Laurel M Bybell

Scientist Emeritus 2008-present in Office of Science Quality and Integrity

Editor-in Chief for the Journal of Nannoplankton Research, Liaison for the USGS Scientist Emeritus Program, revising and improving the USGS Scientist Emeritus website, serving on several USGS committees, and have recently designed and implemented the permanent "Trek through Time" exhibit at the USGS Reston.

Biography

Recent Accomplishments

In May 2020, installation was completed for the USGS "Trek through Time," a walk along the paths of the USGS in Reston from the beginning of the Cambrian to Recent.  After I developed and constructed several temporary "treks" for USGS Open Houses, OSQI has paid for a permanent exhibit.  The 1/3 mile trek has year markers for every 10 million years and large signs at the beginning of each epoch and era that contain a diorama of plant and animal life at that time, a paleogeographic map of the world with the position of Virginia indicated, and a brief description of the geography, climate, plants, animals, catastrophic events, and what Virginia was like at the time. 

In 2019, I became the Editor-in Chief of the Journal of Nannoplankton Research.

Education

1974-1976 – George Washington University – coursework towards PhD in Geology

1975 – University of Miami – M.S. in Marine Geology

1967 – Vassar College – B.A. cum laude – Major – Geology; Minor – Russian

Scientific Studies/Experience

  • Associ

ate Program Coordinator for National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program, 2004-2008

  • During my career at the USGS from 1975 to my retirement in 2008, I worked as a micropaleontologist specializing on Cenozoic calcareous nannofossils, particularly along the Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plains. I was a participant and sometime project chief for many USGS investigations over the years that resulted in numerous publications.
  • My work on the P/E boundary and the Late Paleocene Thermal Maximum event established me as a scientific leader within the international geoscience community.  I was invited to and attended and presented significant information at the international meetings concerning this event.  I have collaborated with some of the most prestigious scientists studying this global event.
  • Based on a transect of coreholes from inland New Jersey to deeper waters at the New Jersey shore margin and then offshore to DSDP Site 605, in 1997, I published new data on biogeographical variations in the distribution of Paleocene and Eocene nannofossils. Nannofossils, which documented the significant differences in sediments preserved at the three locations, help interpret the geologic processes at work.  Our “passive continental margin” has been anything but passive.  Complex sedimentary, erosional, and tectonic forces were constantly operating to produce a complex mosaic of sediments in this region.
  • Several species in the calcareous nannofossil genera Tribrachiatus and Rhomboaster at different times have been seriously considered for use as the official marker for the Paleocene-Eocene boundary.  Based on detailed examination over 15 years, I was able to clarify the ranges for species within these genera, which averted the placement of the boundary at some completely inappropriate horizons.
  • In 1995, after several years of intensive study near the Paleocene-Eocene boundary in the Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plains, I documented for the first time the gradual evolution of some individual nannofossil species, as well as evolution from one species into another.  In addition, by combining my taxonomic abilities, the exceptional preservation of my specimens, and the availability of both an excellent SEM and an excellent light microscope, I presented an internationally respected clarification of Paleocene and Eocene nannofossil systematics. 
  • In 1995, because New Jersey at that time was the most continuous section described to date across the Paleocene-Eocene boundary, I precisely documented the nannofossil ranges across this interval for the first time. Nannofossils, because of their planktic nature, have first and last occurrences that are coeval around the world, and these New Jersey ranges have been used to date similarly aged deposits on a global scale.  The resulting USGS Professional Paper is a primary nannofossil reference for this part of the geologic column.  It has stirred the nannofossil community into beginning the process of making mutually acceptable decisions about where to place species' breaks within an evolutionary continuum.
  • Invited by the University of Nebraska to help evaluate the research efforts of Dr. David Watkins, who was being considered for promotion to Professor, 1996.
  • Paleocene-Eocene boundary sedimentation in the Potomac River Valley, Virginia and Maryland: International Geological Correlation Programme Project 308, Field Trip Co-Leader, 1991.

