Telling time from seashells: help us explore Earth’s history through developing better dating techniques


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Paleontological Research Institution

New York, USA

TELLING TIME FROM SEASHELLS

Introduction

Have you ever picked up a seashell on the beach and wondered about its journey to that spot? Far from being a straightforward path from its erstwhile oceanic owner to your pocket, many of the shells that adorn the world’s shorelines have shuffled among the waves and sediments for centuries.

In fact, depending on which beach you happen to be visiting, it is possible that a Roman merchant or an Algonquian fisherman pondered the same shell currently stranded in the sand in front of you. Some beach shells even predate human civilization altogether. Scientists can figure this out using a host of methods for dating rocks, shells, and sediments, including an innovative method called amino acid racemization (AAR) geochronology, which we need your support to conduct at the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) in Ithaca, New York, USA.

What the heck is Amino Acid Racemization (AAR) geochronology?

Amino acids are important components of proteins that all living organisms produce. Almost all amino acids come in two different forms—a left-handed form, also called the “levorotatory” or “L” form, and a right-handed form, also called the “dextrorotatory” or “D” form.

Materials built by living organisms, such as tissues, bones, and shells, are formed with only L-amino acids. Racemization is the name for the process by which L-amino acids in a material convert to D-amino acids over time. This phenomenon happens after the organism that made the material has died. This means that there will be more D-amino acids in a skeleton from an animal that died 100 years ago than last week.

However, the racemization of the amino acids stops once they are balanced, or at equilibrium. When this happens, they are said to be racemic.

The racemization process proceeds at a predictable rate that depends on temperature, so by measuring the proportion of D and L amino acids in a given material you can yield information on its age (as long as the temperature is known).

This fact is what allows amino acid racemization (AAR) to be used for geochronology—the dating of bones, shells, and other biological remains from the geological record.

Why is AAR geochronology important?

Accurate estimates of the ages of shells, bones, and sediments are very important to scientists trying to answer a wide range of questions in a variety of scientific fields. These include archaeology, paleontology, stratigraphy, and tectonics.

For instance, discarded shells in ancient refuse piles can be used to determine when an archaeological site was occupied, the empty shells of locally extinct mollusks can be dated to estimate when a given species used to be abundant, and shells taken from multiple places in a sediment core sample can be dated to better understand the sedimentation and sea-level histories of a given location.

Labs like ours at PRI are working hard to provide scientists with the answers to these and other questions, while also conducting research to expand the capabilities of the dating techniques themselves. It takes a lot of research to understand the relationship between age and properties of a specimen, such as its collection location and species identity, but once these relationships are established, new tools and proxies are created that other scientists can use to answer their research questions.

A recent opinion article in Eos (a publication of the American Geophysical Union) outlined the present and future state of geochronology, concluding that the field “…is poised to make unprecedented leaps in its capacity to stimulate transformative research” and that its “ambitions are more than simply honing a tool; they touch on the great, unanswered scientific questions of our time…” (Harrison et al. 2015, p. 13).

One of four “grand challenges” for the field that the authors identified will rely heavily on the advancement of amino acid racemization (AAR) dating: “continuous temporal coverage throughout the Quaternary—from 1 week to 1 million years—of processes key to today’s societal security, including climate change, critical zone management, volcanic hazards, and paleoseismology” (Harrison et al. 2015, p. 13).

Amino acid racemization (AAR) is one of the only geochronology techniques capable of resolving ages across this entire range (Modern to >1 million years), so to be achieved, this goal will require facilities, such as our lab at PRI, that specialize in amino acid racemization (AAR) dating and are prepared to help train the next generation of scientists in the technique.

Harrison, M., S. Baldwin, M. Caffee, G. Gehrels, B. Schoene, D. Shuster, and B. Singer (2015), Geochronology: It’s about time, Eos, 96,doi:10.1029/2015EO041901. Published on 28 December 2015.

Why support AAR at the Paleontological Research Institution?

The Paleontological Research Institution (PRI), founded in 1932 and located in Ithaca, NY, USA, is a well-respected research institution affiliated with Cornell University. The amino acid racemization (AAR) lab at PRI is just getting started; it was moved to PRI in the summer of 2014 under the guidance of Dr. John Wehmiller, a prominent expert on AAR dating who became a PRI research associate following his recent retirement from the University of Delaware.

