Rebecca Freeman

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  • Director of Undergraduate Studies
  • Assistant Professor
  • Earth & Environmental Sciences
  • Sedimentary Geology
306 Slone Research Building
859-257-6376
Research Interests:
Education

Ph.D., Tulane University
M.S., University of Missouri-Columbia
B.S., Murray State University

Research

Teaching, Mentoring, and Geoscience Outreach Interests:

I serve as Director of Undergraduate Studies and am the primary advisor for Geological Sciences juniors and seniors. I also meet with freshmen and sophomores regularly. I lead efforts to recruit majors and expand our undergraduate program.

I am also the point person on UKCore education in earth sciences, the selection of courses the department offers to fulfill the “Intellectual Inquiry in the Natural and Physical Sciences” requirement. We attempt to design these courses to appeal to a wide variety of non-science majors while, most importantly, improving science and information literacy.

My interest in undergraduate education and recruitment led me to be involved in two funded projects working with high school students.

Our NSF GEOPATHS-funded initiative built geoscience content into the curriculum at the Fayette County STEAM Academy, a STEM-focused early college high school. We tested the hypothesis that early exposure to geosciences would increase the number of students who choose a career in geosciences. The project funded RA Eva Lyon, who currently has a paper in revision outlining our findings from this project. Read about this initiative here: https://ees.as.uky.edu/uk-partnership-will-prepare-steam-students-geosciences-careers

I also worked with Carol Hanley (UK College of Agriculture, Food & Environment) and Alan Fyar (UK EES) on a US Department of State-funded program to build a collaborative on-line learning environment that enables high schools in India and Kentucky to learn about and do research on water quality in their communities. Our website is here: https://sites.google.com/view/wiiky-friends/home Our winning Kentucky high school, Belfry High School, travelled to India June, 2018 and our winning Indian high school, DAV Model School, from Durgapur, traveled to Kentucky April, 2018. Check out their website here: https://dav-water-lite.weebly.com/

Research Interests:

Broad interests: I am interested in what fossils can tell us about evolution, extinction, and ecology during one of most fascinating periods in life’s history, the transition from the Cambrian Explosion to the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event (GOBE), and then to the end-Ordovician mass extinction. I particularly focus on linguliform brachiopods and other phosphatic fossils.

Main projects: The triggering mechanisms for the GOBE are not well understood, but the event is generally seen as a Middle Ordovician, specifically Darriwilian event (see Stigall et al., 2019, below). In North America, the GOBE is proceeded by a series of trilobite extinction events (“biomeres”) which may set the stage for the GOBE. Brachiopods are both a key component of the Cambrian fauna (linguliform brachiopods) and the Paleozoic fauna (rhynchonelliform brachiopods), and I am currently investigating the effects of these extinction events on both groups through three biomeres in the Great Basin, Texas, and Oklahoma, and am involved in IGCP 653: The Onset of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event.

The first of the “Big Five” extinction events closes out the end of the Ordovician, an event generally linked to glaciation. The timing of the onset of the glaciation and its links to other events, such as the onset of the Taconic Orogeny are not well constrained, but the sedimentary record of the epeiric sea offers paleoenvironmental clues. Abundant phosphate, primarily as phosphatic fossils, in some Upper Ordovician Laurentian epeiric sea strata has been linked to upwelling and changing patterns of oceanic circulation, which in turn has been interpreted to signal the onset of glaciation and climate change. I am working with a group to test this hypothesis through detailed taphonomic and stratigraphic investigation of these occurrences in the Ohio/Kentucky/Indiana area (Dattilo et al., 2016, 2019; Freeman et al., 2019).

Related interests: Taphonomy, Stratigraphy, Trace fossils, Predator/prey interactions, Shell beds, Biostratigraphy

 

Courses

Courses Taught (2011-present)

EES 110: Endangered Planet: Introduction to Environmental Geology

EES 120: Sustainable Planet: The Geology of Natural Resources

EES 150: Earthquakes and Volcanoes

EES 170: Blue Planet: Introduction to Oceanography

EES 295: Geoscience Orientation

EES 350: Regional Historical Geology

EES 395: Independent Study in Geology for undergraduates

 

Selected Publications: 

PUBLICATIONS: PEDAGOGY & OUTREACH

Accepted, Hanley, C., Freeman, R.L., Fryar, A.E., Sherman, A.R, Edwards, E. Water in India and Kentucky: developing an online curriculum with field experiences for high school students in diverse setting. Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education.