Mentorship/Outreach

  • Authored and designed “Trek through Time,” a permanent educational walk through geologic history along the USGS Reston paths.
  • Provide scientific advice about calcareous nannofossils for Jean Self-Trail, who took over my scientific research when I retired in 2008.
  • Continue to review manuscripts on calcareous nannofossils for colleagues in the USGS and those internationally located.
  • Have visited numerous schools over the years to present my “Fascinating Fossils” game where children of K-12 age learn how fossils are formed through the process of matching recent items to their fossil counterparts.
  • Several middle and high school students spent one to several days with me as part of their "career experience" requirement.
  • Invited participation in an AGI video designed to explain what it really is like working in the geoscience field.  The audience was college students who soon would be entering the work force.  Taped – 1998 and could be found on the Internet for years afterwards. A summary of the interview can still be found on the Career Cornerstone Corner website.
  • Helped organize and participated in community science fairs at "Southeastern Coastal Plain" project drill sites in South Carolina, 1998-1999.
  • Represented the USGS and Association for Women Geoscientists with "Fascinating Fossils" exhibit at Rockville Science Day - 1996, 1999.
  • Represented the USGS with "Fascinating Fossils" at Air & Space Museum's "Girl Scout Day," 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999.
  • Member of USGS Partnerships in Education Steering Committee - working with Dogwood Elementary and Langston Hughes Middle School in Reston, 1993-1998.
  • Represented the USGS at "Career Day" for several area schools: Langston Hughes Middle School, Nokesville Elementary, Sterling Middle School, 1992-present.
  • Committee member for Jean Self-Trail, a M.S. student at the University of Delaware, 1990-1993.
  • Presented “Fascinating Fossils” hands-on exhibit at USGS Reston Open Houses since 1989
  • Graduate thesis advisor for John DiMarzio, M.S. student at George Washington Univ. - "Paleogene calcareous nannofossils of the Atlantic Coastal Plain", 1982-1984.

Professional societies/affiliations/committees/editorial boards

  • Editor-in-Chief – Journal of Nannoplankton Research, 2019-present
  • Co-organizer of USGS led Brooke Sector Christmas Bird Count, 2017-present
  • International Nannoplankton Association Convention Abstract Editor, 2013-present
  • International Nannoplankton Association Organizing Committee, 2013
  • NAGT Evaluation Committee – most years since 2012
  • Scientist Emeritus Bradley Scholar Award selection committee, 2007-2013
  • Dallas Peck Award selection committee, 2006-present

Honors, awards, recognition, elected offices, etc.

  • Selected for USGS Leadership Development 101 course, 2001
  • USGS Star award, 1998, 2000, 2002
  • Elected Chair of USGS Women's Advisory Committee, 1995-1996.
  • Elected President of Potomac Chapter of Association for Women Geoscientists, 1995.

Abstracts, Scientific/Oral Presentations

Gibbs, S., Bralower, T.J., Bohaty, S., Zachos, J., Sluijs, A., Brinkhuis, H., Quattlebaum, T. and Bybell, L.M., 2004, Decoupled shelf-ocean phytoplankton productivity responses across the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, p.

 Shelton, J.A., Bybell, L.M., and Lockwood, Rowan, 2003, The effects of the Chesapeake Bay impact on calcareous nannofossil diversity: SE GSA, Abstracts with Programs,

King, Tom, Cox, B.F, Matti, J.C., Powell, C.L. II, Osterman, L.E., Bybell, L.M., 2002, Previously unreported outcrops of Neogene Imperial Formation in southern Santa Rosa Mountinas, California, and implications for tectonic uplift (abstract), Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, p.

 "Climate and biota of the early Paleogene" conference, July 2001, Wyoming [INVITED to this international meeting that is a continuation of the Goteborg meeting]

8th International Nannoplankton Association Conference, September 2000, Bremen, Germany [INVITED]

Von Salis, Katharina, Monechi, Simonetta, Bybell, L.M., Self-Trail, J.M., and Young, Jeremy, 1999, Rhomboaster/Tribrachiatus - calcareous nannofossil markers at the Paleocene/Eocene boundary (abstract): INTERNATIONAL SUBCOMMISSION ON PALEOGENE STRATIGRAPHY, Early Paleogene warm climates and biosphere dynamics, Goteborg, Sweden, June 1999, abstract volume. [INVITED, POSTER]

Gibson, T.G., Bybell, L.M., Thomas, Ellen, and Zachos, James, 1999, Kaolinite distribution in upper Paleocene and lower Eocene strata of the northeastern U.S. and Pakistan - climatic and stratigraphic implications (abstract): INTERNATIONAL SUBCOMMISSION ON PALEOGENE STRATIGRAPHY, Early Paleogene warm climates and biosphere dynamics, Goteborg, Sweden, June 1999, abstract volume. [INVITED, GIBSON PRESENTED)

Thomas, Ellen, Gibson, T.G., Bybell, L.M., and Zachos, J.C., 1997, The late Paleocene thermal maximum in New Jersey (USA) (abstract): EOS Transactions American Geophysical Union: v. 78, no. 46, p. F363. (ZACHOS PRESENTED)