The exciting new research capability that the AAR lab offers PRI’s students and professional scientists is an uncommon opportunity. It is the only AAR dating facility on the east coast of North America, and the only lab in the world conducting gas chromatography AAR.

There are only two other AAR dating laboratories in the United States (University of Northern Arizona, and University of Colorado Boulder), and only three additional labs outside the United States (in the United Kingdom, Spain, and Australia). We think this situation is nowhere near enough as AAR dating has numerous benefits:

  • It’s incredibly useful for numerous scientific disciplines
  • It has a relative cost-effectiveness when compared with other dating techniques (e.g., radiometric dating)
  • It plays a key role in addressing some of the major scientific challenges in geochronology and the geosciences in general
  • There is a large number of students, local faculty, and outside collaborators that require data on the ages of specimens for their research

…Hence, maintaining the remaining AAR-capable labs is very important.

Your donation will support the availability of this valuable geochronology technique for students and other researchers by:

  • Funding the running of samples for undergraduate and graduate students conducting thesis research
  • Funding the running of samples for qualified student or professional researchers to generate pilot data to support larger grant proposals
  • Defraying the costs of instrument maintenance

Some examples of our work…

The AAR lab has the potential to benefit research at PRI considerably. For instance, PRI is a leader in the emerging applied field of conservation paleobiology. This involves the application of paleontological data and techniques to the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Many questions in this exciting new field depend on the abilities of researchers to reliably reconstruct past ecosystems and provide baseline information to conservation biologists and resource managers. Knowledge of the ages of fossil material and other geological remains are an important part of these reconstructions. As a result, there is an increasing demand for dating technologies that PRI is in an ideal position to help meet through its own research and student training.

There is also still much work to be done to continue expanding the utility of the AAR technique itself by, for instance, increasing the number of taxa (types of organisms) that can be reliably used to date sedimentary layers. The following are two examples of the important research that is already underway using PRI’s amino acid racemization geochronology lab.

Stephen Durham’s work, PhD student at Cornell University

Stephen Field shot

Stephen Durham in the field, examining a fossil oyster

“I study life history changes in oysters using the fossil record. In particular, I am interested in how lifespan of oysters has varied with climate change in the past. To understand this, knowing the ages of the fossils I am studying is extremely important. For example, I need to know which climatic intervals my fossil oysters inhabited.

At PRI, I have obtained a valuable skill by learning to date the fossil oysters myself. The oysters I am studying lived about 350,000 years ago, during a time when the seas were much warmer than they are today, and sea levels were up to 26 meters higher!

I am grateful to PRI for the opportunity to conduct the AAR dating myself—I gained essential information for my dissertation project. In addition, it was less costly than sending my samples to a commercial laboratory. I also learned a valuable skill that I hope will benefit me for years to come as I start my scientific career.”

John Wehmiller’s work, Research Associate at PRI and Professor Emeritus at University of Delaware

“Throughout my career I have worked to improve our understanding of amino acid racemization as a tool for geochronology, including using AAR dating to study neotectonic uplift of marine terraces in California and to date beach shell accumulations to investigate geological processes such as age mixing and as a proxy for offshore geology.

I have many ideas for projects and further work that I would like to accomplish with students, so being a Research Associate at PRI is really the next step in my involvement with AAR research and education. I am excited by the possibilities for continued research and student training offered by the AAR lab at PRI.”

A few pictures showcasing what we do…

Snapshot 3 (2-9-2016 4-53 PM)

Dissolving a piece of fossil clam shell: one of the first steps in the AAR dating analysis!

Cutting shells

Fossil oyster shell being sliced at PRI in preparation for geochemical analyses, including AAR dating

PRI AAR lab

The PRI AAR lab’s gas chromatograph.

The Team

Dr. Gregory Dietl

gpd

Dr. Dietl manages PRI’s research laboratories, including the AAR dating lab. He serves as the Curator of Cenozoic Invertebrates at PRI and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University.

His research contributes to a growing conceptual understanding of the conditions promoting coevolutionary dynamics between species, particularly predator-prey interactions. Dr. Dietl’s ultimate goal is to look to the structure of ecological systems in nature for insights into the consequences of solutions proposed for some of today’s most pressing societal problems.

With this long-term goal in mind, a major focus of his current research program centers on efforts in the rapidly developing field of conservation paleobiology—a new subdiscipline in paleontology that applies geohistorical data to the conservation of biodiversity, habitats and ecosystem services.

