Blois Paleoecology Lab

Cave excavations!

Exciting news! This summer, we will be excavating two small test deposits from caves in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, primarily working in the park during the month of June. I need to hire an archeological monitor who would be responsible for monitoring the excavations for the presence of archeological materials. The monitor would need to be a qualified archeologist (per 36 CFR Part 61; or working under the oversight of a qualified archeologist. The field work will be tough but fun* – we will be working in caves, which will involve (at times) crawling on belly or hands and knees, tight squeezes, and work in dark and enclosed spaces.

Know anyone who might be interested? If so, please contact Jessica Blois ( to learn more about the work. We are still in the initial stages of figuring out the hiring process, but I have more details about the work itself.

*though if you hate caves or dark spaces, this will be less fun for you!


Wrapping up 2019!

Just before the winter break, a flurry of publications! (ok, two, but that’s better than none!)

After a long journey through the review process, I am so happy that this paper is finally published. It was led by Clarke Knight, who started the project as a Masters student with Ben Blonder and patiently and brilliantly led the paper through many iterations of review.  Clarke is now a PhD student at UC Berkeley.

And UC Merced graduate student Nate Fox spearheaded this paper on lagomorph identification. This paper was the result of despairing over how to identify the rabbits at La Brea for our #labreawebs project, and doing some careful work to come up with a workable protocol for identifying the species there. Great job, Nate!

We’ve had lots of other good news in the lab over the year – new babies, papers submitted, qualifying exams passed, labwork triumphs, etc. Perhaps our New Year’s resolution should be to more consistently post about all the good things happening in the lab and at UC Merced!

Paid summer positions available!

There are at least two positions available this summer, to work with various members of the lab.

  • Summer field and lab assistant working with Professor Jessica Blois. (Full time for the summer, in Merced and Sequoia National Park)
  • The Mesocarnivore Summer Research Program with postdoctoral scholar Dr. Mairin Balisi. (6 week internship, in Los Angeles at the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum)

You can see fuller descriptions of the opportunities on the Undergrad Opportunities page!

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