2019, Browne, K., Sahl, L., Freeman, R., Smalley, G., White, C., Lichtenwalter, C.S. Anoxic Events. OOI Data Labs Collection. https://datalab.marine.rutgers.edu/explorations/2019/anoxia.php

2018, Freeman, R. Leveraging student experience with water for active learning in a large introductory oceanography classroom. Oceanography 31(4): 182–183. https://tos.org/oceanography/article/leveraging-student-experience-with-water-for-active-learning-in-a-large-int

PUBLICATIONS: FOSSILS & SEDIMENTARY PROCESSES

In press, Paton, T., Freeman, R.L., Dattilo, B.F., Brett, C.E., Sumrall, C. Edrioasteroids on corals: taphonomic feedback and sedimentary processes control the ecology of a Late Ordovician (Katian: Cincinnatian, Richmondian) community in central Kentucky, USA. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeecology. https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/palaeogeography-palaeoclimatology-palaeoecology/articles-in-press

2019, Dattilo, B.F., Freeman, R.L., Zubevic, Y., Brett, C.E., Straw, A., Frauhiger, M., Hartstein, A., Shoemaker, L. Time richness and phosphatic microsteinkern abundance in the Cincinnatian (Katian) Ordovician, USA: an example of polycyclic phosphogenic condensation. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeecology 535:109362. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018219300719

2019, Freeman, R.L., Dattilo, B.F., Brett, C.E. An integrated stratinomic model for the genesis and concentration of “small shelly fossil”-style phosphatic microsteinkerns in not-so-exceptional conditions. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeecology 535:109344. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018218310125

2019, Stigall, A.L., Edwards, C.E., Freeman, R.L., Rasmussen, C.M.Ø. Coordinated biotic and abiotic change during the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event: Darriwilian assembly of early Paleozoic building blocks. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 530, 249–270. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018219302305

2018, Miller, J.F., Evans, K.R., Freeman, R.L., Loch, J.D., Ripperdan, R.L. Taylor, J.F. Combining biostratigraphy, carbon isotope stratigraphy, and sequence stratigraphy to define the base of Cambrian Stage 10. Australasian Palaeontological Memoirs 51:19–64.

2018, Paton, T.R., Freeman, R.L., Dattilo, B.F., Brett, C.E. Encrusting on a coral graveyard: a reworked coral bed from the Upper Ordovician (Cincinnatian, Richmondian) of central Kentucky. In Florea, L.J., (ed.), Ancient Oceans, Orogenic Uplifts, and Glacial Ice: Geologic Crossroads in America's Heartland. Geological Society of America Field Guide 51:34–36.

2018, Brett, C.E., Hartshorn, K.R., Waid, C.B.T., McLaughlin, P.I., Bulinski, K.V., Thomka, J.R., Paton, T.R., Freeman, R.L., Dattilo, B.F. Lower to middle Paleozoic sequence stratigraphy and paleontology in the greater Louisville, Kentucky area. In Florea, L.J., (ed.), Ancient Oceans, Orogenic Uplifts, and Glacial Ice: Geologic Crossroads in America's Heartland. Geological Society of America Field Guide 51:1–59.

2018, Freeman, R.L., Miller, J.F.,Dattilo, B.F. Linguliform brachiopods across a Cambrian–Ordovician (Furongian, Early Ordovician) biomere boundary: the Sunwaptan–Skullrockian North American Stage boundary in the Wilberns and Tanyard formations of central Texas. Journal of Paleontology 92:751–767.

2017, Johnston, M.N., Eble, C.F., O'Keefe, J.M.K, Freeman, R.L.,  Hower, J.C. Petrology and palynology of the Middle Pennsylvanian Leatherwood coal bed, Eastern Kentucky: indications for depositional environments. International Journal of Coal Geology 181:23–38.

2016, Dattilo, B.F., Freeman, R.L., Peters, W., Heimbrock, B., Deline, B., Martin, A., Kallmeyer, J.,  Reeder, J.,  Argast, A. Giants among micromorphs: were Cincinnatian (Ordovician, Katian) small shelly phosphatic faunas dwarfed? PALAIOS 31:55–70.

