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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Department of Paleobiology

  • Richard S. Barclay
  • Peter Buck Fellow
  • Phone:   202-633-1380
  • Fax:   202-786-2832
  • E-mail Address:   barclayrsat 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. Northwestern University, 2011
M.S. University of Florida, 2002
B.S. Western Washington University, 1996

Research Interests

I am a paleobotanist who uses fossil plants to solve geological problems. I study deep-time fossil plant records, integrate those with high-resolution geochemical records, and work within temporally well-constrained sections to maximize the results of my efforts. My research interests focus on 4 main areas: 1) global carbon cycle perturbations; 2) paleoclimate change; 3) mass extinction events; and 4) species evolution and radiation. Fossil plants are ideal archives for studying these problems, since they are abundant fossils, often of high diversity assemblages, and the relative immobility of plants forces them to adapt to changes in climate and other evolutionary forces. I use a combination of data types to investigate the fossil record, including stable isotopes, ammonites, pollen, magnetic reversals, and geochronology. The combination of these tools allows me to develop high-resolution paralic and terrestrial records to unravel the driving forces for key events in Earth's history.

Personal Research Web Site: