The Sprigg Lecture Series provides visitors with access to the latest research and thinking around scientific and cultural discoveries at a local and global level and to engage with scientific ideas that affect them and their world, now and in the future.
These lectures commemorate the life of Dr Reg Sprigg AO, a remarkable South Australian geologist who discovered the world's oldest fossilised animals in the Flinders Ranges in 1946, now internationally recognised as the Ediacara fossils.
Catching the Ediacara Wave: Just how different was life in the South Australian oceans 550 million years ago?
Professor Mary Droser
PhD, University of Southern California, 1987
4 March at 6pm. Doors open at 5.30pm.
Book your seat online. Free.
This talk will explore, using the iconic South Australian Ediacaran record, topics such as mobility, sexual reproduction, neighborhood associations, food processing and positive living with bacteria.
Patterns of evolution, origination and extinction of early animal life on this planet are largely interpreted from fossils of the soft-bodied Ediacara Biota, Earth’s earliest multicellular communities preserved in the Flinders Ranges and vicinity.
While in appearance, these organisms of the Ediacaran biota look very strange and unfamiliar, many of them may have had a biology and/or ecology similar to animals today.
The record of these organisms predates the well-known Cambrian Explosion by nearly 40 million years and provides critical information concerning early experimentation with complex life forms on Earth.
Mary was born in New York but spent summers as a kid playing in tide pools fascinated by the marine invertebrates. She combined her interest in marine ecology with her love of geology to become a paleontologist.
She attended the University of Rochester in New York for her undergraduate degree and then the University of Southern California for her Ph.D.
Mary is currently a Professor at the University of California, Riverside. Her research focuses on the interactions between organisms and their environments with an emphasis on ecology. She has been working with Jim Gehling, Palaeontologist from the South Australian Museum for over 15 years on the Ediacara Biota in South Australia and elsewhere in the world.
Mary has had the privilege of spending the last 12 northern hemisphere summers in South Australia working on these iconic fossils.
See an interview with Mary on Landline.