GSA Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, USA - 2017

Paper No. 310-7
Presentation Time: 10:00 AM


MARSHALL, Charles R.1, CLITES, Erica C.2, BONUSO, Nicole3, DAVIS, Edward4, DIETL, Gregory P.5, DRUCKENMILLER, Patrick6, ENG, Ron7, ESTES-SMARGIASSI, Kathryn8, FINNEGAN, Seth1, GARCIA, Christine9, DUGGAN-HAAS, Don10, HENDY, Austin J.W.8, HOLLIS, Kathy11, HOLROYD, Patricia A.2, LEGLER, Sara7, LITTLE, Holly11, NESBITT, Elizabeth A.7, ROSS, Robert M.10, SKIBINSKI, Leslie10, ROOPNARINE, Peter D.9, VENDETTI, Jann12 and WHITE, Lisa D.2, (1)Department of Integrative Biology and Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley, Valley Life Sciences Building, Berkeley, CA 94720-4780, (2)Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, (3)Geological Sciences, California State University, Fullerton, 800 N. State College Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92831; John D. Cooper Center, Santa Ana, CA 92701, (4)Department of Geological Sciences, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, (5)Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853; Paleontological Research Institution, 1259 Trumansburg Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, (6)University of Alaska Museum, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 907 Yukon Dr., Fairbanks, AK 99775, (7)University of Washington, Burke Museum, P.O. Box 353010, Seattle, WA 98195, (8)Invertebrate Paleontology, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007, (9)Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Geology, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA 94118, (10)Paleontological Research Institution, 1259 Trumansburg Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, (11)Department of Paleobiology, Smithsonian Institution - National Museum of Natural History, 10th & Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20560, (12)Malacology, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007,

The EPICC TCN ( is an NSF-funded initiative to digitize ~1.6 million Cenozoic marine invertebrate fossils from the eastern Pacific, making “dark data” from nine different museum collections available online, including imaging ~83,000 exemplar specimens and georeferencing 35,000 fossil localities from Alaska to Chile. As we mobilize data we are serving them to data aggregators such as iDigBio and GBIF. We have standardized invertebrate taxonomy and formation names among our collections using the primary literature and a stratigraphic lexicon for British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California. We are just over half way through this 4-year project.

These data will enable large-scale analyses and the development of novel research questions, especially of the ecological and evolutionary responses of marine communities to dramatic environmental changes through the Cenozoic, including the Paleocene–Eocene thermal maximum, the greenhouse-icehouse climatic transition at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, the Mid-Miocene climatic optimum, later Miocene contraction of the tropics, expansion of the East Antarctic ice-sheet, onset of Northern Hemisphere glaciation, and the biotic responses to the closing of the Panama Seaway and opening of the Bering Strait.

EPICC’s primary outreach tool is the Virtual Field Experience (VFE), which “transports” teachers, students, and the general public to classic paleontological sites along the modern and ancient eastern Pacific, including the Kettleman Hills of central California and Pleistocene terraces of southern California. VFEs underscore the importance of museum collections, reconnect museum specimens with collection localities, and provide geological context for fossils found there. Rich image data of outcrops and specimens included in each VFE will be available online to the public, and are being used to develop fossil identification resources for educators and avocational paleontologists. Teacher and student guides will facilitate integration into Earth science classroom curricula.

The EPICC TCN is transforming the community involved. Amassing digitization records and the sharing/adopting of best practices and data among our museums’ collections has led to sustainable collaborations among the institutions involved.