Dr. John Wehmiller

jfw2

Dr. Wehmiller is a Research Associate at PRI and has been actively advising on the AAR lab set-up and training students and staff in its use for the past two years. After 39 years on the faculty at the University of Delaware, John retired in 2013. Upon retiring, Dr. Wehmiller helped facilitate the relocation of his lab equipment and much of his research collection to PRI.

He is a world-renowned expert in AAR geochronology, having published over 100 scientific papers and trained over 30 graduate students during his long, productive career. Dr. Wehmiller’s research focuses on using AAR geochronology to gain insight into stratigraphy and coastal geological processes, including investigations of the aminostratigraphy of Quaternary deposits in the southeastern United States, neotectonic uplift along the Pacific coast of the United States, and using beach shell accumulations to investigate offshore geology in the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

Stephen Durham

IMG_1343

Stephen is a PhD student at Cornell University who was one of the first students to learn the AAR technique at PRI. His research focuses on studying the fossil record of oysters and other mollusks with the goal of uncovering information on ecological baselines and species responses to past climate changes that may help resource managers and conservation biologists manage and restore our coastal natural resources.

What will we do if we exceed our funding goal?

Our funding goal is based on our estimates of the cost of running the lab for the next 1-2 years. Any donations in excess of our funding goal will guarantee that the lab will continue to operate beyond that timeframe. We also hope to be able to award money to students who have great project ideas and want to learn AAR dating, but do not have the funding to pay for the costs of reagents, gases, and materials to run their samples. Naturally, the more funding we receive, the more fantastic research we can support!

When will the research start?

The lab equipment is set up and ready to go, so we are already conducting research. Your support will give the lab some financial stability and help us expand its use to qualified students and professionals who need financial assistance. 

Endorsements

Dr. Darrell S. Kaufman, Regents’ Professor, School of Earth Sciences & Environmental Sustainability, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

“[Amino acid racemization geochronology] is especially versatile. It is applicable to a wide range of stratigraphic problems (e.g., correlations, reworking, unconformities), depositional environments (e.g., marine, lacustrine, fluvial), and time scales (decades to millions of years). It is particularly useful for fossiliferous deposits beyond the range of 14C dating (older than about 40 ka), for which there are few alternative geochronological methods. Because the extent of AAR is dependent on both temperature and time, the average post-depositional temperature can be determined from the D/L ratio if the sample age is known independently.

In the last 20 years, the number of practicing amino acid geochronologists in the US has declined. Ironically, during the same period, the technology to isolate, manipulate, and analyze organic molecules has exploded, presenting opportunities to explore new approaches to extracting geochronological information from biogeochemical reactions. The geoscience community needs more researchers who understand the principles of amino acid geochronology, including its strengths and weaknesses, and who are trained in the analytical process of this technique.”

Dr. Kelsey Feser, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Geology, Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, Iowa, USA

“This summer, an undergraduate student and I will travel to Ithaca to learn the amino acid racemization dating technique and run a suite of samples in the PRI lab to characterize time-averaging and the timing of change in mollusk assemblages from tropical seagrass beds. I am excited to have the opportunity to utilize the facilities at PRI to address our conservation paleobiological questions.”

Dr. Gifford H. Miller, Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA

“I have overseen a laboratory focusing on the utility of amino acid racemization (AAR) to provide chronological constraints for geological samples for 40 years…  The results of these analyses have formed the basis for several papers in Nature and Science, the most recent in January 2016, as well as in international refereed journals specializing in Quaternary research.  There are few other techniques that can provide the chronological constraints other than AAR for the key time period from ~40 ka (the practical upper limit of radiocarbon) to several hundred thousands of years.  AAR data has formed the core of several PhD dissertations in Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder.”

Dr. Daniel R. Muhs, Research Geologist, Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, Colorado, USA

“The amino acid geochronology method has been essential to understanding ages of marine terrace deposits on the Pacific Coast of North America for four decades.  The technique has been an integral part of the toolbox of methods for geochronology of these deposits, for understanding sea level history, paleozoogeography, and Quaternary tectonics.

I am delighted to hear that [John Wehmiller’s] laboratory, now at PRI, is continuing to provide such data to the geosciences community.”

