Lab News


Dr. Gandolfo, Caroline Siegert, and Ryan Thummel are headed off to Prague to attend the XV International Palynological Congress and XI International Organization of Palaeobotany Congress (XV IPC-XI IOP). The conference will run May 27-31. All three lab members will be giving presentations. Caroline's presentation is titled "Earliest record of Malpighiaceae: Four-winged fruits from the early Eocene of Patagonia, Argentina", and Ryan's presentation is "Using Convolutional Neural Networks to Predict the Phylogenetic and Ecological Affinities of Fossil Moss Spores".


M. Alejandra Gandolfo, Elizabeth Hermsen (Cornell University),Pablo Puerta and Facundo De Benedetti (MEF: Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio) went to several fossil locations/formations in Argentina for exploratory prospecting in December. Below are some of the images from that trip.
Cullen Formation, Tierra del Fuego:

Carmen Silva Formation, Tierra del Fuego:

A section of the Carmen Silva Formation

Maastrichtian-Danian Lefipan Formation, Chubut:


Dr. Gandolfo and Caroline Siegert will be presenting at the Geological Society of America (GSA) Oct 14-18th. Dr. Gandolfo will present "Miocene Macrofloras from Argentina" on Tuesday and Caroline will present "Using a Narative Format to Better Convey the Paleontological Record" on Wednesday. Good luck presenters!

Good Luck Facundo

Dr. Facundo De Benedetti is returning to Argentina as his time as Dr. Gandolfo's postdoc is over. He will still be continuing to work with Dr. Gandolfo on the projects he started in the lab. Good luck and best wishes, Facundo!


Dr. Gandolfo was elected Fellow of The Paleontological Society (Fellows are members of the Paleontological Society who have made far-reaching contributions to paleontology through research, teaching, or service to the profession). It is already huge honor to be nominated, and much more to be awarded!
The Paleontological Society is an international nonprofit organization representing 40 countries and is devoted exclusively to the advancement of the science of paleontology: invertebrate and vertebrate paleontology, micropaleontology, and paleobotany. The Society was founded in 1908 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Congrats to Caroline and Ryan
Caroline was awarded a “Lewis and Clark Fieldwork Grant” from the American Philosophical Society, an “International Travel Award” from the Einaudi Center, and "Cornell University Graduate School Award”. Caroline will use the funds to travel to Patagonia, Argentina for collecting fossils and working at the Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio paleobotany collection for completing her thesis sampling.
Ryan was awarded one of the “American Society of Plant Taxonomists Grants”. Ryan will be collecting live specimens of mosses (Splachnaceae) in Newfoundland, Canada. The collected material will be the base for one of his Ph.D. thesis’ chapters.

Good-bye and Good luck to Teddy and Zack
Teddy Matel is changing from gray Ithaca to windy Ann Arbor. He will start his Ph.D. at the Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan. Teddy accomplished a lot during the years he worked with us, he published a paper on Cunoniaceae reproductive fossils from Laguna Del Hunco and is finishing a second manuscript on a survey of cuticular characters of the genus Schinus. We will miss his smile and his peanut butter sandwiches during lunch!
Zackary “Zack” Kozma is graduating with Honors next week. His Honors thesis is on leaf features of the Argentinean members of the tribes Paulliniea and Athyanea (Sapindaceae). Zack was the Vice-President of the Varsity Botany Club, and was involved in the Cornell Big Red Marching and Pepe Band where he was Drum Major and Saxophone Leader. We will miss his great humor and cheery smiles.

Dr Gandolfo took Caroline and Teddy to Patagonia to do field work. They plan to spend about two weeks at the Laguna del Hunco site (an probably travel to other sites). After their field time, they will be going to spend a week at the MEF in Trelew, Argentina. There, Caroline will be seaching the collection for more of her fossils, and the fossils collected in this field season will be prepared to be placed in the MEF collection. They will return to the US in early April.

Congratulations Teddy! Theodore “Teddy” Matel graduated With Honors Dec. 18th, with a BS in Plant Sciences. He is waiting to hear from graduate schools he has applied to. Wherever he goes, we know he will do stellar.

Cesar presented a poster with Dr. Gandolfo and Ana Andruchow-Colombo at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS) 2022 meeting in Anaheim, CA. His poster is titled "Epidermal Morphology of the Subfamily Athrotaxoideae".

Dr. Gandolfo will be going to Argentina for the month of October to return the Early Eocene Laguna del Hunco fossils she borrowed from the MEF (Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio) years ago and look at several other collections there. She will also be giving a plenary talk at the XIV Reunión Argentina de Cladística y Biogeografía meeting in Trelew, Argentina.

Three people from the lab went to the Botany 2022 meetings in Anchorage, Alaska, July 24-27. Caroline (with Dr. Gandolfo and Peter Wilf) will give her presentation on "A new fossil Malvaceae fruit from the Early Eocene of Patagonia, Argentina", Cesar (with Ana Andruchow-Colombo and Dr. Gandolfo) will give a presentation titled "Epidermal Morphology of the Subfamily Athrotaxoideae (Cupressaceae)", and Teddy (with Dr. Gandolfo) will give a talk titled "Leaf epidermal micromorphology of South American Anacardiaceae". Good luck presenters!

