Corals

Montana Hodges in the field

Corals are particularly hard-hit by subtle changes in ocean temperature and acidity. About 200 million years ago at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, corals and reefs completely collapsed. During this particular extinction event, researchers have found no evidence of asteroid impact or other catastrophic events. Instead, the geologic and paleontological records point to massive global climate change. After the devastation of reefs at the end-Triassic mass extinction, it took around 20 million years for reefs to rebuild and regain their prior diversity. Research on coral extinction and reef recovery has been popularized by the parallels with the reef collapse of today. Professor Stanley and UM graduate Dr. Montana Hodges are leading research on coral recovery in the Early Jurassic, with field areas stretching across North America including Alaska, Nevada, and Sonora, Mexico. Their findings were published in the October 2015 issue of GSA Today in the cover article “North American coral recovery after the end-Triassic mass extinction New York Canyon, Nevada.” Next year they will lead the 10th International Congress on the Jurassic and present further research.