Jansen Smith, PhD candidate, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA

“My work on the paleoecology of the molluscan fauna in the Colorado River delta has been substantially improved by the availability of an accessible and functional AAR lab at the Paleontological Research Institution. A major ecosystem change to the delta, the damming of the Colorado River during the 1930s, is well constrained temporally, however, the molluscan shell accumulations that I use to study the pre-dam era community lack reliable ages. An amino acid model already exists for one of the delta clam species, Chionista fluctifraga, making AAR an ideal dating technique. The AAR lab at PRI will allow me to date shell accumulations of various ages and gain a better understanding of the temporal changes to the ecology of the pre-dam era molluscan community. In turn, this understanding will help me assess the impacts that humans have had on the delta and set the scope for restoration and conservation priorities in the future.”

The Perks

Pledge £5 (approx $7) -A personal thank you e-card from Greg, John, and Steve featuring an original cartoon by PRI staff member Alana McGillis (also included with all higher perks)

Thank you note

Pledge £15 (approx $21) – Opportunity to sign in to an online webinar to hear about one of our AAR projects and ask us questions (also included with all higher perks) (unlimited)

Pledge £20 (approx $28) – Stegosaurus mug from PRI’s Museum of the Earth (20 available)

Mug perk-01

Pledge £20 (approx $28)- Box of 12 notecards bearing depictions of tiles from the mural “Rock of Ages, Sands of Time”, by Barbara Paige at PRI’s Museum of the Earth (20 available). Click here for more information on this beautiful mural depicting the history of life.

pt_fullwidth_image_top_image1003

Pledge £25 (approx $35) – Free admission for two to the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, NY (75 available)

Pledge £30 (approx $42) – Attend an evening lecture with beer and wine at the Museum of the Earth (for one; one free drink). (20 available)

Pledge £45 (approx $64) – Attend an evening lecture with beer and wine at the Museum of the Earth (bring a friend; one free drink per person). (20 available)

Pledge £50 (approx $71) – Your choice of one of three whimsical dinosaur cartoon 5”x7” prints by Dr. Richard Kissel, vertebrate paleontologist and Director of Public Programs at Yale University’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. These can be signed by the team upon request! (50 available)

Notecards trio

Pledge £50 (approx $71) – Let’s discuss some data! We will send you a picture of a seashell that we have dated for one of our AAR lab’s projects and a copy of the data output from the AAR analysis (called a chromatogram) for that specimen, then we will schedule a half-hour video conference with you to teach you about how we interpret the data and figure out the specimen’s age. (30 available)

A chromatogram---the graphical data output from the AAR dating analysis.

A chromatogram—the graphical data output from the AAR dating analysis.

Pledge £100 (approx $142) – Lab tour for two. Come spend some time with the scientists at PRI! We will give you a tour and try to answer all of your questions about AAR. (10 available)

Pledge £150 (approx $214) –  Private, guided gorge walk for you and your family in one of the Ithaca-area’s magnificent gorges, led by one of PRI’s education staff. (5 available)

Gorge walk perk_Watkins Glenn Gorge

PRI gorge walk at the Watkins Glen State Park in Watkins Glen, New York, USA

Pledge £200 (approx $285) – Send us a seashell (or contact us to pick from a variety of shells that we can provide) and we will section it, date it, and send the chromatogram (chromatograms are the graphical data output from the AAR analysis), our interpretation of the data, and a polished section of your shell back to you.* (15 available)

Pledge £250 (approx $356) – We will invite you to dinner with members of the team, where you can learn all kinds of amazing facts about fossils and dating.  (5 available)

Pledge £350 (approx $499) – Fossil preparation training – spend an afternoon in PRI’s fossil preparation laboratory learning to prepare fossils under the guidance of PRI staff! Fossils for prepping will be provided.** (2 available)

A PRI staff member getting ready to remove matrix from a fossil in PRI's fossil preparation ("Prep") lab

A PRI staff member getting ready to remove matrix from a fossil in PRI’s fossil preparation (“Prep”) lab

Pledge £500 (approx $713) – Sponsor a project: we will use your donation to sponsor a student research project in the AAR lab. A condition of accepting the award will be that the student present their results to you via video conference. Also includes a free Ecphora membership† to PRI for a year. (6 available)

Pledge £2500 (approx $3568) – Support our lab for a year. We will send you a year-end report detailing all of the great work your funding accomplished and include your name and the year you sponsored on a plaque on the wall in our lab to honor major donors. Also includes free Ecphora membership† to PRI for five years. (2 available)

Pledge £5000 (approx $7140)–We will start a fund to support an annual, competitive, student research prize to use the AAR lab and you can name the prize (e.g., the John Doe grant for student research in AAR). Also includes free Ecphora membership† to PRI for ten years. (1 available)

*For dating to be feasible, the taxon, collection location, and other information must be known. The donor must consult with us to ensure that the shell will meet the criteria. Donor is responsible for the cost of shipping their specimen to PRI in Ithaca, New York, USA.

