2006 Romer Prize Recipient
I have my first memory of vertebrate paleontology when I was five years old and my parents took my two sisters and me to the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt, Germany. I can still remember how fascinated I was by this visit. I grew up surrounded by Devonian rocks in the small town of Gummersbach in western Germany and spent a lot of time during my childhood collecting trilobites and crinoids. But my heart was always with vertebrate paleontology and I had made my choice to study Geology/Paleontology at the University of Bonn a few years before I graduated from high school. After my undergraduate diploma at the University of Bonn, I spent a year as a visiting student at the University of Calgary and during that time also spent some time as a volunteer at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. I returned to Bonn to finish my diploma (MSc equivalent). For my thesis I worked on a Middle Triassic ichthyosaur from Nevada under the supervision of Martin Sander. This was a great project involving visits at the Museum of Paleontology of the UC Berkeley and the Field Museum in Chicago, which sparked my continuous interest in marine reptiles. The Institute of Paleontology of the University of Bonn provided a stimulating environment and I had a great time there. I wanted to broaden my experience and pursue my PhD studies in North America and was excited when Bob Carroll accepted me in fall 2003 as his student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. I have a year left until I will finish my PhD, for which I study different aspects of the ontogeny and life history of Paleozoic amphibians in comparison with modern amphibian taxa — a project that taught me a great deal of new approaches and methods.
I have many people to thank, first of all my parents who always supported me and fueled my interest with books and museum visits (even when I grew up and still wanted to be a paleontologist) and my husband Jörg Fröbisch, who shares my passion for vertebrate paleontology. Bob Carroll for introducing me to the project that showed me what great study objects amphibians are and for sharing his enthusiasm and encyclopedial knowledge. Hans Larsson for his support and his constant stream of ideas and helpful suggestions. And last but not least my fellow students and friends of the McGill deep time specialist lab and the Reisz Paleontology laboratory in Toronto for great discussions, moral support and many fun hours.
As an "academic grandchild" of Alfred S. Romer, I am particularly honored that I was chosen to receive the A. S. Romer prize of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. Thank you very much!
Photo courtesy of Nadia Fröbisch.