I am the Curator of Geology, and I've been at the Academy since 1999. I hold degrees in Biology (B.Sc.), Oceanography (M.S.) and Geology (Ph.D.). My research is transdisciplinary, with a focus on understanding the evolution of ecological systems, emphasizing paleontology, deep time, and perspectives on complexity dynamics. Most of my research these days centers around global change biology, and how we can further develop our understanding of Earth's past ecosystems to better forecast our future.

I was born in the United Kingdom, and grew up in the beautiful countries of Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago. I earned my Ph.D. from the University of California Davis, and later became a citizen of the United States. I am a strong supporter of immigrants, broad inclusivity of all persons in American society, and the promotion of groups underrepresented and marginalized in the sciences, particularly on the bases of ethnicity and gender identity.

Current appointments:

CURATOR: Department of Invertebrate Zoology & Geology, Institute of Biodiversity Science and Sustainability, California Academy of Sciences.

RESEARCH PROFESSOR: Dept. of Biology, San Francisco State University.

RESEARCH ASSOCIATE: University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley.

ADJUNCT PROFESSOR: Dept. of Geosciences, San Francisco State University.

Current projects include:

The Roopnarine Lab

  • Dr. Peter Roopnarine, Curator of Geology and Paleontology
  • Dr. Rebecca Wilcox. California Academy of Sciences
  • Tatiana Marrone, Master's student. Co-supervised with Rich Mooi. Researching the systematics and morphological evolution of the Cenozoic echinoid genus Astrodapsis.
  • Sara Sjosten, Ph.D. student, Environmental Intelligence, University of Exeter. Co-supervised with Timothy Lenton and Stuart Daines.

Lab Alum


Roopnarine, P. D. and D. H. Goodwin. 2024. The geometry of conchiferan shell evolution: Origins of coiling and bivalved morphologies. Journal of Molluscan Studies. (accepted)

Roopnarine, P. D., M. Abarca, D. Goodwin and J. Russack. 2023. Economic cascades, tipping points, and the costs of a business-as-usual approach to COVID-19. Frontiers in Physics. 11:1074704. doi: 10.3389/fphy.2023.1074704

Huang, Y. H., Z. Q. Chen, P. D. Roopnarine, M. J. Benton, et al. 2023. The stability and collapse of marine ecosystems during the Permian-Triassic mass extinction. Current Biology. 33:1-12. doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2023.02.007

Sampson, S. D. and P. D. Roopnarine 2023. We Need to Think about Conservation on a Different Timescale. Scientific American,

Roopnarine, P. D., R. M. Banker and S. Sampson. 2022. Impact of the extinct megaherbivore Steller’s sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) on kelp forest resilience. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2022.983558

Banker, R. M., A. A. Dineen, M. G. Sorman, C. L. Tyler and P. D. Roopnarine. 2022. Beyond functional diversity: the importance of trophic position to understanding functional processes in community evolution. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2022.983374.

Palmer, H. M. et al. 2022. Ecological and environmental stability in offshore Southern California Marine Basins through the Holocene. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology (2021): e2021PA004373.

Roopnarine, P. D. and R. M. W. Banker. 2021. Perspective: Ecological stasis on geological timescales. Science 372:237-238. (Full text) (Summary)

Huang, Y., Z. Q. Chen, P. D. Roopnarine, M. J. Benton, W. Yang, J. Liu and L. Zhao. 2021. Ecological dynamics of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems across three mid-Phanerozoic mass extinctions from northwest China. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 288:20210148

Roopnarine, D. S., P. D. Roopnarine, L. C. Anderson, J. H. Hwang and S. Patel. 2021. Metaplasia of respiratory and digestive tissues in the Eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. PLoS One. 16 (9): e0247739 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0247739.

Yang, W. et al. 2021. Paleoenvironmental and Paleoclimatic Evolution and Cyclo- and Chrono-Stratigraphy of Upper Permian-Lower Triassic Fluvial-Lacustrine Deposits in Bogda Mountains, NW China – Implications for Diachronous Plant Evolution Across the Permian-Triassic Boundary. Earth-Science Reviews. 103741.

Kempf, Hannah L., Ian O. Castro, Ashley A. Dineen, Carrie L. Tyler, and Peter D. Roopnarine. 2020. Comparisons of Late Ordovician ecosystem dynamics before and after the Richmondian invasion reveal consequences of invasive species in benthic marine paleocommunities. Paleobiology 46:320-336. DOI: 10.1017/pab.2020.26

Palmer, Hannah M., T. M. Hill, P. D. Roopnarine, S. E. Myhre, K. R. Reyes, and J. T. Donnenfield. 2020. Southern California margin benthic foraminiferal assemblages record recent centennial-scale changes in oxygen minimum zone. Biogeosciences 17:2923–2937.