Bybell, L.M., and Self-Trail, J.M., 1997, Discussion of the calcareous nannofossil Zone NP 9/NP 10 boundary: GSA PENROSE CONFERENCE on "Paleocene/Eocene Boundary Events in Time and Space," April 1997, Albuquerque, NM. [INVITED, PRESENTED]

Gibson, T.G., and Bybell, L.M., 1997, Latest Paleocene changes in the Atlantic Coastal Plain, U.S.A.: GSA PENROSE CONFERENCE on "Paleocene/Eocene Boundary Events in Time and Space," April 1997, Albuquerque, NM. [INVITED, GIBSON PRESENTED]

Bybell, L.M., 1997, The role of calcareous nannofossils in defining the Paleocene-Eocene boundary: Paleontological Society of Washington. [INVITED, PRESENTED]

Self-Trail, J.M., Bybell, L.M., and Gohn, G.S., 1997, biostratigraphic analysis of sediments from core C-15, Jasper County, South Carolina: Clemson Hydrogeology Symposium, April, 1997, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina. [INVITED, PRESENTED by Self-Trail]

Edwards, L.E., Frederiksen, N.O., Bybell, L.M., Gohn, G.S., Self-Trail, J.M., Gibson, T.G., Bukry, David, and Fleming, R.F., 1997, Mysteries solved in the stratigraphy of the updip coastal plain of Georgia. Clemson University Hydrogeology Symposium, unpaginated. [EDWARDS PRESENTED]

Bybell, L.M., and Self-Trail, J.M., 1996, New interpretations of early Eocene calcareous nannofossil evolution (abstract): 6th North American Paleontological Convention, Abstracts of Papers, p. 59. [POSTER]

SE GSA symposium on "Characteristics of Paleogene epoch boundaries in the eastern Gulf Coastal Plain: biotic and physical events. [INVITED]

Sixth International Nannoplankton Association Convention in Copenhagen, Denmark, September 1995. [INVITED, CO-CHAIRED a technical session and led a work group]

Wise, S.W., Jr., Tway, Linda, Milman, D.D., Payton, W.C., Pospichal, J.J., Muza, Jay, Maiorano, Patrizia, Concheyro, Andrea, Villa, Giuliana, Perch-Nielsen, Katharina, Bybell, L.M., Self-Trail, J.M., Murphy, W.L., Riedel, W.R., and Xu, Yan, 1995, An interactive digital image catalog of Cenozoic calcareous nannofossils (abstract): International Nannoplankton Association Conference, Copenhagen, p. 115. [INVITED, POSTER]

Geological Society of New Jersey symposium, field trip, and teacher workshop, Wayne, New Jersey, October, 1995. [INVITED, PRESENTED, CONTRIBUTED to twelfth symposium volume]

Gibson, T.G., Bybell, L.M., Owens, J.P., Mason, D.B., McCartan, Lucy, & Snow, J.N., 1994, Climatic and stratigraphic implications of clay mineral changes in Paleocene/Eocene boundary deposits of the eastern U.S. (abstract): Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 26, no. 4, p. 15.

Gibson, T.G., and Bybell, L.M., 1993, Paleocene/Eocene boundary strata and events in the U.S. Atlantic Coastal Plain (abstract): Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, v. 13, no. 3, p. 37A.

Self-Trail, J.M., and Bybell, L.M., 1993, Evolution of Paleocene and Eocene calcareous nannofossils - An example of gradualism (abstract): International Nannoplankton Association Newsletter, v. 15, no. 2, p. 92-93, 5th International Nannoplankton Association Conference, Salamanca, Spain, 1993. [INVITED, PRESENTED]

Bybell, L.M., and Self-Trail, J.M., 1993, Evolutionary trends in Paleocene and Eocene calcareous nannofossil species from the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Coastal Plains (abstract): AAPG/SEPM Annual Convention, April 1993, Abstract volume, p. 81-82. [INVITED, PRESENTED at "Nannofossil Biostratigraphy" poster session]

Falls, W.F., Prowell, D.C., Edwards, L.E., Frederiksen, N.O., Gibson, T.G., Bybell, L.M., Gohn, G.S., 1993, Preliminary correlation of geologic units in three coreholes along the Savannah River in Burke and Screven Counties, Georgia (abstract): Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 25, no. 4, p. 14.

Gibson, T.G., Bybell, L.M., and Owens, J.P., 1992, Large-scale erosion of Cenozoic depositional sequences along the U.S. central Atlantic Coastal Plain (abstract): Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, v. 24, no. 2, p. 16.

