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B Jacobs

Bonnie F. Jacobs


Ph.D., Arizona

  • Palynology
  • Paleobotany
  • Paleoclimate
  • Paleoecology

Courses Taught

GEOL 1315 - Intro to Environmental Science
GEOL 7350 - Biogeography
GEOL/BIOL 3307 - Ecology
GEOL 5368/7370 - Paleoecology
GEOL 1301 - Earth Systems

Related Links

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Research Statement

Climate is the main determinant of plant geography and leaf morphology. Therefore, fossil plants can be used to understand past climate, which is essential for the testing of climate models used to create scenarios of future climate change. Moreover, the foundation of nearly every ecosystem on Earth is plants, which supply energy derived from the sun to all other life, resulting in a close ecological link between flora and fauna, and knowledge of the former sheds light on the food resources and habitat of the latter. Equally as important, fossil plants provide tangible evidence of how and where our current flora evolved.
My research centers on paleobotany, the study of fossil plants, ranging in size from microscopic cells to macroscopic leaves, fruits, seeds and wood. Within paleobotany, I am pursuing several research questions, all united by a broad research interest in past climate and paleoecology. Paleoclimate and climate change are directly relevant to environments of human evolution, and tied closely to the evolution of plants and biomes. Research projects have included field work in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and in the U. S., Texas, and New Mexico.

Selected Publications

In Press: Pan, A.D., Currano, E., Jacobs, B.F., Feseha, M., Tabor, N., and Herendeen, P.S.  Fossil Newtonia (Fabaceae: Mimoseae) seeds from the early Miocene (22 – 21 Ma) Mush Valley in Ethiopia. For Plant Systematics and Evolution.

2011: Currano, E., Jacobs, B.F., Pan, A.D. and Tabor, N.J.  Inferring ecological disturbance in the fossil record: A case study from the late Oligocene of Ethiopia.  Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2011.06.007

2011: García Massini, J.L. and Jacobs, B.F. Palynological assemblages from a Late Oligocene tuff sequence as indicators of ecological change through time. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 164: 211–222.

2010: Jacobs, B.F., Pan, A.D., and Scotese, C. A review of the Cenozoic vegetation history of Africa. Pp 57-72 In: (Werdelin, L. and Sanders, W., eds.)  Cenozoic Mammals of Africa. University of California Press.

2010: Pan, A., Jacobs, B.F., Herendeen, P. Detarieae sensu lato (Fabaceae) from the Late Oligocene (27.23 Ma) Guang River flora of north-western Ethiopia.  Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 163: 44 – 54.

2010: Jiménez-Moreno, G., Anderson, R.S., Desprat, S., Grigg, L.D., Grimm, E.C., Heusser, L.E., Jacobs, B.F., López-Martínez, C., Whitlock, C., Willard, D.A.  Millennial-scale variability during the last glacial in vegetation records from North America.  Quaternary Science Reviews 29: 2865-2881.

2010: García Massini, J.L., Jacobs, B., and Tabor, N. Paleoenvironmental reconstruction of Late Oligocene terrestrial volcaniclastic deposits from the northwestern Ethiopian Plateau. Palaeontologia Electronica 13(1): 13.1.6A.

2009: Parrish, J.T., Fiorillo, A., Jacobs, B.F., Currano, E. and Wheeler, E. The Ketavik Formation: New stratigraphic unit and its implications for the Paleogene paleogeography and paleoclimate of southwestern Alaska. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2009.09.008.

2009: García Massini, J.L. and Jacobs, B. Cretaceous-Cenozoic record of ferns in Africa. In: X. van der Burgh, J. van der Maesen & J.-M. Onana (eds), Systematics and Conservation of African Plants, pp. 201–220. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

2009: Pan, A.D. and Jacobs, B.F. The earliest record of the genus Cola (Malvaceae sensu lato: Sterculioideae) from the Late Oligocene (28 – 27 Ma) of Ethiopia and leaf characteristics within the genus.  Plant Systematics and Evolution. 283: 247-262.

2009. Bennington, J. B., W. A. Dimichele, et al. Critical issues of scale in paleoecology. Palaios 24(1): 1-4.

2007: Jacobs, B.F. Fossils from ancient forests in Africa provide a palaeobotanist with insight into past climates. Nature Journal Club 447:119.

2006: Kaiser, Thomas. M., Ansorge, Jörg. , Arratia, Gloria,  Bullwinkel, Volker, Gunnell, Gregg F., Herendeen, Patrick, S., Jacobs, Bonnie, Mingram, Jens, Msuya, Charles, Musolf, Andreas, Naumann, Rudolf, Schulz, Ellen, and Wilde, Volker. The maar lake of Mahenge (Tanzania) – unique evidence of Eocene terrestrial environments in sub-Sahara Africa. Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften 157(3): 411-431.

2006: García Massini, J.L., Jacobs, B. F., Pan, A., Tabor, N., Kappelman, J. The occurrence of the fern Acrostichum in Oligocene volcanic strata of the northwestern Ethiopian plateau.  International Journal of Plant Sciences. 167: 909-918.

2006: Jacobs, B.F. The plant fossil record and implications for phytogeography in tropical Africa.  Pp. 191-203 In: Taxonomy and Ecology of African Plants, their Conservation and Sustainable Use. Proceedings of the 17th Association for the Taxonomic Study of the Flora of Tropical Africa (AETFAT) Congress, Ethiopia.  Kew, London.

2006: Pan, A., Jacobs, B. F., Dransfield, J. and Baker, W. The fossil history of palms in Africa and new records from the Late Oligocene (~27 – 28 Myr) of northwestern Ethiopia. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 151: 69-81.

2006: Jacobs, B.F. and Meltzer, D. Late Pleistocene and Holocene Pollen Analysis at Bellisle Lake, New Mexico. Pp 157-166 In: (Meltzer, D., ed.) FOLSOM: new investigations of a classic Plaeoindian bison kill. University of California Press, Berkeley.