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Department of Paleobiology

  • Selina Cole
  • Springer Fellow
  • Phone:   202-633-1306
  • Fax:   202-786-2832
  • E-mail Address:   coleselat SI dot edu
  • Mailing Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    PO Box 37012, MRC 121
    Washington, DC 20013-7012
  • Shipping Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    National Museum of Natural History
    10th & Constitution NW
    Washington, DC 20560-0121


Ph.D. The Ohio State University 2017
B.S. James Madison University 2012

Research Interests

My research is concerned with the biotic and abiotic drivers of macroevolutionary patterns through deep time, especially among Paleozoic invertebrates. I am particularly interested in the role of ecological processes in shaping patterns of biodiversity and morphologic evolution. I integrate morphological datasets and phylogenetic reconstructions with database occurrences to quantitatively explore potential causes underlying macroevolutionary patterns within a phylogenetic framework.

My area of taxonomic expertise is the Echinodermata, particularly the pelmatozoan echinoderms, with an emphasis on crinoids. Crinoids have an exceptional fossil record and serve as an exemplary model group for addressing many macroevolutionary questions. As a researcher on the NSF Assembling the Echinoderm Tree of Life project, I am also actively involved in developing a phylogenetic classification for the Crinoidea and using phylogeny to inform systematic revision of crinoids.

Recent and ongoing research projects include:

1) Phylogenetics & systematics: Phylogeny-based classification of Crinoidea; phylogeny and systematic revision of camerate crinoids

2) Phylogeny-based macroevolutionary studies: Extinction selectivity in crinoids within a phylogenetic context and the role of ecological and environmental factors; Rates of morphologic evolution in ecologically- versus non-ecologically-significant characters; Role of ecology in the generation and maintenance of morphologic disparity

3) Taxonomy & systematic paleontology: Taxonomic evaluations/re-evaluations of crinoid faunas, including descriptions of new taxa (Upper Ordovician faunas from Spain, Estonia, and Ontario; Mississippian faunas from Alaska)

4) Sequence stratigraphy of Mississippian carbonates of Alaska; paleobiogeography of high-latitude Mississippian echinoderm faunas

Personal Website

My Google Scholar Page

Recent Publications

Ausich, W.I., D.F. Wright, S.R. Cole, and J. Koniecki. In review. Disparid and hybocrinid crinoids (Echinodermata) from the Upper Ordovician (lower Katian) Brechin Lagerstätte of Ontario. Journal of Paleontology.

Cole, S.R, W.I. Ausich, D.F. Wright, and J. Koniecki. In review. An echinoderm Lagerstätte from the Upper Ordovician (Katian), Ontario: taxonomic re-evaluation and description of new dicyclic camerate crinoids. Journal of Paleontology.

Cole, S.R., and U. Toom. In review. Two new camerate crinoid genera from the Upper Ordovician (Katian) of Estonia: evolutionary origin of Family Opsiocrinidae and a phylogenetic assessment of Ordovician Monobathrida. Journal of Systematic Paleontology.

Cole, S.R. 2017. Phylogeny and morphologic evolution of the Ordovician Camerata (Class Crinoidea, Phylum Echinodermata). Journal of Paleontology, v. 91, p. 815–828.

Cole, S.R., W.I. Ausich, S. Zamora, and J. Colmenar. 2017. Filling the Gondwanan gap: paleobiogeographic implications of new crinoids from the Castillejo and Fombuena formations (Middle and Upper Ordovician, Iberian Chains, Spain). Journal of Paleontology, v. 91, p. 715–734.

Wright, D.F., W.I. Ausich, S.R. Cole, T.W. Kammer, M.E. Peter, and E.C. Rhenberg. 2017. Phylogenetic taxonomy and classification of the Crinoidea (Phylum Echinodermata). Journal of Paleontology, v. 91, p. 829‒846.

Cole, S.R. and W.I. Ausich. 2015. Phylogenetic analysis of the Ordovician Diplobathrida (Subclass Camerata, Class Crinoidea): Implications for early camerate evolution. Cuadernos del Museo Geominero, v. 19: Progress in Echinoderm Palaeobiology, p. 41-44.

Ausich, W.I., T.W. Kammer, D.F. Wright, S.R. Cole, M.E. Peter, and E.C. Rhenberg. 2015. Toward a phylogenetic classification of the Crinoidea (Echinodermata). Cuadernos del Museo Geominero, no. 19: Progress in Echinoderm Palaeobiology, p. 29-32.

Cole, S.R., J. Haynes, P. Lucas, and R. Lambert. 2015. Faunal and sedimentological analysis of a latest Silurian stromatoporoid biostrome from the central Appalachian Basin. Facies, v. 61, no. 3, 16 p.