Gibson, T.G., and Bybell, L.M., 1991, Sedimentary patterns across the Paleocene-Eocene boundary in the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains of the United States (abstract): IGCP PROJECT 308 CONFERENCE, Brussels, Belgium, December 1-7, 1991, p. 10. [INVITED, GIBSON PRESENTED]

Gibson, T.G., Bybell, L.M., and Owens, J.P., 1991, Paleocene-Eocene boundary in southwestern New Jersey:  a rare continuous section (abstract): Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, v. 23, no. 1, p. 35.

Ross, R.M., Cronin, T.M., Gibson, T.G., Bybell, L.M., and Poore, R.Z., 1990, The Pliocene sea-level record from Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands (abstract):  Transactions, American Geophysical Union, v. 71, no. 17, p. 539.

Coates, A.G., Jackson, J.B.C., Collins, L.C., Cronin, T.M., Dowsett, H.J., Bybell, L.M., and Obando, J.A., 1990, Closure of the Isthmus of Panama: the nearshore marine record in Costa Rica and Panama (abstract): Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, v. 22, no. 7, p. A365.

Miller, K.G., Kent, D.V., Brower, A.N., Bybell, L.M., Feigenson, M.D., Olsson, R.K., and Poore, R.Z., 1989, Eocene-Oligocene sea level changes on the New Jersey coastal plain linked to the deep-sea record (abstract):  Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs.

Gibson, T.G., and Bybell, L.M., 1989, Paleocene-Eocene depositional sequences-Central Atlantic Coastal Plain (abstract):  Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, v. 21, no. 2, p. 18.

McCartan, Lucy, Bybell, L.M., Wilson, J.M., Gibson, T.G., and Owens, J.P., 1989, Stratigraphic evidence of Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic tectonism in southern Maryland, U.S.A. (abstract):  International Geological Congress Abstracts.

Bybell, L.M., 1988, Paleocene and Eocene sediments in New Jersey: USGS Atlantic Coastal Plain Workshop, Sept. 1988. [INVITED, PRESENTED]

McCartan, Lucy, Wilson, J.M., Bybell, L.M., Andrews, G.W., and Brenner, G.J., 1988, Time stratigraphic sequences (Cretaceous to Miocene) in a core from Waldorf, Maryland (abstract): Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, v. 20, no. 4, p. 279.

Symposium "Mesozoic-Cenozoic biogeography of the southeastern United States" for SE GSA, April 1988. [INVITED]

Miller, K.G., Kent, D.V., Brower, A.N., Bybell, L.M., Poore, R.Z., Feigenson, M.D., and Olsson, R.K., 1987, Integrated magnetostratigraphy, biostratigraphy, and stable isotope stratigraphy:  Tying the deep-sea and continental margins (abstract):  Gulf Coast Section, SEPM, Annual Research Conference, 8th, Houston, Texas, 1987, Proceedings, p. 115-116.

New Jersey COGEOMAP project semiannual meeting, 1987. [INVITED, PRESENTED talk on recent paleontological results of the project]

Bybell, L.M., and Poore, R.Z., 1986, Paleogene biostratigraphy of New Jersey Core, ACGS #4 (abstract):  SEPM Annual Midyear Meeting Abstracts, v. 3, p. 17.

Gibson, T.G., and Bybell, L.M., 1986, Ages and characteristics of Paleogene depositional cycles in the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains (abstract):  SEPM Annual Midyear Meeting Abstracts, v. 3, p. 43. [INVITED, PRESENTED at symposium entitled "A micropaleontologist's view of the evolution of the Atlantic and Gulf continental margins - are the geophysicists always right"]

Gibson, T.G., Bybell, L.M., Edwards, L.E., 1986, Biostratigraphic and lithologic changes across the Paleocene-Eocene boundary in Eastern North America (abstract):  SEPM Annual Midyear Meeting Abstracts, v. 3, p. 43.

Bybell, L.M., and Poore, R.Z., 1986, Eocene and Oligocene calcareous nannofossils from a New Jersey corehole (abstract):  Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 18, p. 7.

Gibson, T.G., and Bybell, L.M., 1984, Multiple depositional cycles in Bashi and Hatchetigbee Formations (lower Eocene), Alabama (abstract):  American Association of Petroleum Geologists.  Bulletin, vol. 68, no. 4, p. 480.

Bybell, L.M., and Poore, R.Z., 1983, Reworked Hantkenina specimens at Little Stave Creek, Alabama (abstract):  American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 7, no. 9, p. 1462.

Bybell, L.M., and Gibson, T.G., 1983, Biostratigraphy of the Tallahatta Formation (Eocene) in the eastern Gulf Coastal Plain and a revised age for the Claiborne Stage (abstract):  Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Transactions, v. 33, p. 251.