Roopnarine, P. D., K. D. Angielczyk, A. Weik and A. Dineen. 2019. Ecological persistence, incumbency and reorganization in the Karoo Basin during the Permian-Triassic transition. Earth-Science Reviews 189:244-263. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2018.10.014 (Altmetrics) (Free download) (PaleorXiv)

Dineen, A., P. D. Roopnarine, M. Fraiser. 2019. Ecological continuity and transformation after the Permo-Triassic mass extinction. Biology Letters 15. dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2018.0902. (Altmetrics)

Saulsbury, J. et al. 2019. Evaluating the influences of temperature, primary production, and evolutionary history on bivalve growth rates. Paleobiology 45:405-420. https://doi.org/10.1017/pab.2019.20

Roopnarine, P. D. Ecological modeling of paleocommunity food webs, 2018. In Conservation Paleobiology. Science and Practice. Gregory Dietl and Karl Flessa, editors. University of Chicago Press. ISBN: 9780226506692

Roopnarine, P. D. and A. A. Dineen, 2018. Coral reefs in crisis: The reliability of deep-time food web reconstructions as analogs for the present. In Marine Conservation Paleobiology. Carrie Tyler and Chris Schneider, editors. Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-73795-9

Roopnarine, Peter D., Kenneth D. Angielczyk, Savannah Olroyd, Sterling J. Nesbitt, Jennifer Botha-Brink, Brandon R. Peecook, Michael O. Day, Roger M. H. Smith, 2018. Comparative Ecological Dynamics Of Permian-Triassic Communities From The Karoo, Luangwa And Ruhuhu Basins Of Southern Africa. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 37(6): 254-272. (Altmetrics)

Marshall, C. R. et al., 2018. Quantifying the dark data in museum fossil collections as palaeontology undergoes a second digital revolution. Biology Letters 14:20180431. (Altmetrics)

Printrakoon, C., P. D. Roopnarine and T. Yeemin, 2018. Ecology of Pinnidae (Mollusca: Bivalvia) from The Gulf of Thailand. Acta Oceanologica Sinica https://doi.org/10.1007/s13131-018-1230-4.

Myhre, S. E., K. J. Kroeker, T. M. Hill, P. D. Roopnarine and J. P. Kennett, 2017. Community benthic paleoecology from high-resolution climate records: Mollusca and Foraminifera in post-glacial environments of the California Margin. Quaternary Science Reviews 155: 179-197. (Altmetrics)

Roopnarine, P. D., 2016. Ancient food web interactions. Access Science, McGraw-Hill Education. http://dx.doi.org/10.1036/1097-8542.YB160510

Roopnarine, P. D. and K. D. Angielczyk, 2016. The stability of ecological communities as an agent of evolutionary selection: Evidence from the Permian Triassic mass extinction. In Evolutionary Theory: A Hierarchical Perspective. Niles Eldredge, Telmo Pievani, Emanuele Serrelli, and Ilya Tëmkin, editors. University of Chicago Press. p. 307-333.

Roopnarine, P. D. and K. D. Angielczyk. 2015. Community stability and selective extinction during the Permian-Triassic mass extinction. Science 350: 90-93. DOI: 10.1126/science.aab1371 (Abstract & reprint) (Altmetrics)

Moffitt, S. E., T. M. Hill, P. D. Roopnarine and J. P. Kennett. 2015. Response of seafloor ecosystems to abrupt global climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112: 4684-4689. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1417130112 (Altmetrics)

Roopnarine, P. D. 2014. Humans are apex predators. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi/10.1073/pnas.1323645111 (Altmetrics)

L. A. Rocha et al. 2014. Specimen collection: An essential tool. Science. 344:814-815. (Altmetrics)

Schreiber, H. A., P. D. Roopnarine and S. J. Carlson. 2014. Three-dimensional morphological variability of Recent rhynchonellide brachiopod crura. Paleobiology. 40:640-658.

Roopnarine, P. D. 2013. Ecology and the Tragedy of the Commons. Sustainability 5:749-773. (Altmetrics)

Roopnarine, P. D. 2013. Omslagpunt voor de aarde (Tipping the Biosphere). In Meer!, M. Thieme (ed.). Uitgeverij Jan van Arkel, Netherlands. p. 87-98. ( English translation)

Goodwin, D. H., D. Gillkin and P. Roopnarine. 2013. Preliminary evaluation of potential stable isotope and trace element productivity proxies in the oyster Crassostrea gigas. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 373:88-97.

Simons, J. D. et al. 2013. Building a fisheries trophic interaction database for management and modeling research in the Gulf of Mexico large marine ecosystem. Bulletin of Marine Science 89:135-160.

