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President's Message

This sure is a busy time of the year for TBFC. In the next three or four months we’ll need to get in four more meetings, eight or more field trips, and the 31st annual FossilFest, the largest “paleo” show in the southeast. As soon as we close the doors to FossilFest, we’ll be loading up for the Peace River Adventure, TBFC’s largest field trip where 300+ people will gather for a “paleo” weekend. With the help of the Officers, Directors, and good folks like you, everything will be accomplished and we’ll have a great time doing it. Please read through TBFC’s volunteer needs for FossilFest in this edition of the Chronicles.

February 3rd Meeting
Shark Lab!
Dr. Daniel Huber
University of Tampa

Dr. Daniel Huber specializes in studying the biomechanics of feeding and locomotion in cartilaginous fishes (chondrichthyans: sharks, skates, rays, and chimaeras) through analyses of material and structural properties of skeletal elements, digital imaging technologies (CT, MRI), theoretical modeling of musculoskeletal systems, finite element analysis, force transduction, and high-speed digital videography. He investigates the relationship between morphology, behavior, and ecology, and how these factors change over the ontogeny of individual species, as well as among species and over orders of magnitude of size. Dr. Huber and his colleagues are the first to have successfully measured voluntary bite force in free-swimming sharks, which provide a glimpse at the behavioral basis of evolutionary diversification in chondrichthyan feeding mechanisms.

Dr. Huber’s research on sharks has been featured in a wide variety of media outlets, ranging from prime-time television to children’s books. He has appeared in numerous shows on National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. His recent collaboration on the feeding biomechanics of the white shark with the Computational Biomechanics Research Group has received worldwide media coverage and was listed as one of Discover Magazine's Top Science Stories of 2008. More recently Dr. Huber has been working with colleagues on the causes of spinal deformities in captive sand tiger sharks in an effort to reduce the prevalence of this syndrome and decrease the need to catch wild animals for aquarium exhibits. Various aspects of this project have recently been published or are in press in the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, International Journal of Comparative Psychology, and Journal of Experimental Biology.

Joshua Slattery Receives
Lou Villei Memorial Scholarship

Everyone misses Lou Villei. TBFC still enjoys fieldtrip locations that were negotiated for us by Lou. After his passing in 2017 TBFC dedicated a one-time memorial scholarship in his memory. Over $300 was donated from Lou’s friends and fieldtrip mates. TBFC rounded that off to $500 and set about finding a suitable recipient of the scholarship. At a TBFC board meeting we asked Lou’s good friend, our own Fred Hendershot, who he thought Lou would have picked to receive the scholarship. Without hesitation Fred told us Joshua Slattery. Joshua was in attendance for many of Lou’s fieldtrips to “invert” sites and always eager to help other hunters identify and learn about their finds (see cover photo).

Joshua is no stranger to TBFC scholarships, this being the third time he has been selected. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of South Florida working on an NSF-funded project examining the influence icehouse and greenhouse climatic modes have on evolutionary tempo of ammonites and bivalves in contrasting depositional settings (e.g., foreland basin vs. passive margin). In addition to this research, Joshua is also interested in stratigraphic paleobiology, sequence stratigraphy, Phylogenetics, ammonites, inoceramids, the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway and Gulf of Mexico, and shell-bed taphonomy. In addition he has also partaken in geological and paleontological field work in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Minnesota, Kansas, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee,  Florida, Denmark, and Colombia.

Congratulations Joshua, Lou would be proud.

Good Hunting!
Mike Searle