The paleobotany lab holds a collection of fossil leaves, wood, flowers, fruits, and pollen. Cretaceous specimens are preserved as 3D, fusinized fossils in an unlithified sandy-clay matrix. Tertiary fossils are preserved as carbonized impressions and flattened lignifications in lithified silicaceous siltstones and unlithified clays. The lab is set up for preparation, study, and preservation of these plant fossils, and serves the research projects of William L. Crepet, visiting fellows, graduate, undergraduate students and his collaborators; Kevin C. Nixon and M. Alejandra Gandolfo.
Equipment and facilities
The facility is equipped with basic materials for processing fossils. We house a Highland Park rock saw, grinding table, and rock polisher, two Zeiss stereo dissecting microscopes, and Zeiss and Leitz compound microscopes with attached Nikon cameras. The laboratory computers provide internet access, word processing, image scanning and creation, movie making, and databasing of fossil records. A set of paleobotanical reprints also resides in the lab.
In addition, laboratory staff have access to a Leica 440 Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and a Hitachi field emission SEM (S4500) for final fossil identification. Other resources available at the Hortorium are an 860,000+ plant specimen herbarium and a botanical reference library. The paleobotany lab is maintained by Jennifer Svitko, lab technician, who oversees the SEM work and much of the databasing of photographic materials.