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College of Arts & Sciences

Dan Hembree

Dr. Daniel Hembree

Professor & Graduate Chair

Geological Sciences
207 Clippinger Laboratories

Recent News


Ph.D., 2005, University of Kansas

M.S., 2002, University of Kansas

B.S., 1999, University of New Orleans

Research Interests

Ichnology, Paleopedology, Vertebrate Paleontology

  • Continental ichnofossils
  • Paleosols
  • Pre-Quaternary soil ecosystems
  • Neoichnology

An In-Depth Look at My Research Program

My research interests primarily lie with the interaction of sedimentological and biological processes. I am interested in animal-substrate interactions in ancient and modern continental (or non-marine) environments. These interactions are preserved in the fossil record as trace fossils. Trace fossils provide an in situ record of ancient biodiversity, ecology, and environment. The study of ichnofossils, therefore, provides vital information for accurate paleoenvironmental reconstructions. As sensitive indicators of environmental and climatic change, ichnofossils are also useful for detailed sequence stratigraphic analysis.

In my research, I interpret the paleoenvironmental, paleoclimatic, and paleoecological significance of paleosols and ichnofossils preserved in the geologic record. This involves not only the study of paleosols and continental trace fossils throughout geologic time but also the experimental study of burrowing behaviors of extant terrestrial annelids, arthropods, amphibians, and reptiles. My current research projects involve the study of the influence of climate changes on ancient soils and soil ecosystems including those of the Pennsylvanian of southeast Ohio, Permian of eastern Kansas, and the Eocene to Miocene of Colorado and Wyoming.

Courses Taught

  • GEOL 1010: Introduction to Geology
  • GEOL 1400: Dinosaurs and the Mesozoic World
  • GEOL 2550: Historical Geology (summer)
  • GEOL 4/5440: Ichnology
  • GEOL 4/5560: Paleopedology