2015, Miller, J., Evans, K., Ethington, R., Freeman, R., Loch, J., Repetski, J., Ripperdan, R., Taylor, J. Proposed auxiliary boundary stratigraphic section and point (ASSP) for the base of the Ordovician System at Lawson Cove, Utah, USA. Stratigraphy 12(3-4):219–236.

2015, Miller, J.F., Ripperdan, R.L., Loch, J.D., Freeman, R.L., Evans, K.R., Taylor, J.F.,  Tolbart, Z.C. Proposed GSSP for the base of Cambrian Stage 10 at the lowest occurrence of Eoconodontus notchpeakensis in the House Range, Utah, USA. Annales de Paleontologie 101:199–211.

2015, Miller, J.F., Dattilo, B.F., Ethington, R.L.,  Freeman, R.L. Polyfocal photos of microfossils using petrographic microscopes. Annales de Palaeontologie 101:179–184.

2014, Miller, J.F., Evans, K.E., Freeman, R.L., Ripperdan, R.L.,  Taylor, J.F. The Proposed GSSP for the base of the Lawsonian Stage (Cambrian Stage 10) at the First Appearance Datum of the conodont Eoconodontus notchpeakensis (Miller, 1969) in the House Range, Utah, USA. GFF.

2013, Freeman, R.L., B.F. Dattilo, A. Morse, M. Blair, S. Felton,  J. Pojeta, Jr. The Curse of Rafinesquina: Negative taphonomic feedback exerted by strophomenid shells on storm-buried lingulids in the Cincinnatian Series (Katian, Ohio) of Ohio. PALAIOS 28, 359–372. https://ees.as.uky.edu/sites/default/files/faculty_publications/Rebecca%20Freeman/Freeman_et_al_2013_Curse%20of%20Rafinesquina.pdf

2011, Freeman, R.L.  J.F. Miller, Lingulate brachiopods from the Upper Cambrian (Sunwaptan) Hellnmaria Member of the Notch Peak Formation, western Utah. Memoirs of the Association of Australasian Paleontologists 42:37–74. https://ees.as.uky.edu/sites/default/files/faculty_publications/Freeman%...

2011, Miller, J.F., K.R. Evans, R.L. Freeman, R.L. Ripperdan, Taylor, J.F.  Proposed stratotype for the base of the Lawsonian Stage (Cambrian Stage 10) at the First Appearance Datum of Eoconodontus notchpeakensis (Miller) in the House Range, Utah, USA. Bulletin of Geosciences 86(3):595–620. http://www.geology.cz/bulletin/contents/art1255

2011, Freeman, R.L., Miller, J.F. First report of a larval shell repair scar on a lingulate brachiopod: Evidence of durophagous predation in the Cambrian pelagic realm? Journal of Paleontology 85(4), 697–704. 

1996, Freeman, R.J., Stitt, J.H. Upper Cambrian and lowest Ordovician articulate brachiopods from the Arbuckle and Wichita Mountains, Oklahoma. Journal of Paleontology 70(3),355–372.


PUBLICATIONS: ABSTRACTS (Last few years)

2019, Stigall, A,L., Freeman, R.L., Edwards, C.E., and Rasmussen, C.M.Ø. Coordinated biotic and abiotic change during the Great Ordovician Biodiversifcation Event: Darriwilian assembly of Early Paleozoic building blocks. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs.

2019, Dattilo, B., Meyer, D.L., Freeman, R.L., Thomka, J.R., Sheray, S., and Stebing, J. "Phosphatization" of echinoderm ossicles: insights from Ordovician and modern environments. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs.

2019, Brett, C.E., Aucoin, C., Dattilo, B.F., Freeman, R.L., Hartshorn, K.., Schwalbach, C. Revised Upper Ordovician sequence stratigraphy in the Cincinnati Arch: implications for the temp and patterns of biotic change. Paleobios 36 (Supplement):80-81. (NAPC 2019 Meeting)

2019, Freeman, R., Mystery Marine Organisms: teaching marine ecology with charismatic megafauna...and overlooked microorganisms. Earth Educator's Rendezvous, Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN.