**Must be at least 18 years old to work in the PRI fossil preparation lab.

†Visit http://www.priweb.org/getinvolved.php?page=membership/ecphoramembership for information about Ecphora memberships to the Paleontological Research Institution.

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    New Perk: Box of 12 notecards bearing depictions of tiles from the mural “Rock of Ages, Sands of Time”, by Barbara Paige at PRI’s Museum of the Earth (20 available). Click here for more information on this beautiful mural depicting the history of life (£20 is approx. $28)

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  • 1 Backer

    A personal thank you e-card from Greg, John, and Steve featuring an original cartoon by PRI staff member Alana McGillis (also included with all higher perks) (£5 is approx. $7)

  • 2 Backers

    Opportunity to sign in to an online webinar to hear about one of our AAR projects and ask us questions (also included with all higher perks) (£15 is approx. $21)

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    Stegosaurus mug from PRI’s Museum of the Earth (£20 is approx. $28)

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    Free admission for two to the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, NY (£25 is approx. $35)

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    Attend an evening lecture with beer and wine at the Museum of the Earth (for one; one free drink). (£30 is approx. $42)

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    Attend an evening lecture with beer and wine at the Museum of the Earth (bring a friend; one free drink per person). (£45 is approx. $64)

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    Your choice of one of three whimsical dinosaur cartoon 5”x7” prints by Dr. Richard Kissel, vertebrate paleontologist and Director of Public Programs at Yale University’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. These can be signed by the team upon request! (£50 is approx. $71)

  • 1 Backer
    Limit of 30 — 29 remaining

    Let’s discuss some data! We will send you a picture of a seashell that we have dated for one of our AAR lab’s projects and a copy of the data output from the AAR analysis (called a chromatogram) for that specimen, then we will schedule a half-hour video conference with you to teach you about how we interpret the data and figure out the specimen’s age. (£50 is approx. $71)

  • 4 Backers
    Limit of 10 — 6 remaining

    Lab tour for two. Come spend some time with the scientists at PRI! We will give you a tour and try to answer all of your questions about AAR. (£100 is approx. $142)

  • 1 Backer
    Limit of 5 — 4 remaining

    Private, guided gorge walk for you and your family in one of the Ithaca-area’s magnificent gorges, led by one of PRI’s education staff. (£150 is approx. $214)

  • 1 Backer
    Limit of 15 — 14 remaining

    Send us a seashell (or contact us to pick from a variety of shells that we can provide) and we will section it, date it, and send the chromatogram (chromatograms are the graphical data output from the AAR analysis), our interpretation of the data, and a polished section of your shell back to you.* (£200 is approx. $285)

  • Backers
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    We will invite you to dinner with members of the team, where you can learn all kinds of amazing facts about fossils and dating. (£250 is approx. $356)

  • Backers
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    Fossil preparation training – spend an afternoon in PRI’s fossil preparation laboratory learning to prepare fossils under the guidance of PRI staff! Fossils for prepping will be provided.** (£350 is approx. $499)

  • 2 Backers
    Limit of 6 — 4 remaining

    Sponsor a project: we will use your donation to sponsor a student research project in the AAR lab. A condition of accepting the award will be that the student present their results to you via video conference. Also includes a free Ecphora membership† to PRI for a year. (£500 is approx. $713)

  • Backers
    Limit of 2 — 2 remaining

    Support our lab for a year. We will send you a year-end report detailing all of the great work your funding accomplished and include your name and the year you sponsored on a plaque on the wall in our lab to honor major donors. Also includes free Ecphora membership† to PRI for five years. (£2500 is approx. $3568)

  • Backers
    Limit of 1 — 1 remaining

    We will start a fund to support an annual, competitive, student research prize to use the AAR lab and you can name the prize (e.g., the John Doe grant for student research in AAR). Also includes free Ecphora membership† to PRI for ten years. (£5000 is approx. $7140)