Professional Appointments

2018-present, Professor

2012-2018, Associate Professor

2007-2012, Assistant Professor

Selected Publications

  • Hembree, D.I., 2018. The role of continental trace fossils in Cenozoic paleoenvironmental and paleoecological reconstructions. In: Croft, D., Simpson, S., Su, D. (eds.), Methods in Paleoecology: Reconstructing Cenozoic Terrestrial Environments and Ecologic Communities, Springer (Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology Series), Cham, Switzerland, pp. 185–214.
  • Hembree, D.I., *Carnes, J.L., 2018. Response of soils and soil ecosystems to the Pennsylvanian–Permian climate transition in the upper fluvial plain of the Dunkard Basin, southeastern Ohio, USA. Geosciences, v. 8 (203), p. 1-35.
  • Hembree, D.I., *Swaninger, E.S., 2018. Large Camborygma isp. in fluvial deposits of the Early Permian (Asselian) Dunkard Group, southeast Ohio, U.S.A. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 491, p. 137-151.
  • *Catena, A.M., Hembree, D.I., Saylor, B.Z., Croft, D.A., 2017. Paleosol and ichnofossil evidence for significant Neotropical habitat variation during the late middle Miocene (Serravallian). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 487, p. 381-398.
  • Hembree, D.I., 2017. Neoichnology of tarantulas (Araneae: Theraphosidae): recognition of spider burrows in the fossil record. Palaeontologia Electronica 20.3.45A: 1-30.
  • Hembree, D.I., Smith, J.J., Buynevich, I.V., Platt, B.F., 2017. Neoichnology of semiarid environments: soils and burrowing animals of the Sonoran Desert, Arizona, U.S.A. PALAIOS, v. 32, p. 620-638.
  • Hembree, D.I., *Bowen, J., 2017. Paleosols and ichnofossils of the Upper Pennsylvanian-Lower Permian Monongahela and Dunkard groups: a multi-proxy approach to unraveling complex variability in ancient terrestrial landscapes. PALAIOS, v. 32, p. 295-320.
  • Hembree, D.I., 2016. Using experimental neoichnology and quantitative analyses to improve the interpretation of continental trace fossils. Ichnos, v. 23, p. 262-297.
  • Hembree, D.I., *Blair, M.G., 2016. A paleopedological and ichnological approach to interpreting spatial and temporal variability in Early Permian fluvial deposits of the Lower Dunkard Group, West Virginia, U.S.A. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 454, p. 246-266.
  • *Catena, A.M., Hembree, D.I., Saylor, B.Z., Anaya, F., Croft, D.A., 2016. Paleoenvironmental analysis of the Neotropical fossil mammal site of Cerdas, Bolivia (middle Miocene) based on ichnofossils and paleopedology. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v.459, p. 423-439.
  • Suess, B., Wisshak, M., Mapes, R., Hembree, D., Landman, N., 2016. Microbial bioerosion of erratic sub-fossil Nautilus shells in a karstic cenote (Lifou, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia). Ichnos, v. 23, 108-115.
  • Hembree, D., *Bowen, J., *Catena, A., *Dzenowski, N., 2015. Experimental neoichnology of modern soil animals: keys to interpreting continental tracemakers and reconstructing ancient soil ecosystems, In: McIlroy, D. (Ed.), Ichnology: Papers from Ichnia III, Geological Association of Canada, Miscellaneous Publications 9, pp. 85–103.
  • Gierlowski-Kordesch, E.H., Weismiller, H.C., Stigall, A.L., Hembree, D.I., 2015. Pedogenic mud aggregates and sedimentation patterns between basalt flows (Jurassic Kalkrand Formation, Namibia), In: Egenhoff, E., Larsen, D., and Fishman, N. (Eds.), Paying Attention to Mudstones – Priceless!, Geological Society of America Special Paper 515, pp. 65–86.
  • *Johnson, L., Hembree D.I., 2015. Understanding anuran burrows: neoichnology of the eastern spadefoot toads, Scaphiopus holbrooki. Palaeontologia Electronica, 18.2.43A: 1-29.
  • Suess, B., Hembree, D., Wisshak, M., Mapes, R., Landman, N., 2015. Taphonomy of deep marine versus backshore collected Nautilus macromphalus conchs (New Caledonia). PALAIOS, v. 30, p. 503-513.
  • *Hils, J.M., Hembree, D.I., 2015. Neoichnology of the burrowing spiders Gorgyrella inermis (Mygalomorphae: Idiopidae) and Hogna lenta (Araneomorphae: Lycosidae). Palaeontologia Electronica, 18.1.7A: 1-62.
  • Lignier, V., Mapes, R., Hembree, D., Landman, N., Couchoud, I., Goiran, C., Folcher, E., Gunkel-Grillon, P., Manca, E., 2015. Le cenote d’Ani-e-Wee (Lifou, Nouvelle-Caledonie) et son gisement exceptionnel de Nautilus macromphalus. Karstologia, v. 61, p. 37-44.
  • Hembree, D.I., 2014. Large, complex burrows of terrestrial invertebrates: neoichnology of Pandinus imperator. In: Hembree, D.I., Platt, B.F., Smith, J.J. (eds.), Experimental Approaches to Understanding Fossil Organisms: Lessons from the Living, Topics in Geobiology, Springer Publishing, pp. 229-263.
  • *Catena, A., Hembree, D.I., 2014. Biogenic structures of burrowing skinks: neoichnology of Mabuya mutifaciata (Squamata: Scincidae). In: Hembree, D.I., Platt, B.F., Smith, J.J. (eds.), Experimental Approaches to Understanding Fossil Organisms: Lessons from the Living, Topics in Geobiology, Springer Publishing, pp. 343-369.
  • *Dzenowski, N., Hembree, D.I., 2014. Quantifying vertebrate biogenic structures using modern analogs: the neoichnology of Ambystomatid salamanders. In: Hembree, D.I., Platt, B.F., Smith, J.J. (eds.), Experimental Approaches to Understanding Fossil Organisms: Lessons from the Living, Topics in Geobiology, Springer Publishing, pp. 305-342.
  • Hembree, D.I., Mapes, R.H., Goiran, C., 2014. The impact of high energy storms on shallow water Nautilus (Cephalopoda) taphonomy, Lifou (Loyalty Islands). PALAIOS, v. 29, p. 348-362.
  • *Catena, A., Hembree, D.I., 2014. Swimming through the substrate: the neoichnology of Chalcides ocellatus and biogenic structures of sand-swimming vertebrates. Palaeontologia Electronica, 17.3.37A: 1-19.
  • *Bowen, J., Hembree, D., 2014. Neoichnology of two spirobolid millipedes: improving the understanding of the burrows of soil detritivores. Palaeontologia Electronica, 17.1.18A: 1-48.
  • Stigall, A.L., Hembree, D.I., Gierlowski-Kordesch, E.H., Weismiller, H.C., 2014. Evidence for sexual mating system in a new spinicaudatan genus (Crustacea: “Conchostraca”) from the Early Jurassic Kalkrand Basalt of Namibia. Palaeontology, v. 57, p. 127-140.
  • Landman, N., Mapes, R.H., Cochran, J.K., Lignier, V., Hembree, D.I., Goiran, C., Folcher, E., Brunet, P., 2014. An unusual occurrence of Nautilus macromphalus in a cenote in the Loyalty Islands (New Caledonia). PLoS ONE, v. 9 (12), e113372 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113372.