2018, Lyon, E., Freeman, R.L., Nelson, A., Sampson, S., and Parson, J. Lack of exposure or lack of interest? Exploring 9th graders’ perceptions of geoscience at a STEAM high school. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs.

2018, Freeman, R.L., Lyon, E., Nelson, A., Sampson, S., and Parson, J. Geosciences versus Environmental Sciences: 9th graders’ differing perceptions of two closely related disciplines. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs.

2018, Fryar, A.E., Hanley, C.D., Freeman, R.L., Sherman, A.R.*, WIIKY (Water in India and Kentucky): integrating field experiences with an online platform for high school classes. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs.

2018, Frauhiger, M.J., Dattilo, B.F., Freeman, R.L., Peters, W.S. Upper Middle Triassic “Small Shellies” from the Kleine Terrebratelbank of Muschelkalk, Bavaria, Germany: The role of “attention bias” in underestimating the distribution of phosphatic microsteinkerns. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs.

2018, Fryar, A.E., Hanley, C.D., Freeman, R.L., Sherman, A.R. WIIKY (Water in India and Kentucky): integrating field experiences with an online platform for high school classes. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs.

2018, Freeman, R.L., and Dattilo, B.F. Über shell-beds: an integrated stratinomic model for the genesis and concentration of small shelly-style phosphatic microsteinkerns. IGCP 653: The Onset of the Great Orodvician Biodiversification Event, Annual Meeting.

2018, Dattilo, B.F., Freeman, R.L., Straw, A., Brett, C.E., Aucoin, C., Frauhiger, M., Hartstein, A., and Shoemaker, L. Testing the "Über shell-bed" model for the origin of phosphatic microsteinkerns in the Orodvician (Katian) of Cincinnati. IGCP 653: The Onset of the Great Orodvician Biodiversification Event, Annual Meeting.

2018, Miller, J.F., Evans, K.R., Freeman, R.L., Loch, J.D., Ripperdan, R.L., and Taylor, J.F. The proposed GSSP for the base of Cambrian Stage 10 at the First Appearance Datum of the conodont Eoconodontus notchpeakensis in the House Range, Utah, USA: a summary. International Meeting on Edicaran and Cambrian Sciences, Xi'an, China.

2018, Freeman, R.L. Leveraging prior student experience to understand the unique nature of water in an introductory Oceanography class, Earth Educator's Rendezvous.

2018, Lyon, E., Rosen, A., and Freeman, R. A PBL approach to linking environmental awareness with geoscience content at a STEM high school, Earth Educator's Rendezvous.

2018, Freeman, R.L. and Dattilo, B.F. Comparative taphonomic petrography: a closer look at shell beds from the Cincinnati, Ohio area Ordovician (Katian). Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs.

2018, Fryar, A.E., Freeman, R.L., Hanley, C., and Sherman, A.R., Exploring water quality in eastern India and Kentucky: an integrated online and field project for place-based and cross-cultural geoscience education. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs.

2018, Frauhiger, M.J, Hartstein, A.R., Carlson, J., Kline, J., Dattilo, B.F., Aucoin, C.D., Freeman, R.L., Kalakay, M., and Brett, C.E. Petrographic clues to the Richmondian invasion of limestones from the Upper Ordovician (Upper Katian) from the Madison, Indiana area. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs.

2018, Dattilo, B.F., Freeman, R.L., Aucoin, C.D., Brett, C.E., and Frauhiger, M.J. Disappearance of phosphatic microfossils in the Upper Cincinnatian (Upper Ordovician, Late Katian): water mass changes or facies tracking? Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs.

2017, Freeman, R.L., Bathon, J., Fryar, A.E., Lyon, E., and McGlue, M.M. Early college STEM-focused high schools: A natural and overlooked recruitment pool for the geosciences. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.

2017, Freeman, R.L., Miller, J.F., Evans, K.R., and Bassett, D.J. Linguliform brachiopods across the Steptoean/Sunwaptan (Late Cambrian) “biomere” boundary in the Great Basin, USA. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs.

2017, Lyon, E., Rosen, A., Freeman, R.L., Fryar, A., McGlue, M.M., and Bathon, J. Elevating the standards: Using the Next Generation Science Standards to promote geoscience awareness in STEM high schools. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs.

