ORDOVICIAN ATLAS OF ANCIENT LIFE: DEVELOPING TOOLS FOR PALEONTOLOGISTS, EDUCATORS, AND THE PUBLIC
The initial year (2012-2013) of this NSF funded project focused on digitization (cataloging and georeferencing) of the 13,000 specimen collection housed at Ohio University. The digitization process resulted in a highly detailed, accurate digital data, which have been made publicly available via the iDigBio portal. By attaching accurately georeferenced latitude/longitude coordinates to each specimen, this collection has generated thousands of mappable data points to augment the digital biogeographic record.
The second year of the project (2013-2014) focused on development and content generation for the website (www.OrdovicianAtlas.org). The atlas includes dedicated pages for common species and higher taxa in the Cincinnatian strata. Each species page includes paleoecological data, taxonomic details, stratigraphic occurrences, identification in hand sample information, and published descriptions on the species in question. The goal is to create content useful to both professional and avocational paleontologists. Currently, there are over 90 species and more than 250 higher taxa pages visible to the public. The third year of the project (2014-2015) will focus on developing interactive geographic maps of species and manipulatable 3D renderings for common species.
The collection has also been used to develop standards-aligned lesson plans for K-16 educators (grade school through college). These lessons utilize the well-exposed marine invertebrate fossils of the Cincinnati Arch region to explore concepts in diversity, ecology, and evolution with ties to modern ecosystem function.