Gibson to highlight lifetime study of fossils

Dr. Michael Gibson will speak about his lifetime study of fossils from around the world, with particular emphasis on work in West Tennessee, as the UT Martin Research Series moves off-campus for Gibson’s presentation at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 9 at the Martin Public Library. 

The event is co-sponsored by the Martin Public Library, the Friends of the Martin Public Library, UT Martin’s Division of Academic Affairs and the Paul Meek Library. The presentation is open to the public in the new library located at 410 South Lindell Street in Martin.

Gibson has documented and named new species, has had fossil species and a shark named in his honor, and is credited with finding Tennessee’s first dinosaur skull. The longtime UT Martin faculty member and researcher will share stories about the “perils” of fossicking, including being robbed in the Guatemalan jungle and diving adventures with sharks, barracuda, octopi and other divers.   

Gibson is a professor of geology in the university’s Department of Agriculture, Geosciences, and Natural Resources and is director of the UT Martin Coon Creek Science Center in McNairy County. His areas of teaching expertise include paleontology, marine geology and geoscience education. He conducts research on the geology and fossils of West Tennessee, the coal fields of Alabama, and on the stromatolites and snails in Belize, Central America. 

Gibson was instrumental in helping Tennessee establish the Cretaceous bivalve Pterotrigonia (Scabrotrigonia) thoracica as the Official State Fossil of Tennessee. He has published more than 200 articles about fossils in Tennessee, Alabama, Florida and Central America and geoscience education.

Gibson helped obtain specimens and design the displays in the natural history area of the Discovery Park of America and has received over $1.5 million in grants over a 35-year career. He is also a UT Alumni Association Distinguished Service Professor and three-time nominee for the UT President’s Citation of Merit Award.

For more information, contact Dr. Erik Nordberg, dean of the Paul Meek Library, at 731-881-7070.                                                     


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