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  • 8 Backers
    Limit of 20 — 12 remaining

    New Perk: Box of 12 notecards bearing depictions of tiles from the mural “Rock of Ages, Sands of Time”, by Barbara Paige at PRI’s Museum of the Earth (20 available). Click here for more information on this beautiful mural depicting the history of life (£20 is approx. $28)

  • Backers

    Donation Option: Thank you for your support - If you would like to just donate to the project and not receive a perk select any pledge and send an email to info@walacea.com with subject "no perk" and we will sort out the rest

  • 1 Backer

    A personal thank you e-card from Greg, John, and Steve featuring an original cartoon by PRI staff member Alana McGillis (also included with all higher perks) (£5 is approx. $7)

  • 2 Backers

    Opportunity to sign in to an online webinar to hear about one of our AAR projects and ask us questions (also included with all higher perks) (£15 is approx. $21)

  • 9 Backers
    Limit of 20 — 11 remaining

    Stegosaurus mug from PRI’s Museum of the Earth (£20 is approx. $28)

  • 1 Backer
    Limit of 75 — 74 remaining

    Free admission for two to the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, NY (£25 is approx. $35)

  • 4 Backers
    Limit of 20 — 16 remaining

    Attend an evening lecture with beer and wine at the Museum of the Earth (for one; one free drink). (£30 is approx. $42)

  • Backers
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    Attend an evening lecture with beer and wine at the Museum of the Earth (bring a friend; one free drink per person). (£45 is approx. $64)

  • 11 Backers
    Limit of 50 — 39 remaining

    Your choice of one of three whimsical dinosaur cartoon 5”x7” prints by Dr. Richard Kissel, vertebrate paleontologist and Director of Public Programs at Yale University’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. These can be signed by the team upon request! (£50 is approx. $71)

  • 1 Backer
    Limit of 30 — 29 remaining

    Let’s discuss some data! We will send you a picture of a seashell that we have dated for one of our AAR lab’s projects and a copy of the data output from the AAR analysis (called a chromatogram) for that specimen, then we will schedule a half-hour video conference with you to teach you about how we interpret the data and figure out the specimen’s age. (£50 is approx. $71)

  • 4 Backers
    Limit of 10 — 6 remaining

    Lab tour for two. Come spend some time with the scientists at PRI! We will give you a tour and try to answer all of your questions about AAR. (£100 is approx. $142)

  • 1 Backer
    Limit of 5 — 4 remaining

    Private, guided gorge walk for you and your family in one of the Ithaca-area’s magnificent gorges, led by one of PRI’s education staff. (£150 is approx. $214)

  • 1 Backer
    Limit of 15 — 14 remaining

    Send us a seashell (or contact us to pick from a variety of shells that we can provide) and we will section it, date it, and send the chromatogram (chromatograms are the graphical data output from the AAR analysis), our interpretation of the data, and a polished section of your shell back to you.* (£200 is approx. $285)

  • Backers
    Limit of 5 — 5 remaining

    We will invite you to dinner with members of the team, where you can learn all kinds of amazing facts about fossils and dating. (£250 is approx. $356)

  • Backers
    Limit of 2 — 2 remaining

    Fossil preparation training – spend an afternoon in PRI’s fossil preparation laboratory learning to prepare fossils under the guidance of PRI staff! Fossils for prepping will be provided.** (£350 is approx. $499)

  • 2 Backers
    Limit of 6 — 4 remaining

    Sponsor a project: we will use your donation to sponsor a student research project in the AAR lab. A condition of accepting the award will be that the student present their results to you via video conference. Also includes a free Ecphora membership† to PRI for a year. (£500 is approx. $713)

  • Backers
    Limit of 2 — 2 remaining

    Support our lab for a year. We will send you a year-end report detailing all of the great work your funding accomplished and include your name and the year you sponsored on a plaque on the wall in our lab to honor major donors. Also includes free Ecphora membership† to PRI for five years. (£2500 is approx. $3568)

  • Backers
    Limit of 1 — 1 remaining

    We will start a fund to support an annual, competitive, student research prize to use the AAR lab and you can name the prize (e.g., the John Doe grant for student research in AAR). Also includes free Ecphora membership† to PRI for ten years. (£5000 is approx. $7140)