Vermeij, G. J. and P. D. Roopnarine. 2013. Reining in the Red Queen: The dynamics of adaptation and extinction re-examined. Paleobiology 39:560-575.

Roopnarine, P. D. 2012. Red queen for a day: models of symmetry and selection in paleoecology. Evolutionary Ecology 26:1-10. DOI: 10.1007/s10682-011-9494-6

Roopnarine, P. D. and K. D. Angielczyk. 2012.The evolutionary palaeoecology of species and the tragedy of the commons. Biology Letters 8:147-150. DOI:10.1098/rsbl.2011.0662 (Altmetrics)

Roopnarine, P. D. and R. Hertog. 2012. Detailed food web networks of three Greater Antillean coral reef systems: The Cayman Islands, Cuba and Jamaica. Dataset Papers in Ecology Vol. 23, 9 p.

Barnosky, A. et al. 2012. Approaching a state-shift in Earth's biosphere. Nature 486:52-58. (Altmetrics)

Mitchell, J. S., P. D. Roopnarine and K. D. Angielczyk. 2012. Late Cretaceous restructuring of terrestrial communities facilitated the End-Cretaceous mass extinction in North America. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109:18857-18861. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1202196109. (Altmetrics)

Kavanaugh, D. H., S. L. Archambeault, P. D. Roopnarine and J. Ledford. 2011. A re-consideration of the taxonomic status of Nebria lacustris Casey (Coleoptera: Carabidae: Nebriini) based on multiple datasets - a single species or a species complex?. Zookeys 147:199-228.

Mindell DP, Fisher BL, Roopnarine P, Eisen J, Mace GM, et al. 2011. Aggregating, Tagging and Integrating Biodiversity Research. PLoS ONE 6(8): e19491. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019491

Roopnarine, P. D. 2010. Networks, extinction and paleocommunity food webs. in J. Alroy and G. Hunt, eds., Quantitative Methods in Paleobiology, The Paleontological Society Papers, 16: 143-161.

Goodwin, D. H., A. Cohen and P. D. Roopnarine 2010. Forensics on the half shell: A sclerochronological investigation of a modern biological invasion in San Francisco Bay, United States. Palaios, 25: 742-753.

Roopnarine, P. D. 2009. Ecological modeling of paleocommunity food webs. in G. Dietl and K. Flessa, eds., Conservation Paleobiology, The Paleontological Society Papers, 15: 195-220.

Bennington, J. B. et al. 2009. Critical Issues of Scale in Paleoecology. Palaios, 24: 1-4.

Roopnarine, P. D. 2008. Ecological informatics: Catastrophe theory. In Jørgensen, S. E., editor, Encyclopedia of Ecology. Elsevier Press. p. 531-536.

Roopnarine, P. D., Signorelli, J., and Laumer, C. 2008. Systematic, biogeographic and microhabitat-based morphometric variation of the bivalve Anomalocardia squamosa (Bivalvia: Veneridae: Chioninae) in Thailand. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 18:95-102.

Goodwin, D. H., Anderson, L. C. and P. D. Roopnarine 2008. Evolutionary origins of novel conchologic growth patterns in tropical American corbulid bivalves. Evolution and Development, 10:642-656.

Vermeij, G. J., and Roopnarine, P. D. 2008. The coming Arctic invasion. Science, 321: 780-781.

Roopnarine, P. D., Angielczyk, K. D., Wang, S. C., and Hertog, R. 2007. Trophic network models explain instability of Early Triassic terrestrial communities. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 274:2077-2086.

Roopnarine, P. D. 2006. Extinction cascades and catastrophe in ancient food webs. Paleobiology, 32:1–19.

Roopnarine, P. D., Angielczyk, K. D., and Hertog, R. 2006. Comment on “Statistical independence of escalatory ecological trends in Phanerozoic marine invertebrates”. Science, 314:925d.

Roopnarine, P. D. 2005. The likelihood of stratophenetic-based hypotheses of genealogical succession. Special Papers in Palaeontology, 73:143–157.

Roopnarine, P. D., Murphy, M. A., and Buening, N. 2005. Microevolutionary dynamics of the Early Devonian conodont Wurmiella from the Great Basin of Nevada. Paleontologia Electronica, 8(2):16p.

Anderson, L. C. and Roopnarine, P. D. 2005. Role of constraint and selection in the morphologic evolution of Caryocorbula (Mollusca: Corbulidae) from the Caribbean Neogene. Paleontologia Electronica, 8(2):18p.

