GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 70-4
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


MORGAN, Paris M., Center for Tropical Paleoecology and Archaeology, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Roosevelt Ave, Building 401, Balboa, Ancon, Panama; Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, 1659 Museum Road, DICKINSON HALL, Gainesville, FL 32611,

For the last year, I have worked as a field paleontologist with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Florida Museum of Natural History in Panama City, Panama. While working in the expansion excavation sites along the Panama Canal, I have gained first-hand experience in paleontological field techniques and have had the opportunity to collaborate with top paleontologists and geologists to expand my skills in geological mapping, sedimentary stratigraphy, fossil identification, plaster jackets, and excavation. During the time I spent working with paleobotanists I was able to attend a lecture on fossil and extant wood identification. As a geologist, I had limited previous knowledge of wood cellular structure, and I was amazed at the beauty of the dyed thin sections projected on the screen. The projections made it possible to view the cellular structure, including the vascular tissue, phloem, cambium, xylem, stomata, cortex, and pith, in both ancient and current species. I became conscious of the limited group of people that are aware of the beauty of the abstract forms working in conjunction to move water and nutrients to make a tree.

My art project is based on the abstract forms depicted in dyed thin sections of wood painted on wood. One side of the wood canvas is polished and stained as we see it in everyday life; the other side reflects the cellular structure that hides inside.