Bybell, L.M., and Gibson, T.G., 1983, Calcareous nannofossil and foraminiferal biostratigraphy of the Tallahatta Formation (Eocene) in the eastern Gulf Coastal Plain (abstract):  Geological Society of America, SE Sect., Abstracts with Programs, v. 15, no. 2, p. 59. [INVITED, PRESENTED at symposium on "Microfossils of Gulf, Caribbean and Eastern Coastal Plain"]

GSA NE-SE convention, 1982. [INVITED, CHAIRED a session]

Gibson, T.G., Mancini, E.A., and Bybell, L.M., 1982, Lower Paleogene stratigraphy of Alabama (abstract):  American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 66, no. 9, p. 1430.

Gibson, T.G., and Bybell, L.M., 1982, Stratigraphy of Paleocene and Eocene units of the eastern United States and its relationship to global sea-level curves (abstract):  Geological Society of America, NE-SE Section, Abstracts with Programs, v. 14, nos. 1-2, p. 20.

Frederiksen, N.O., Gibson, T.G., and Bybell, L.M., 1982, Paleocene-Eocene boundary in the eastern Gulf Coast (abstract):  American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 66, no. 9, p. 1429-1430.

Bybell, L.M., 1982, Late Eocene to early Oligocene calcareous nannofossils in Alabama and Mississippi (abstract):  American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 66, no. 9, p. 1426.

Gibson, T.G., and Bybell, L.M., 1981, Facies changes in the Hatchetigbee Formation in Alabama-Georgia and the Wilcox-Claiborne Group unconformity (abstract):  American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 65, no. 9, p. 1685.

Frederiksen, N.O., Bybell. L.M., Christopher, R.A., Crone, A.S., Edwards, L.E., Gibson, T.G., Hazel, J.E., Repetski, J.E., Russ, D.P., Smith, C.C., and Ward, L.W., 1981, Biostratigraphy and paleoecology of lower Paleozoic, Upper Cretaceous, and lower Tertiary rocks in U.S. Geological Survey New Madrid test holes 1 and 1-X, southeastern Missouri (abstract):  Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies supplement to v. 31, p. 444.

Bybell, L.M., and Poore, R.Z., 1981, Calcareous nannofossil and planktic foraminiferal biostratigraphy of Pliocene and Pleistocene Atlantic Coastal Plain deposits (abstract):  Geological Society of America, SE Section, Abstracts with Programs, v. 13, no. 1, p. 3.

Bybell, L.M., 1980, Paleogene calcareous nannofossils of Alabama and Georgia (abstract):  Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, v. 12, no. 7, p. 397.

Gohn, G.S., Bybell, L.M., Christopher, R.A., Owens, J.P., and Smith, C.C., 1979, Cretaceous and Paleogene stratigraphic framework of the South Carolina and Georgia coastal margins (abstract):  Symposium on the Geology of the Southeastern Coastal Plain, 2d, Americus, Ga., 1979, Program and Abstracts, p. 11-12.

Higgins, B.B., Gohn, G.S., and Bybell, L.M., 1978, Subsurface geologic evidence for normal faults in the South Carolina Coastal Plain near Charleston (abstract):  Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 10, no. 4, p. 171.

Bybell, L.M., and Govoni, D.L., 1977, Preliminary calcareous nannofossil zonation of Brightseat and Aquia Formations (Paleocene) of Maryland and Virginia (abstract):  American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 61, no. 5, p. 773-774; also in American Association of Petroleum Geologists/Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists Annual Convention, Washington, D.C., 1977, Program and Abstracts, p. 67.

Andrews, G.W., Bybell, L.M., Christopher, R.A., Frederiksen, N.O., Gibson, T.G., and Hazel, J.E., 1977, Mesozoic and Cenozoic biostratigraphy of Oak Grove core, northeastern Virginia (abstract):  American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 61, no. 5, p. 761; also in American Association of Petroleum Geologists/Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists Annual Convention, Washington, D.C., 1977, Program and Abstracts, p. 32.

Hazel, J.E., Bybell, L.M., Christopher, R.A., Frederiksen, N.O., May, F.E., McLean, D.W., Poore, R.Z., Smith, C.C., Sohl, N.F., and Valentine P.C., 1976, Biostratigraphy and paleoenvironmental analysis of a 2500-foot core in Dorchester County, South Carolina (abstract):  Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 8, no. 2, p. 193-194.

Bybell, L.M., and Gartner, Stefan, Jr., 1971, Provincialism among mid-Eocene calcareous nannofossils (abstract):  Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Transactions, v. 21, p. 450.