Emily Sessa receives new grant from NASA

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has awarded $1.2 million to Emily Sessa, who will lead a collaborative, multi-institution team in a study of the “fern spore spike”, a phenomenon in the fossil record in which fern spores are disproportionately highly represented relative to spores and pollen of other plant groups following mass extinction events. The grant, whose official title is “Surviving a Mass Extinction: Lessons from the K-Pg Fern Spike”, will take an interdisciplinary approach that merges phylogenetic, physiological, and paleovegetation analyses to explore the fern spore spike from multiple angles. CoPIs include Drs. Jacquelyn Gill (U Maine), Jarmilla Pittermann (UC Santa Cruz), Ellen Currano (U Wyoming), and Regan Dunn (Natural History Museum of Los Angeles).