2017, Paton, T., Freeman, R.L., and Dattilo, B.F. Encrusting on a coral graveyard: A reworked coral bed from the Upper Ordovician (Cincinnatian, Richmondian) of Central Kentucky. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs.

2017, Frauhiger, M., Stebing, J., Carlson, J., Dattilo, B.F., Aucoin, C., Freeman, R.L., and Brett, C.E. Cyclic alternation of Upper Ordovician limestone and mudstone strata from the Madison, Indiana area. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs.

2016, Freeman, R.L., Miller J.F., Westrop, S.R., Adrain, J.M., Dattilo, B.F., and Evans, K.R. Extinction and migration patterns in Laurentian linguliform brachiopod “blooms” during the Cambrian–Ordovician transition. IGCP 653 Opening Meeting, Durham University.

2016, Freeman, R.L., Bemis, S., Ettensohn, F.R., Idstein, P., and Yeager, K.M. A departmental open house for increased engagement and recruiting of general education geoscience students. Earth Educator’s Rendezvous, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

2016, Dattilo, B.F., and Freeman, R.L. The mutual obligations between fossil enthusiasts and academic paleontologists. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs 48(3).

2016, Dattilo, B.F., Freeman, R.L., Peters, W.S., and Brett, C.E. Where have all the young Rafinesquina gone? Gone to taphonomy every one (mostly). Geological Society of America Abstracts, 48(5).

2015, Dattilo, B.F., Straw, A.M., Freeman, R.L., Brett, C.E., and Argast, A. Phosphorites as uber-shell beds: the relationship between phosphate content and sediment maturity in Cincinnatian (Ordovician, Katian) limestones. Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, 47(7):582.

2015, Dattilo, B.F., Brett, C.E., Meyer, D.L., Freeman, R.L., Hunda, B., Holland, S.M., Stigall, A.L., Deline, B., Sumrall, C.D., and Wilson, M.A. Non-academic paleontologists are essential to the survival of paleontology: lessons from the Cincinnati school. Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs.

2015, Freeman, R.L., Miller, J.F., and Dattilo, B.F. Brachiopods, biomeres, and biofacies: interpreting the  cause of Late Cambrian–earliest Orodivician extinction in a shallow cratonic sea, central Texas. Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs.

2015, Reeder, J.L., Dattilo, B.F., Freeman, R.L., Argast, A., and  Peters, W. Ordovician small shelly faunas from the Elgin Member of the Maquoketa: ecologically dwarfed or taphonomically biased? Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs.

2015, Dattilo, B.F., Freeman, R.L., Reeder, J.L., Straw, A., Aucoin, C., Brett, C.E., and Agast, A. Taphonomic comparisons of two Laurentian Upper Ordovician epeiric sea "small shelly faunas". 12th International Symposium on the Ordovician System. Stratigraphy, 12(2): 98-99.

2015, Dattilo, B.F., Reeder, J., Freeman, R.L., and Argast, A. Ordovician small shelly fauna from the Elgin Member of the Maquoketa: Ecologically dwarfed or taphonomically biased? Geological Society of America, Programs with Abstracts

2014, Freeman, R.L., Ethington, R.L., Miller, J.F., and Dattilo, B.F. Tectonic complications in correlating the Sauk-Tippecanoe megasequence boundary between western and eastern Laurentia: clues from conodont biostratigraphy. Geological Society of America, Programs with Abstracts

2014, Dattilo, B.F., Freeman, R.L., Heimbrock, W.P., Martin, A.J., and Argast, A. Giants among micromorphs: phosphatic steinkerns are small because of taphonomic size-selectivity, not ecological stress. Geological Society of America, Programs with Abstracts

2014, Sparr, J.P., and Freeman, R.L. Rapid burial and unusual preservation of a crinoid garden in the Mississippian Borden Formation of south central Kentucky. National Council on Undergraduate Research Annual Meeting

2014, Sparr, J.P., and Freeman, R.L. Snapshot of phosphate nodule formation in the Mississipian Borden Formation, Kentucky: A crinoid obrution event as a source of phosphorus. Geological Society of America, Programs with Abstracts

2014, Freeman, R.L., and Dattilo, B.F. How many shells are in a shell bed? Mixed taphonomy and shell destruction in a time-rich storm-disturbed Cincinnatian (Ordovician, Katian) shell bed. Geological Society of America, Programs with Abstracts

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