2021 Nominee – Secretary

Caenagnathid theropod metatarsals, photo credit: Thomas Holtz

2021 Nominee – Secretary

Kenneth D. Angielczyk

MacArthur Curator of Paleomammalogy, Negaunee Integrative Research Center, Field Museum of Natural History

I am honored to be nominated to stand for election for the position of Secretary of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. SVP was the first professional society I joined, and more than any other professional organization, it has remained my “home.”

My research focuses on the paleobiology and paleoecology of Permo-Triassic tetrapods, and can be divided into three areas. First, I study the taxonomy and systematics of Permo-Triassic tetrapods, particularly non-mammalian synapsids. Second, I build upon this foundation by addressing questions related to the biogeography, biostratigraphy, functional morphology, disparity, growth, and life history of Permo-Triassic taxa. Finally, I am interested in the causes and effects of the Permo-Triassic mass extinction, as well as how terrestrial food web structures were affected by the extinction. Fieldwork is an important part of my research, and I currently have active field programs in Brazil, Tanzania, and Zambia. Since 1998, I have been an author or co-author of over 105 peer-reviewed publications, including papers in venues such as Nature, Science, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

I have been privileged to assist the Society in its efforts to recognize outstanding student research by serving on the Alfred Sherwood Romer Prize Committee (2008–present; chair since 2019) and the Taylor & Francis Award Committee (2010–present). Other professional service I have undertaken includes serving as an editorial board member for Palaeontographica Americana (2008–2012), Bulletins of American Paleontology (2008–present), Palaeontology and Papers in Palaeontology (2009–present); Fieldiana (2013–2017), and Systematic Biology (2014–present); and working as a committee member for other professional societies: Nominations Committee, Division of Systematics and Evolutionary Biology of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (2008); Harrel L. Strimple Award Committee, Paleontological Society (2011–2012); Nominations Committee, Paleontological Society (2014–2017; chair 2017). Currently, I am the Head of the Earth Sciences Division of the Negaunee Integrative Research Center at the Field Museum of Natural History.

I am excited about the opportunity to help SVP in its broader mission to advocate for our field. There are three areas that I think deserve particular attention. 1) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. I am a white man, and coming from that position of privilege I felt welcome in the field of vertebrate paleontology, but that experience is not universal. Now more than ever, it is critical that we take action to ensure that our society and our field are as welcoming to people from all backgrounds as they were to me. 2) The importance of paleontological collections. As a museum professional, I understand the research significance of paleontological collections, and the challenges in building, maintaining, and improving collections. I will be a strong advocate for collections, both within the scientific community and in outreach to government agencies and the general public. 3) Science communication. I was once a 5-year-old kid obsessed with dinosaurs, and I never really grew out of that phase. My experience is a perfect example of how naturally vertebrate paleontology can be used to inspire people about science. I look forward to continuing to develop better ways to share with broad audiences the amazing narratives that result from our work so that we can get the next 5-year-old hooked.