Dr Gandoflo and Dr. Nixon are traveing to Helsinki, Finland for the XXXIX Annual Meeting of the Willi Hennig Society from July 24-July 28. Dr. Gandolfo is one of the invited speakers of the meeting. Her talk is titled "Fossils are critical in phylogenetic analyses: Patagonian paleofloras as a case study" on Tuesday. Dr. Nixon will also present "SEKS – Sequential Entry Keying System" on Wednesday.

Facundo De Benedetti has joined the Gandolfo Lab as a post-doc. He received his PhD on the 11th and came to Cornell on the 13th! He'll be working on the Cretaceous and Paleogene palynology of the La Colonia formation. Welcome to the lab, Facundo!

Dr. Gandolfo is traveling to Cambridge University, UK for three weeks to study the Antarctic plant fossils they have in their collection. This trip related to Dr. Gandolfo's Seymour Island fossils project.

A new paper by Theodore Matel, Maria Gandolfo, Elizabeth Hernsen, and Peter Wilf is out fron the American Journal of botany titled: Cunoniaceae infructescences from the early Eocene Laguna del Hunco flora, Patagonia, Argentina. Congratulations Teddy on your paper!

The 2022 Mid-Continent Paleobotanical Colloquium will be held Friday May 6th to Sunday May 8th, at Oak Spring Garden Foundation, Upperville, Virginia. Dr. Gandolfo will be giving a plenary lecture in the evening of Sat., May 7th. Registration deadline is Monday April 18th. Several people from the lab are going, and Caroline Siegert may present.

A new paper is out in the Journal of Systematics and Evolution: New genus of Cupressaceae from the Upper Cretaceous of Patagonia (Argentina) fills a gap in the evolution of the ovuliferous complex in the family, by Ana Andruchow-Colombo, María A. Gandolfo, Ignacio H. Escapa, and Néstor R. Cúneo.

A new paper from The Botanical Review: "Leaflet Anatomical Diversity in Zamia (Cycadales: Zamiaceae) Shows Little Correlation with Phylogeny and Climate" by R.A. Glos, S. Salzman, M. Calonje, A. P. Vovides, M. Caoiro, M. A. Gandolfo, and C. D. Specht.

A new paper from the journal PhytoKeys: An image dataset of cleared, x-rayed, and fossil leaves vetted to plant family for human and machine learning is online.

A new paper from the Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, The South American and Antarctic Peninsula fossil record of Salviniales (water ferns): Its implication for understanding their evolution and past distribution is online.

The Gandolfo lab welcomes two new graduate students, Ryan and Caroline. Ryan will be conducting research on fossil bryophytes, focusing on the Paleozoic, and Caroline will be studying the Early Eocene reproductive structures from Laguna del Hunco.

A new paper has come out in the Journal of South American Earth Sciences: Reconstructing Cenozoic Patagonian biotas using multi-proxy fossil records.

Dr. Alejandra Gandolfo has received the Donald R. Kaplan Memorial Award from the Botanical Society of America in recognition of her scientific contributions.  She was the selected Kaplan Memorial Lecturer for the Botany Society of America Meetings 2021.  (See below for title and abstract.) 

Dr. Gandolfo wishes to thank Toby Kellogg for making the wonderful wordcloud based on her publications for the Botanical Society of America (BSA) Kaplan Lecture presentation. (See below for title and abstract.)

Members of the Gandolfo lab presented in the Botany 2021 Virtual meeting July18-23. Dr. Gandolfo was a featured speaker (Kaplan Lecture) for the meeting. Her talk on the 21st was titiled: "Understanding the Plant Fossil Record, Plant Morphology, and Plant Anatomy is critical in the genomic era". Ana Andruchow-Colombo gave a talk on the 22nd titiled: "Ginkgoaleans at the edge of the Mesozoic: Ginkgoites from the Late Cretaceous Lefipán Formation of Patagonia, Argentina". Ayress Grinage gave a talk on the 21st titled: "Deciphering the Tales of Sabal from the Crypt: Insights from Past Collections" and Teddy gave a talk on the 19th titled: "New reproductive structures of Cunoniaceae tribe Cunonieae from the early Eocene Laguna del Hunco flora, Chubut, Patagonia, Argentina." Congratulations to all the presentors!

Welcome to the lab!
Cesar Galan is a transfer student and will soon start working with Ana on morphological and anatomical features of the Podocarpaceae and Cupressaceae.

Dr. Gandolfo and Teddy Matel participated in the Virtual Midcontinent Paleobotanical Colloquium of 2021. Dr. Gandolfo gave the Keynote talk on June 6th, titled: " Darwin’s 'Damned land': A paleo(neo)botanist’s paradise". Teddy Matel gave a talk on the same day (with co-authors M.A. Gandolfo, E.J. Hernsen, and P. Wilf), titled: "New reproductive structures of Cunoniaceae tribe Cunonieae from the early Eocene Laguna del Hunco flora, Chubut, Patagonia, Argentina."