* denotes student author.

Recent Advisee Master's Theses

  • Sarah Kogler, 2018, “Influences of modern pedogenesis on paleoclimate estimates from Pennsylvanian and Permian paleosols, southeast Ohio, USA,” M.S. thesis, Geological Sciences, Ohio University.
  • Jennifer Carnes, 2017, “Response of soils and soil ecosystems to the Pennsylvanian-Permian climate transition in the upper fluvial plain of the Dunkard Basin, southeastern Ohio, USA,” M.S. thesis, Geological Sciences, Ohio University.
  • Michael Blair, 2015, A Paleopedological and Ichnological Approach to Spatial and Temporal Variability in Pennsylvanian-Permian Strata of the Lower Dunkard Group, M.S. thesis, Ohio University.
  • Mike Hils, 2014, Neoichnology of the Burrowing Spiders Gorgyrella inermis (Araneae: Mygalomorphae) and Hogna lenta (Araneae: Araneomorphae), M.S. thesis, Ohio University.
  • Jared Bowen, 2013, The Neoichnology of Juliform Millipedes and Upper Monongahela to Lower Dunkard Group Paleosols: A Multi-Proxy Approach to Paleolandscape Variability. M.S. thesis, Ohio University.
  • Angeline Catena, 2012. Neoichnology of two Scincoid lizards and Pennsylvanian paleosols: improving interpretations of continental tracemakers and soil environments. M.S. Thesis, Ohio University.
  • Nicole Dzenowski, 2012. The neoichnology of two Ambystomatid salamanders, Pennsylvanian paleosols, and their use in paleoenvironmental, paleoecological, and paleoclimatic interpretations. M.S. Thesis, Ohio University.
  • Krista Smilek, 2009. Using ichnology and sedimentology to determine paleoenvironmental and paleoecological conditions of a shallow water marine depositional environment: case studies from the Pennsylvanian Ames Limestone and modern holothurians. M.S. Thesis, Ohio University.

Recent Advisee Undergraduate Theses

  • Emma Swaninger, 2017, “Large burrows in fluvial deposits of the Early Permian (Asselian) Dunkard Group, southeast Ohio, U.S.A.,” B.S. Geological Sciences, Ohio University.
  • Lauren Johnson, 2015, Understanding Anuran Burrows: Neoichnology of the Eastern Spadefoot Toad, Scaphiopus holbrookii, B.S. thesis, Ohio University.
  • Bart Rasor, 2010. Taphonomy and Sedimentology of a Modern Nautilus Deposit in a Nearshore Paleoenvironment. B.S. Thesis, Ohio University.


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