Michael Ziegler is a PhD researcher with the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI-SHH) in collaboration with the ERC-funded LASTJOURNEY project coordinated by Dr. José Iriarte at the University of Exeter. His PhD project, advised by Dr. Patrick Roberts, focuses on the paleoecology of northwest South America during the Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene transition. He is interested in utilizing stable isotope analyses to better understand megafaunal extinction on the South American landscape and spatio-temporal variations in the dietary behavior of fossil taxa as a response to shifts in paleoenvironmental conditions and selective anthropogenic pressures.
Michael Ziegler holds a BSc degree in Environmental Science & Geology from Georgia College (2016) and a MSc in Geology from University of Florida (2019). His BSc thesis titled "Exploring the Neodymium Isotopic Signatures of Marine Sediments from Across Panamá" was a result of a REU internship with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and served as a case study to better understand the shoaling of the Central American Seaway. Other undergraduate research focused on taphonomic alterations of megafauna (i.e., Bison latifrons) from a Pleistocene fossil assemblage in southeast Georgia, USA to better understand predator-prey relationships on the local landscape.
Following undergrad, he completed a fellowship with the Koobi Fora Field School where he mapped and analyzed fossiliferous Middle Stone Age localities in the Turkana Basin of Kenya. Most recently, his MSc thesis titled "Paleoenvironmental Analysis of Montbrook: An Unusual Fossil Locality from the Late Miocene – Early Pliocene in Northern Florida, USA" was a multifaceted research project that utilized the site's mixed faunal assemblage and local/regional stratigraphy to provide some of the first direct insights into transitional terrestrial ecosystems from the Miocene-Pliocene transition in the southeastern USA.
Ziegler M. J., Perez V. J., Pirlo J., Narducci R. E., Moran S. M., Selba M. C., Hastings A. K., Vargas-Vergara C., Antonenko P. D., and MacFadden B. J. (2020). Applications of 3D Paleontological Data at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Frontiers in Earth Science. 8:600696. doi: 10.3389/feart.2020.600696
Cheng L., Antonenko P. D., Ritzhaupt A. D., Dawson K., Miller D., MacFadden B. J., Grant C., Sheppard T. D., and Ziegler M. J. (2020). Exploring the Influence of Teachers' Beliefs and 3D Printing Integrated STEM Instruction on Students’ STEM Motivation. Computers & Education. 158:103983. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2020.103983
Ziegler, M. J. (2019). Paleoenvironmental Analysis of Montbrook: An Unusual Fossil Locality from the Late Miocene – Early Pliocene in Northern Florida, USA. Unpublished Masters Thesis, Available in the Department of Geological Sciences at University of Florida.