A new paper is out in Cretaceous Research:
Clyde, W.C., J.M. Krause, F. De Benedetti, J. Ramezani, N.R. Cúneo, M.A. Gandolfo, P. Haber, C. Whelan, and T. Smith. 2021. New South American record of the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary interval (La Colonia Formation, Patagonia, Argentina). Take a look!

Dr. Gandolfo is giving a workshop for the U.S. Botanic Garden:
Title: The Art of Plant Anatomy: A Botanical Illustration Workshop with Dr. Alejandra Nixon
Description: Have you ever wondered what plants look like on the inside? Explore the beauty and function of plant anatomy in this special botanical illustration series highlighting the inner workings of plant structures. Over the course of four classes, Dr. Alejandra Nixon will show you how to observe and illustrate microscopic views of Stems & Roots, Leaves, Flowers, and Fruits. You’ll use the plant histology slides from Cornell University’s stunning collections to guide your artistic investigation of plant anatomy. After this workshop, you’ll never look at plants the same way again!

Congratulations Teddy! Teddy has won one of the 2021 Botanical Society of America Undergraduate Student Research Awards in support of his work on fossil Cunoniaceae from Laguna del Hunco, Patagonia.

Dr. Gandolfo is one of the women scientists featured in the "Daring to Dig" exhibition at the Paleotological Research Institute (PRI).

Two new papers will be coming out in rapid succession. One paper in press will be published by the Journal of South American Earth Sciences: Macroevolutionary changes in the fossil plant record: Key examples from the Cretaceous-Paleogene of Patagonia, Argentina. Another paper has been accepted in the International Journal of Plant Sciences: Southern high latitude plant-insect interactions from the Miocene of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Both papers were written by Maria A. Gandolfo and Mmaria C. Zamaloa.

3/22/21 A new publication in The American Journal of Botany:
Paleoaltingia gen. nov., a new genus of Altingiaceae from the Late Cretaceous of New Jersey. by Yangjun Lai, Maria A. Gandolfo, William L. Crepet, and Kevin C. Nixon.

The lab welcomes new students
Two new students are going to be working in Dr. Gandolfo's lab this semester:

Zackary Kozma is a sophomore majoring in Biology with a concentration in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and minoring in Plant Sciences. Zack will be working on the family Sapindaceae.

Rachel Peverly is a sophomore majoring in Plant Sciences with a concentration in Plant Evolution and Diversity. Rachel will be working with Ayress Grinage on Sabal.

New paper published in the International Journal of Plant Sciences:
First South American Record of Winteroxylon, Eocene of Laguna del Hunco (Chubut, Patagonia, Argentina): New Link to Australasia and Malesia by Mariana Brea, Ari Iglesias, Peter Wilf, Eliana Moya, and María A. Gandolfo.

Students arrive!
Due to the continuing COVID 19 problems, Dr. Gandolfo's new students will be arriving later than normal to the lab:

Ayress Grinage, a graduate student who is working on Sabal leaf anatomy, will return to the lab in February to continue on her work begun in the last semester.

Teddy Matel, a junior in Plant Sciences concentrating in Plant Systematics and Evolution, will also return in February to continue working on Cunoniaceae from the Early Eocene.

Dr. Ana Andruchopw-Colombo, from Argentina, will join the lab in April. She will be working on the description of the gymnosperm component of the Lefipan Formation.

Also Dr. An Xiaohong, a postdoctoreal associate in Dr. Gandolfo's lab, will continue working on the phytoliths of the Lefipan Formation.

New papers have come out in the American Journal of Botany:
New physaloid fruit‐fossil species from early Eocene South America by Rocío Deanna, Peter Wilf, Maria A Gandolfo. and
52 million years old Eucalyptus flower sheds more than pollen grains. by Maria C. Zamaloa, Maria A. Gandolfo, Kevin C. Nixon.

Dr. Gandolfo announces that the CU-PAC Plant Anatomy Online Lab Manual is now live! It can be found here:

Dr. Gandolfo welcomes new students!

Dr. Gandolof has three undergraduate students working on projects in her lab. They are:
Colton Poore worked in Dr. Gandolfo’s lab on a silicified endocarp in the Icacinaceae from the early Paleocene of Patagonia, Argentina. He will complete a manuscript by the end of 2019 and it will be his Honors Thesis. He presented the results of his research at Botany 2018 and his poster was selected, among more than 800, for publication.

Jessica Dobler: I am an undergraduate Biology major working on a project along with Camila Martinez that analyzes oak trichomes. We are sampling many species of Latin American Oak trees, and photographing them under the Scanning Electron Microscope, paying special attention to the trichomes. We are then going to analyze and classify the trichome morphology for each species, and perhaps analyze and classify the stomata as well. Hopefully from this data we will be able to establish phylogenetic relationships between oak species, and perhaps in the future we can correlate the data to climate, or other pressures on selection to draw some conclusions about oak tree evolution

Peter Meyer: Miocene cuticle

Updates to the lab
The Gandolfo lab has moved down the hall from 410 to 406. With this move, Dr. Gandolfo purchased some great new equipment: a Phenom XL desktop SEM and a Nikon flourescence dissecting scope.

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