinct Archosaurs” NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, 2015–2019.

$850- “Quantifying Crocodyliform Tooth Complexity: Implications for Reconstructing the Diet of Extinct Archosaurs” The David S. and Inga M. Chapman Fund, University of Utah, 2014.

$776.30-“Quantifying Crocodyliform Tooth Complexity: Implications for Reconstructing the Diet of Extinct Archosaurs” Doris and Samuel P. Welles Fund, University of California, Berkeley, 2014.

$350- “Description of a Juvenile Diplodocus from Dinosaur National Monument, Utah and Implications for Sauropod Ontogeny.” Scott D. Turner Award, University of Michigan Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, 2012.

$500- Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program Travel Grant. Society of Vertebrate Paleontology 71st Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada 2011.

 

Awards

"WEST" (Water, the Environment, Science and Teaching) Fellowship, 2014, University of Utah. Amount awarded: $18,500

Undergraduate Excellence Award, 2012, University of Michigan

Eugene and Elizabeth Singer Award for Academic Excellence in Geology, 2011, University of Michigan

James B. Angell Scholar, 2010, 2012, University of Michigan

University Honors, 2008–2012, University of Michigan

 

Teaching Experience

Lecturer (University of Utah, 2018, 2019)

            Evolving Earth (1 semester)- Co-taught over 40 students twice a week. Major topics covered include, introductory geology, introduction to evolution, and Earth’s history.

Historical Geology (1 semester)- Co-taught over 30 students three times a week. Major topics covered include, introductory geology, introductory cladistics, and important events in Earth’s history.

WEST Fellow (Salt Lake Center for Science Education; 2014–2015)

Teaching Assistant (University of Utah; 2013–2014, 2017)

Earth Materials 1 (1 semester)- Led labs of 50 students twice weekly. Major topics covered: crystal chemistry, symmetry, systematic mineralogy, and basic thermodynamics.

         World of Dinosaurs (2 semester)- Lectured 150 students, wrote weekly quizzes, led monthly study sessions and three field trips to local museums, Cleveland Lloyd dinosaur quarry, and Dinosaur National Monument.

 

Outreach

Utah Friends of Paleontology, 2014;2015

Behind the Scenes Museum Day, Natural History Museum of Utah, 2013–2019

 

Invited Talks

2020- "For a while, crocodile: crocodylian endurance through mass extinctions". DinoFest, Natural History Museum of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.

2018- “Ecological reconstruction of extinct crocodylomorphs”. University of Texas, Austin, Austin, TX.

2017- “Multiple origins of herbivory in Mesozoic crocodyliforms”. Tate Museum Conference, Tate Museum, Casper, WY.

                                                       

Professional Service

2016–present — Peer reviewer for: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, PLoS One, Palaeontologia Electronica, Scientific Reports, PeerJ.

2016–present — Inclusive Earth, University of Utah, founding member

2014–Paleobiology Faculty Search Committee, University of Utah - student representative.

2013–present — Student Advisory Committee, Department of Geology & Geophysics, University of Utah.

2013–present — American Association for Petroleum Geologists, University of Utah.

 

Field Experience

2018 (April) – Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation, Lisbon Valley, Utah

2017 (August) – Triassic Chugwater Group, Bighorn Basin, Wyoming

2017 (August) – Bell Springs Member of the Nugget Formation, central Wyoming

2017 (August) – Lower Cretaceous Cloverly Formation, Bighorn Basin, Wyoming

2017 (July) – Triassic Popo Agie Formation, Wind River Mountains, Wyoming

2016 (September) – Upper Cretaceous Kaiparowits Formation, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

2016 (August) – Lower Cretaceous Cloverly Formation, Bighorn Basin, Wyoming

2016 (July) – Upper Triassic Chinle Formation, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

2016 (June) – Eocene Bridger Formation, southwestern Wyoming

2016 (June) – Upper Triassic Luning Formation, Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park, Nevada

2016 (January–Febuary) – Upper Triassic Adigrat Sandstone and Upper Jurassic Mugher Mudstone, Central and Northern Ethiopia

2015 (August) – Lower Cretaceous Cloverly Formation, Bighorn Basin, Wyoming

2015 (August) – Upper Triassic Chinle Formation, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

2015 (July) – Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation, Lisbon Valley, Utah

2015 (June) – Eocene Bridger Formation, southwestern Wyoming

2015 (June) – Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation, Hanksville, Utah

2014 (August) – Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation, Lisbon Valley, Utah

2014 (August) - Upper Triassic Chinle Formation, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

2014 (July) – Lower Cretaceous Cloverly Formation, Bighorn Basin, Wyoming

2014 (June) – Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation, Hanksville, Utah

2014 (May) - Upper Cretaceous ‘beds on Tarantula Mesa’, Henry Mountains, Utah

2013 (June–July) – Lower Cretaceous Cloverly Formation, Bighorn Basin, Wyoming

2011 (June–August) – Lower Triassic Nugget Formation, Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

2010 (August) – Lower Cretaceous Cloverly Formation, Bighorn Basin, Wyoming

Select Media Coverage

"Crocodiles Went Through a Vegetarian Phase, Too", New York Times

"Plant-eating crocodiles thrived in dinosaur times", National Geographic

"Veggie Surprise: Teeth Of Ancient Crocs Reveal That Some Very Likely Ate Plants", NPR

"Fossil teeth suggest some ancient crocodile cousins were vegans at the time of the dinosaurs", ABC

"Vegetarian crocodiles once roamed the world", The Economist

"Prehistoric Crocodiles Preferred Plants Over Prey", Smithsonian Magazine

"Fossilized Teeth Suggest Some Ancient Crocodiles Were Vegetarians", Gizmodo

 © 2019 by Keegan Melstrom