Angielczyk, K. D., Roopnarine, P. D., and Wang, S. C. 2005. Modeling the role of primary productivity disruption in end-Permian extinctions , Karoo Basin, South Africa. In Lucas, S. G. and Zeigler, K. F., editors, The Nonmarine Permian, number 30 in New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin, pages 16–23.

Elser, J. J., Schampel, J. H., Kyle, M., Watts, J., Carson, E. W., Dowling, T. E., Tang, C., and Roopnarine, P. D. 2005. Response of grazing snails to phosphorus enrichment of modern stromatolitic microbial communities. Freshwater Biology, 50:1826–1835.

Dettman, D. L., Flessa, K. W., Roopnarine, P. D., Schöne, B. R., and Goodwin, D. H. 2004. The use of oxygen isotope variation in shells of estuarine mollusks as a quantitative record of seasonal and annual Colorado River discharge. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 68:1253–1263.

Roopnarine, P. D. 2003. Analysis of rates of morphologic evolution. Annual Reviews of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 34:605–632.

Anderson, L. C. and Roopnarine, P. D. 2003. Evolution and phylogenetic relationships of Neogene Corbulidae (Bivalvia: Myoidea) of Tropical America. Journal of Paleontology, 77:1086–1102.

Tang, C. M. and Roopnarine, P. D. 2003. Complex morphological variability in complex evaporitic systems: Thermal spring snails from the Chihuahuan Desert, Mexico. Astrobiology, 3:597–607.

Roopnarine, P. D. 2002. Book review: Evolutionary History of the Bivalvia. Veliger.

Roopnarine, P. D. 2002. Empiricism at all levels. “Evolutionary Patterns. Growth, Form, and Tempo in the Fossil Record”. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 17:441–442. (Book review).

Schöne, B. R., Goodwin, D. H., Flessa, K. W., Dettman, D. L., and Roopnarine, P. D. 2002. Sclerochronology and growth of the bivalve mollusks Chione fluctifraga and Chione cortezi in the northern Gulf of California, Mexico. Veliger, 45:45–54.

Roopnarine, P. D. 2001. The description and classification of evolutionary mode in stratophenetic series: A computational approach. Paleobiology, 27:446–465.

Roopnarine, P. D. 2001. A history of diversification, extinction, and invasion in tropical America as derived from species-level phylogenies of chionine genera (Family Veneridae). Journal of Paleontology, 75:644–658.

Roopnarine, P. D. 2001. Testing the hypothesis of heterochrony in morphometric data: Lessons from a bivalved mollusk. In Zelditch, M. L., editor, Beyond Heterochrony: The Evolution of Development, pages 271–303. John Wiley and Sons.

Roopnarine, P. D. 2000. Book review: Bivalves, an eon of evolution. Veliger.

Roopnarine, P. D. and Vermeij, G. J. 2000. One species becomes two: The case of Chione cancellata, the resurrected C. elevata, and a phylogenetic analysis of Chione. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 66:517–534.

Tang, C. M. and Roopnarine, P. D. 2000. Cretaceous rudist reef mounds of southern Arizona: An educational opportunity for active learning. In McCord, R. D. and Boaz, D., editors, Mesa Southwest Museum Bulletin. Southwest Paleontological Symposium: Proceedings 2000, number 7, pages 65–71.

Roopnarine, P. D. and Beussink, A. 1999. Extinction, geographic replacement, and escalation of the bivalve Chione in the Late Neogene of Florida. Paleontologia Electronica, 2(1). 24p.

Roopnarine, P. D., Byars, G., and Fitzgerald, P. 1999. Anagenetic evolution, stratophenetic patterns, and random walk models. Paleobiology, 25(1):41–57.

Roopnarine, P. D. 1998. Translating trees into taxonomy within Veneridae (Bivalvia): A reply to Harte. Malacologia, 39(1–2):221–224.

Roopnarine, P. D., Fitzgerald, P., Byars, G., and Kilb, K. 1998. Coincident boron profiles of bivalves from the Gulf of California: Implications for the calculation of paleosalinities. Palaios, 13:395–400.

Roopnarine, P. D. 1997. Endemism and extinction of a new genus of Chionine (Bivalvia: Veneridae) bivalve from the late Neogene of Venezuela. Journal of Paleontology, 71(6):1039–1046.

Roopnarine, P. D. 1996. Systematics, biogeography and extinction of chionine bivalves (Early Oligocene - Recent) in the Late Neogene of tropical America. Malacologia, 38(1–2):103–142.

Roopnarine, P. D. 1995. A re-evaluation of stasis between the species Chione erosa and C. cancellata (Bivalvia: Veneridae). Journal of Paleontology, 69(2):280–287.

Roopnarine, P. D. 1994. Systematics, Biogeography and Extinction of chionine bivalves in the Neogene of tropical America. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California Davis. 280 pp.

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