• Paul Harnik - Earth & Environment
Assistant Professor of Geosciences



Office: HAC 126



Professor Harnik is a paleontologist interested in the origin and maintenance of biodiversity in the world's oceans. Harnik received his Ph.D. from the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago, after which he conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University and the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center at Duke University. His scholarship has concentrated on the biotic and abiotic drivers of extinction and speciation over geologic time, in particular the evolutionary consequences of rarity. His current research focuses on using paleontological data to better understand the possible response of modern marine ecosystems to current and future environmental change and integrating fossil and molecular data in macroevolutionary analyses.

His full CV can be viewed here.

Latest News

Story 4/5/2018

Harnik receives NSF CAREER award!

I have been awarded a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate the environmental drivers of life history variation in coastal ecosystems! I...

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Story 2/23/2018

Paleo Lab research presentations this semester!

This semester members of F&M's Paleo Lab are presenting research at the Ocean Sciences meeting, Oregon State University, and the Northeastern Section meeting of the Geological Society of America.  

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Story 2/23/2018

New paper: Geographic range velocity and its association...

The geographic ranges of plants and animals change in response to environmental conditions. Yet whether more closely related species or genera exhibit similar rates of range of movement is not well...

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B.A., Geology, Oberlin College

Ph.D., Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago

Postdoctoral research, Geological & Environmental Sciences, Stanford University

Postdoctoral reserach, The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center


Conservation Paleobiology



Harnik, P.G., H. Maherali, J.H. Miller, and P.S. Manos. 2018. Geographic range velocity and its association with phylogeny and life history traits in North American woody plants. Ecology and Evolution 8:2632-2644. link

Harnik, P.G., M.L. Torstenson, and M.A. Williams. 2017. Assessing the effects of anthropogenic eutrophication on marine bivalve life history in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Palaios 32:678-688. link

Hoehn, K.B., P.G. Harnik, and V.L. Roth. 2016. A framework for detecting natural selection on traits above the species level. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 7:331-339. link

Finnegan, S.*, S.C. Anderson*, P.G. Harnik*, C. Simpson, D.P. Tittensor, J.E. Byrnes, Z.V. Finkel, D.R. Lindberg, L.H. Liow, R. Lockwood, H.K. Lotze, C.M. McClain, J.L. McGuire, A. O’Dea, and J.M. Pandolfi. 2015. Paleontological baselines for evaluating extinction risk in the modern oceans. Science 348:567-570. (* Authors contributed equally.) link

Liow, L.H., T. Reitan, and P.G. Harnik. 2015. Ecological interactions on macroevolutionary time scales: clams and brachiopods are more than ships that pass in the night. Ecology Letters 18:1030-1039. link

Orzechowski, E.A., R. Lockwood, J. Byrnes, S.C. Anderson, S. Finnegan, Z.V. Finkel, P.G. Harnik, D.R. Lindberg, L.H. Liow, H.K. Lotze, C.R. McClain, J.L. McGuire, A. O’Dea, J.M. Pandolfi, C. Simpson, and D.P. Tittensor. 2015. Marine extinction risk shaped by trait-environment interactions over 500 million years. Global Change Biology 21:3595-3607. link

Harnik, P.G., P.C. Fitzgerald, J.L. Payne, and S.J. Carlson. 2014. Phylogenetic signal in extinction selectivity in Devonian terebratulide brachiopods. Paleobiology 40:675-692. link

Harnik, P.G., C. Simpson, and J.L. Payne. 2012. Long-term differences in extinction risk among the seven forms of rarity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences 279:4969-4976. link

Harnik, P.G., H.K. Lotze, S.C. Anderson, Z.V. Finkel, S. Finnegan, D.R. Lindberg, L.H. Liow, R. Lockwood, C.M. McClain, J.L. McGuire, A. O’Dea, J.M. Pandolfi, C. Simpson, and D.P. Tittensor. 2012. Extinctions in ancient and modern seas. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 27:608-617. link

Harnik, P.G. 2011. Direct and indirect effects of biological factors on extinction risk in fossil bivalves. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 108:13594-13599. link

Harnik, P.G., and R. Lockwood. 2011. Part N, Revised, Volume 1, Chapter 24: Extinction in the marine Bivalvia. Treatise Online 29:1-24 (an online journal presenting chapters of upcoming volumes of the Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology). PDF

Harnik, P.G., D. Jablonski, A.Z. Krug, and J.W. Valentine. 2010. Genus age, provincial area and the taxonomic structure of marine faunas. Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences 277:3427-3435. link

Harnik, P.G. 2009. Unveiling rare diversity by integrating museum, literature, and field data. Paleobiology 35(2): 190-208. link

Simpson, C., and P.G. Harnik. 2009. Assessing the role of abundance in marine bivalve extinction over the post-Paleozoic. Paleobiology 35(4):631-647. link

Harnik, P.G., and R.M. Ross. 2004. Models of inquiry-based science outreach to urban schools. Journal of Geoscience Education 52(5): 420-428. link

Harnik, P.G., and R.M. Ross. 2003. Developing effective K-16 geoscience research partnerships. Journal of Geoscience Education 51(1): 5-8. link

Harnik, P.G., and R.M. Ross. 2003. Assessing data accuracy when involving students in authentic paleontological research. Journal of Geoscience Education 51(1): 76-84. link

Ross, R.M., Harnik, P.G., Allmon, W.D., Sherpa, J.M., Goldman, A.M., Nester, P.L., and J.J. Chiment. 2003. The Mastodon Matrix Project as an experiment with large-scale collaboration in paleontological research. Journal of Geoscience Education 51(1): 39-47. link

Simonson, B.M., and P.G. Harnik. 2000. Have distal impact ejecta changed through geologic time? Geology 28(11): 975-978. link

Student Collaborations

Student Theses / Independent Studies/ Summer Students Advised:

2016-17. Anik Regan, Geology (Macalester)

2016-17. Luke Grimmelbein, Geology (Beloit)

2016. Kevin Cerna, Geosciences

2016. Danielle Moloney, Biology

2015-16. Morgan Torstenson, Geosciences

2015-16. Mario Williams, Environmental Science

2015. Jared Brush, Geosciences

2014. Rebekah Riemann, Geosciences

2014. Timothy Smith, Geosciences

  • Fieldwork conducted in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, July 2015, by assistant professor Paul Harnik and a team of F&M students.
  • Morgan Torstenson sampling offshore Dauphin Island, Alabama (May 2015) as part of the Hackman Summer Scholars Program.
  • Mario Williams (F&M class of '16) presenting a research poster at the Geological Society of America annual conference in early November 2015. William's research was conducted while a Hackman Summer Scholar working in collaboration with ENE Professor Paul Harnik.
  • Summer 2014 Hackman paleo scholars

Course Information

ENE 114 - Earth, Environment and Humanity

ENE 221 - History of the Earth

BIO/ENE 257 - Conservation Paleobiology

  • geo221 fieldtrip
  • Conservation Paleobiology Weekend Fieldtrip