Available Graduate Student Projects

Potential graduate student projects are available involving solely or in combination; systematic analysis (paleobotany), paleoclimate reconstruction, and paleoenvironments.

M.Sc. students would be enrolled in the MSc graduate program at Brandon University.


  • I am not accepting Ph.D. students at this time.
  • Prospective MSc students without scholarship support are not being accepted at this time.

A limited number of graduate student scholarships at Brandon University are available to Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents on a competitive basis.

An approved project would involve some field work and also laboratory work. Projects based on the following are a primary focus:-

Paleocene, Eocene & Miocene of British Columbia (paleobotany, paleoecology and palynology).

  • This project is fully funded through to 2021 so is the priority.
  • McAbee flora / paleoecology –  1x MSc student completed June 2018 (A. Lowe).
  • Allenby Formation shale compression fossil macroflora and leaf mines (e.g., Whip Saw Creek / Blue Flame Mine) – 1x MSc student (J. Vachon, commenced 2018), but room for another.
  • Driftwood Canyon macroflora or microflora (spore-pollen reconstruction of environmental change) – currently 1x M.Sc. student (R. Brown, on leave), but opportunities for another student.
  • ‘Burrard’ flora; re-describing the leaf flora from the Huntingdon Formation of metro Vancouver – Kanaka Creek flora study completed (Mathewes et al., 2019), led by RW Mathewes (SFU), with Renee Breedlovestrout (Idaho State U), but opportunities for a graduate student.
  • Fossil palms; the fossil record of palms for Canada is very poorly known. Describing and identifying fossil leaves and fruits from Canadian Late Cretaceous to Eocene sites would make a nice MSc project.
  • Red Lake Mine macroflora; describing the macroflora and reconstructing the climate. Little has been published on Miocene floras from BC since the work of Glenn Rouse and his associates in the 1960s to early 1980s, with those studies focused on pollen. This flora is dominated by oak leaves (Quercus spp.), and leaves and seeds (e.g., Pinaceae, Acer, Tilia and Nordenskioeldia [extinct Trochodendraceae]) of temperate forest genera typical of the southeast of North America and China, and shares many taxa with same-age floras from Washington, Idaho and Oregon. Would make a nice Honours or MSc project.

Arctic Paleogene climates and fossil floras (with J.F. Basinger, J. Galloway, and others).

  • Early Eocene macrofloras and palynology of Axel Heiberg & Ellesmere islands.
  • Eocene floras associated with kimberlites, North West Territories
  • recent 1x PhD student (CK West – macrofloras) defended August 2019, and 1x MSc student (M Sudermann – palynology) defended Sept. 2019
  • analysis of the insect damage on leaves from West’s Ellesmere Is. collections would make a great MSc project (in collaboration with E Currano, U Wyoming)