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Publications in VIVO

Chin, Karen



Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Dr. Chin's research investigates the structure and dynamics of ancient ecosystems--particularly those of the Mesozoic Era (the time period from around 66 to 250 million years ago). She is interested in how ancient communities of organisms differed from modern ecosystems in composition and organization. Much of her work focuses on tapping information available in mineralized coprolites (fossil feces), but she also examines other trace and body fossils. Dr. Chin studies these fossils to shed light on interactions among ancient organisms, and to decipher the environmental conditions in which the organisms lived and were fossilized. She uses a multidisciplinary approach by examining geological, biological, morphological, and chemical characteristics of fossils, and compares the fossil evidence with modern ecosystems to derive paleoecological interpretations.


  • paleoecology and paleobiology, taphonomy, trace fossils


selected publications


courses taught

  • ARTH 5929 - Special Topics in Art History
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018
    May be repeated up to 18 total credit hours. Same as ARTH 4929.
  • GEOL 3410 - Paleobiology
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019 / Fall 2020 / Fall 2021 / Fall 2022
    Surveys morphology, ecology and evolution of ancient animal and plant life and their interactions on Earth. Fossils used to solve geological and biological problems. Department enforced prerequisites: GEOL 1010 and GEOL 1020 or GEOL 2005 or EBIO 1030 and EBIO 1040 or EBIO 1210 and EBIO 1220.
  • GEOL 4700 - Special Geological Topics
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2021 / Spring 2024
    Studies in selected geological subjects of special current interest (for undergraduates). May be repeated up to 9 total credit hours within a term.
  • GEOL 5700 - Geological Topics Seminar
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2021 / Spring 2024
    Offers seminar studies in geological subjects of special current interest. Primarily for graduate students, as departmental staff and facilities permit. May be repeated up to 15 total credit hours provided that topics vary.
  • GEOL 6950 - Master's Thesis
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2021 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2022 / Spring 2023 / Fall 2023
    May be repeated up to 6 total credit hours.
  • MUSM 5051 - Museum Collections Management
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018
    Deals specifically with curation and data management. Topics include acquisition practices and problems; organization, management, use and preventive conservation of collections; computer data management of collections.
  • MUSM 6110 - Seminar in Museum Issues
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2021 / Spring 2023 / Spring 2024
    Offers a weekly seminar for museum and field study students that addresses one new topic each semester relevant to museum operations such as archival administration, museums, multiculturalism, repatriation and others. Department enforced prerequisite: MUSM 5011.
  • MUSM 6940 - Master's Degree Candidate
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2020 / Spring 2021 / Fall 2021 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2023 / Spring 2024
  • MUSM 6950 - Master's Thesis in Museum and Field Studies
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020 / Fall 2022 / Spring 2023 / Summer 2023 / Spring 2024
    A thesis, which may be of a research, expository, critical or creative type, is required of every master's degree candidate under the thesis option. Department enforced prerequisites: MUSM 5011 and MUSM 5051 and one of the following: MUSM 5030 or MUSM 5031 or MUSM 5041.


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