Joseph Sertich

Major Advisor
David Krause
BS, Biological Sciences, Geology, and Zoology | Colorado State University, 2004
MS, Geology | University of Utah, 2006


Research Interests
Broadly, my interests center on understanding Mesozoic Gondwanan biogeography. In particular, I am interested in the biogeographic and phylogenetic relationships among Gondwanan archosaurs (dinosaurs and crocodyliforms specifically) during the Late Cretaceous. Of the Gondwanan landmasses, I focus particularly on Late Cretaceous Africa, an area that remains poorly understood despite considerable recent attention.

Previous research focused on the geology and vertebrate fauna of the Lubur Sandstone (Turkana Grits) of northern Kenya. The coarse sandstone deposits of the Lapurr Range contain a relatively diverse vertebrate fauna of dinosaurs and crocodylians offering suggestive evidence of a post-Cenomanian Late Cretaceous age for the sediments, possibly one of the only known occurrences of fossils from this period on the African continent. I hope to continue this work as part of my involvement with Stony Brook's Turkana Basin Institute, concentrating on the recovery of additional fossil specimens from the Lapurr Range and the identification of additional Mesozoic outcrops within the basin.

In conjunction with this research, I plan to focus on the diverse crocodyliform fauna from the Late Cretaceous deposits of Madagascar. A more complete understanding of this fauna, in particular the morphology, ecology, and phylogeny of the numerous taxa preserved is essential to understanding the mechanisms of evolutionary radiations and biogeography of Gondwanan landmasses during this time.

Recent Paleontologic fieldwork has taken me to the Cretaceous deposits of West Turkana and the Plio-Pleistocene Koobi Fora Formation of East Turkana, Kenya, the Cretaceous of the Mahajanga and Ambilobe Basins of Madagascar, the Cretaceous Red Sandstone group of Tanzania, and the Cretaceous deposits of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah.