David Bottjer

Professor of Earth Sciences, Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies
David Bottjer
Pronouns He / Him / His Email dbottjer@usc.edu Office ZHS 233 Office Phone (213) 740-6100

Research & Practice Areas

Geobiology, evolutionary paleoecology, paleobiology, paleoclimatology, paleoenvironmental analysis, paleogenomics, Climate Science


  • Ph.D. Geology, Indiana University, Bloomington, 12/1978
  • M.A. Geology, State University of New York at Binghamton, 6/1976
  • B.S. Geology, Haverford College, 5/1973
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Professor Bottjer is a paleobiologist and paleoecologist who has worked broadly on organism-sediment interactions and the ecological history of life. His current research focuses on two broad paleobiological questions. The first includes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the paleobiology and paleoecology of early metazoan life, with field work conducted in eastern California and China. The second emphasizes obtaining a detailed understanding of the paleoecology of the recovery from the end-Permian and end-Triassic mass extinctions, with extensive work on Triassic strata throughout the western U.S., Europe, Japan and China. This Triassic research project has led to involvement in the Paleobiology Database, which has undertaken the development of large databases with web-based access to solve major outstanding paleobiological and evolutionary problems.

    Research Specialties

    Geobiology, evolutionary paleoecology, paleobiology, paleoclimatology, paleoenvironmental analysis, paleogenomics, Climate Science

  • Book

    • Bottjer, D. J. (2016). Paleoecology: Past, Present and Future. Wiley Blackwell.

    Journal Article

    • Yin, Z., Sun, W., Liu, P., Chen, J., Bottjer, D. J., Jinhua, L., Zhu, M. (2022). Diverse and complex developmental mechanisms of early Ediacaran embryo-like fossils from the Weng’an Biota, southwest China. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Vol. 377, pp. 20210032.
    • Feng, X., Chen, Z., Benton, M. J., Su, C., Bottjer, D. J., Cribb, A. T., Li, Z., Zhao, L., Zhu, G., Huang, Y., Guo, Z. (2022). Resilience of infaunal ecosystems during the Early Triassic greenhouse Earth. Science Advances. Vol. 8 (26), pp. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abo0597.
    • Larina, E., Bottjer, D. J., Corsetti, F. A., Thibodeau, A. M., Berelsom, W. M., West, A. J., Yager, J. A. (2021). Ecosystem change and carbon cycle perturbation preceded the end-Triassic mass extinction. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Vol. 576, pp. 117180.
    • Bottjer, D. J., Yin, Z., Zhao, F., Zhu, M. (2020). Comparative taphonomy and phylogenetic signal of phosphatized Weng’an and Kuanchuanpu Biotas. Precambrian Research. pp. doi.org/10.1016/j.precamres.2019.105408.
    • Thompson, J. R., Posenato, R., Bottjer, D. J., Petsios, E. (2019). Echinoids from the Tesero Member (Werfen Formation) of the Dolomites (Italy): implications for extinction and survival of echinoids in the aftermath of the end-Permian mass extinction. PeerJ. Vol. 7, pp. e736.1.
    • Thompson, J. R., Hu, S. X., Zhang, Q. Y., Petsios, E., Cotton, L. J., Huang, J. Y., Zhou, C. Y., Wen, W., Bottjer, D. J. (2018). A new stem group echinoid from the Triassic of China leads to a revised macroevolutionary history of echinoids during the end-Permian mass extinction. Royal Society Open Science. Vol. 5, pp. doi: 10.1098/rsos.171548.
    • Bottjer, D. J. (2017). Geobiology and palaeogenomics. Earth-Science Reviews. Vol. 164, pp. 182-192.
    • William H. Twenhofel Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Sedimentary Geology, SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology, 2022
    • Paleontological Society Medal, 2019
    • Honorary Member, Pacific Section SEPM Society for Sedimentarty Geology, 2013
    • Fellow, The Paleontological Society, 2007
    • American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, 1999
    • Fellow, Geological Society of America, 1986
    • Raymond C. Moore Medal for Excellence in Paleontology, SEPM Society for Sedimentarty Geology, 2014
    • Albert S. Raubenheimer Award, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, 2013
    • UCLA CSEOL Distinguished Scientist Award, 2001-2002
  • Administrative Appointments

    • Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Earth Sciences, 2016 –
    • Chair, Department of Earth Sciences, 08/16/2009 – 08/15/2012
    • Chair, Department of Earth Sciences, 08/16/2006 – 08/15/2009
  • Editorships and Editorial Boards

    • Editor-in-Chief, Palaeogeography; Palaeoclimatology; Palaeoecology, 2000 – 2017
    • Editor, Palaios, 1989 – 1996

    Professional Offices

    • President, The Paleontological Society, 2004 – 2006
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