Chapin Professor of Geology and Mineralogy Mark Erickson and two of his
former students, Booth Platt Jr. '00 and Douglas H. Jennings '93, are co-authors of
the article "Holocene Fossil Oribatid Mite Biofacies as Proxies of Paleohabitat at the
Hiscock Site, Byron, New York" in the Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural
Sciences, Vol. 37 (2003). The research was completed with support from the James
S. Street Student Geology Fund at St. Lawrence.
The article's abstract states, "Oribatid mites, less than 0.5 mm in length, fossilize
well in lake and bog sediments where their occurrences indicate conditions of
paleohabitat and paleoclimate. Presently, fossil mites are gaining influence as
proxies for climate change in Late Pleistocene and Holocene sedimentary sequences.
This is their first application using a biofacies approach. Four biofacies were defined
based on fossil oribatids at this well-studied site in New York. These support
inferences for significant climate variability in the Holocene as initial wet
conditions gave way to a drier interval and to a subsequent wetter interval before
establishing the moderately dry modern norm."
Erickson began studies of the applications of fossil mites to paleoclimate
interpretation in 1979, with a senior thesis student. Later, Jennings conducted a
systematic study of the Hiscock mite fauna as his B.S. thesis, which led to Platt’s
B.S. thesis on Hiscock oribatid mites as habitat and climate proxies. Jennings is now
in industry in Corning, NY, and Platt is a graduate student at SUNY College of
Environmental Science and Forestry.
Posted: January 15, 2004