Sandra J. Carlson

Professor; Director, CalTeach/Mathematics and Science Teaching Programs (CalTeach/MAST)
Ph.D., University of Michigan (1986)
2123 Earth & Physical Sci | 530-752-2834
Geobiology and Paleobiology

Dr. Sandy Carlson is an invertebrate paleontologist, with strong interests in vertebrate paleontology. Her main research areas are focused on answering questions about living and fossil brachiopods, and their phylogeny, functional morphology, growth and development, biology, ecology, and evolution. Selected projects include: morphological phylogenetic relationships among extant brachiopods; phylogeny and evolution of "pentameride" brachiopods; understanding conflicts between morphological and molecular data in brachiopod systematics; revising the brachiopod volumes of the Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology; studying evolutionary trends in the articulate brachiopod hinge mechanism; geochemical investigations of growth in selected Recent articulate brachiopods; a phylogenetic perspective on brachiopod diversity and the Permo-Triassic extinctions; phylogenetic signal in extinction selectivity in Devonian terebratulide brachiopods; role of development and heterochrony in thecideide brachiopod evolution. With her graduate students, post-docs, and colleagues, Sandy is currently investigating morphometric variation in the crura and loops of extant species of articulated brachiopods using 3D models constructed from CT scans; tip dating methods applied to phylogenetic analyses of Paleozoic brachiopod clades; phylogenomic analyses of extant brachiopods and their integration with morphological analyses of extinct and extant brachiopods; the identity and expression of genes involved in the biomineralization of calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate brachiopod valves.

Sandy served as the President of the Paleontological Society (2012-2014), and continues to serve on committees for the Association for Women Geoscientists, the Paleontological Society, and the 8th International Brachiopod Congress.  She is currently Faculty Director of the UC Davis CalTeach/MAST program, which encourages and mentors STEM undergraduate majors to consider careers in K-12 STEM teaching.

From the California Aggie: Dinosaur class makes a roar as popular GE option