dornbos_roundedStephen Dornbos

Associate Professor

372 Lapham Hall
(414) 229-6630
Vita (pdf-177kb)

Ph.D., University of Southern California
M.S., University of Southern California
B.A., College of Wooster

Key Areas of Interest: Evolution and Paleoecology of Early Animals; Geobiology of Microbial Structures

Teaching Areas: History of Life, Historical Geology, Introduction to Paleontology, Marine Paleoecology, Paleobiology, Ichnology, Early Animal Evolution

Research Interests: Research in my lab focuses on the evolution, paleoecology, and preservation of animals during their initial radiation of the Ediacaran and Cambrian Periods (ca. 635- 488 million years ago). Known popularly as the “Cambrian explosion,” this radiation is one of the most critical events in the history of life on Earth, with complex animals evolving for the first time, radiating throughout the world’s oceans, and diversifying into most of the major animal groups that we still see today. An increasingly complex web of ecological interactions was a fundamental part of this radiation. We find the first evidence for macropredation, extensive skeletonization, deep burrowing in the seafloor, and macroscopic sense organ development during this event.

Other Activities:

Adjunct Curator, Milwaukee Public Museum
Curator, Greene Geological Museum
Commentaries Editor, Palaeontologia Electronica
Board of Directors, Coquina Press

Selected Publications:

Kloss, T.J., Dornbos, S.Q., and Chen, J.Y., 2015, Substrate adaptations of sessile benthic metazoans during the Cambrian radiation. Paleobiology 41(2): 342-352.

Wilmeth, D.T., Dornbos, S.Q., Isbell, J.L., and Czaja, A.D., 2014, Putative domal microbial structures in fluvial siliciclastic facies of the Mesoproterozoic (1.09 Ga) Copper Harbor Conglomerate, Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA. Geobiology 12(1): 99-108.

Dornbos, S.Q., Clapham, M.E., Fraiser, M.L., and Laflamme, M., 2012, Lessons from the fossil record: The Ediacaran radiation, the Cambrian radiation, and the end-Permian mass extinction. In: Solan, M., Aspden, R.J.A., and Paterson, D.M. (eds.), Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning. Oxford University Press, Oxford: 52-72.

Laflamme, M., Schiffbauer, J.D., and Dornbos, S.Q., (eds.), 2011, Quantifying the Early Evolution of Life: Numerical Approaches to the Evaluation of Fossils and Ancient Ecosystems. Topics in Geobiology, v. 36, Springer, 462 p.

Dornbos, S.Q., 2010, Phosphatization through the Phanerozoic. In: Allison, P.A., and Bottjer, D.J. (eds.), Taphonomy, Second Edition: Process and Bias Through Time. Topics in Geobiology 32, Springer: 435-456.

Plotnick, R.E., Dornbos, S.Q., and Chen, J.Y., 2010, Information landscapes and the sensory ecology of the Cambrian radiation. Paleobiology 36(2): 303-317.

Domke, K.L., and Dornbos, S.Q., 2010, Paleoecology of the middle Cambrian edrioasteroid echinoderm Totiglobus: Implications for unusual Cambrian morphologies. Palaios 25(3): 209-214.

Kloss, T.J., Dornbos, S.Q., and Chen, J.Y., 2009, Paleoecology and taphonomy of the Early Cambrian Maotianshan Shale biota chancelloriid Allonnia junyuani: Adaptation to nonactualistic Cambrian substrates. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 277 (3-4): 149-157.

Dornbos, S.Q., 2008, Tiering history of early epifaunal suspension-feeding echinoderms. In: Ausich, W.I., and Webster, G.D. (eds.), Echinoderm Paleobiology. Indiana University Press, Bloomington: 132-143.

Dornbos, S.Q., and Chen, J.Y., 2008, Community palaeoecology of the Early Cambrian Maotianshan Shale biota: Ecological dominance of priapulid worms. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 258(3): 200-212.

Chen, J.Y., Bottjer, D.J., Davidson, E.H., Dornbos, S.Q., Gao, X., Yang, Y.H., Li, C.W., Li, G., Wang, X.Q., Xian, D.C., Wu, H.R., Hwu, Y.K., and Tafforeau, P., 2006, Phosphatized polar-lobe-forming eggs and embryos from the Precambrian of southwest China. Science 312(5780): 1644-1646.

Current Research

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