Peter Roopnarine

  • Curator & Department Chairman
  • Invertebrate Zoology and Geology
  • PhD
  • My research is focused on the following areas:
  •      Theory of extinction, mass extinctions, and community evolution
  •      Mathematical modelling of paleocommunity perturbative dynamics
  •      Morphometric analysis of morphological integration
  •      Venerid and corbulid bivalve evolution and systematics
  •      Evolutionary ecology of Neogene tropical American marine molluscs
  • Curator, California Academy of Sciences,  2008-present
  • Other current appointments:
  •       - Research Professor, Department of Geosciences, San  Francisco State University
  •       - Adjunct Professor, Department of Biology, San Francisco State University
  •       - Research Associate, University of California Museum of Paleontology,  Berkeley
  • Associate Curator, California Academy of Sciences,  2005-2008
  • Department Chair, California Academy of Sciences,2001-2004
  • Assistant Curator, California Academy of Sciences, 1999-2004
  • Research Associate, University of Arizona, 1997-1999
  • Assistant Professor, Southeast Missouri State University,  1994-1998
  • Lecturer, University of California Davis, 1994


Roopnarine, P. D. 2012. Tipping the Biosphere. Karakter Press, Amsterdam. (accepted)


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


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.


Goodwin, D. H., D. Gillkin and P. Roopnarine. 2012. Preliminary evaluation of potential stable isotope and trace element productivity proxies in the oyster Crassostrea gigas. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (in press).


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 (in press).


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. N. 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: ?-?? (accepted)


Bennington, J. B., W. A. DiMichele, C. Badgley, R. K. Bambach, P. M. Barrett, A. K. Behrensmeyer, R. Bobe, R. J. Burnham, E. B. Daeschler, J. van Dam, J. T. Eronen, D. H. Erwin, S. Finnegan, S. M. Holland, G. Hunt, D. Jablonski, S. T. Jackson, B. F. Jacobs, S. M. Kidwell, P. L. Koch, M. J. Kowalewski, C. C. Labandeira, C. V. Looy, S. K. Lyons, P. M. Novack-Gottshall, R. Potts, P. D. Roopnarine, C. A. E. Strömberg, H. Sues, P. J. Wagner, P. Wilf, and S. L. Wing. 2009. Critical Issues of Scale in Paleoecology. Palaios, 24: 1-4.


Roopnarine, P. and R. Roopnarine. 2008. (Book Review) Ivy + Bean Break the Fossil Record - book by Annie Barrows (illustrated by Sophie Blackall). Chronicle Books, 2007. (124 pages) ISBN-13 978 0811862509. Palaeontologia Electronica, 11(3).


Roopnarine, P. D. 2008. Ecological Informatics: Catastrophe Theory. Encyclopedia of Ecology, Elsevier Press. p. 531-536.


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


Goodwin, D. H., L. C. Anderson, 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 P. D. Roopnarine. 2008. The Coming Arctic Invasion. Science, 321: 780-781.


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


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


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


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


Roopnarine, P. D. 2005. The likelihood of stratophenetic-based hypotheses of genealogical succession. Special Papers in Paleontology, 73: 1-15.


Angeilczyk, K. D., P. D. Roopnarine, and S. C. Wang. 2005. Modeling the role of primary productivity disruption in end-Permian extinctions, Karoo Basin, South Africa. The Nonmarine Permian, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin, 30: 16-23.


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


Dettman, D. L., K. W. Flessa, P. D. Roopnarine, B. R. Schöne, and D. H. Goodwin. 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(6): 1253-1263.


Tang, C. M. and P. D. Roopnarine. 2003. Evaporites, Water, and Life, Part I - Complex Morphological Variability in Complex Evaporitic Systems: Thermal Spring Snails from the Chihuahuan Desert, Mexico. Astrobiology, 3(3): 597-607.


Roopnarine, P. D. 2003. Analysis of Rates of Morphologic Evolution. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 34: 605-632.

Anderson, L. C. and P. D. Roopnarine. 2003. Evolution and Phylogenetic Relationships of Neogene Corbulidae (Bivalvia; Myoidea) of Tropical America. Journal of Paleontology, 77(6): 1086-1102.


Roopnarine, P. D. 2002. (Book Review) Empiricism at all levels - Evolutionary Patterns. Growth, Form, and Tempo in the Fossil Record. edited by Jeremy B.C. Jackson, Scott Lidgard and Frank K. McKinney. The University of Chicago Press, 2001. (xvi + 399 pages) ISBN 0 226 38931 6. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 17(9): 441-442.


Roopnarine, P. D. 2001. The description and classification of evolutionary mode: a computational approach. Paleobiology, 27(3): 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(3): 644-657


Roopnarine, P. D. and G. J. Vermeij. 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.


Roopnarine, P. D. and A. Beussink. 1999. Extinction and Naticid Predation of the Bivalve Chione Von Mühlfeld in the Late Neogene of Florida. Paleontologia Electronica, 2.


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


Roopnarine, P. D., P. Fitzgerald, G. Byars, and K. Kilb. 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 (Veneridae: Chioninae) Bivalve from the Late Neogene of Venezuela. Journal of Paleontology, 71(6): 1039-1046.


Roopnarine, P. D. 1995. A Re-Evaluation of Evolutionary Stasis between the Bivalve Species Chione erosa and Chione cancellata (Bivalvia: Veneridae). Journal of Paleontology, 69(2): 280-287.



  • Peter Roopnarine
  • Curator & Department Chairman
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • 55 Music Concourse Drive
  • San Francisco, CA 94118
  • 415-379-5271 (direct)

Climate Change

Today the UN and other organizations recognize the critical importance and threats to biodiversity around the world. The Species Alliance is recognizing the day by airing its documentary, Call of Life, on Free Speech TV (also streamed online). The documentary is followed by short interviews of myself (Peter Roopnarine), and Stuart Pimm. Please join if […]
I don’t want to be too cynical about the outcome, but… Image credit
This is the fifth and final installment of my essay, Tipping the Biosphere. Part II. Part III. Part IV. A great deal of attention is paid to the proximal causes of biosphere degradation, such as climate change, yet mitigating efforts remain largely ineffective. Unfortunately, the proximal causes are not, as argued earlier, the ultimate basis […]
This is the fourth installment of my essay, Tipping the Biosphere. Part II. Part III. Much of our understanding of tipping points is captured by Catastrophe Theory, a deep and ominously named mathematical theory. Though complicated, the theory provides us with a useful heuristic device, the catastrophe manifold, for visualizing the manner in which a […]
The IPCC’s new summary report has been released: “Climate Change 2013. The physical science basis“. The publication is available for free downloading or online reading. Probably the most significant conclusion of the study is that scientists are 95% certain that human activity is responsible for the ongoing episode of recent global warming. The details of […]