Photo of Plotnick, Roy E.

Roy E. Plotnick, PhD

Professor Emeritus

Invertebrate Paleobiology and Paleontology, Ecology

Pronouns: He/Him/His


Building & Room:

2454 SES


845 West Taylor St.

Office Phone:

(312) 996-2111

Related Sites:


Multi-faceted scientist with interests in Invertebrate paleobiology, mathematical methods and models, Anthropocene ecological change, and science education and outreach. I use a wide range of analytical and experimental methods.

Research Areas:
Invertebrate paleontology, Paleobiomechanics, Taphonomy, Trace fossils, Landscape ecology, Macroevolutionary patterns, Earth science education

Selected Grants

National Science Foundation, Geopaths-Impacts: Establishing Partnerships to Recruit Geoscience Undergraduates from Urban Chicago, Co-Principal Investigator

Selected Publications

Plotnick, R. E. 2016. Lattice models in ecology, paleontology, and geology. IN: Autogenic Dynamics and Self-Organization in Sedimentary Systems. SEPM Special Publication 106.: 83-94.

Plotnick, R. E., F. A. Smith, and S. K. Lyons. 2016. Fossil record of the Sixth Extinction. Ecology Letters. 19(5): 546-553.

Stigall, A. L., R. E. Plotnick, and L. E. P. Boush. 2017. The first Cenozoic spinicaudatans from North America. Journal of Paleontology 91(3):467-476.

Plotnick, R. E. 2017. Recurrent hierarchical patterns and the fractal distribution of fossil localities. Geology 45(4):295-298.

Boblitt, C. M., R. E. Plotnick, F. Kenig, and D. Meyer-Dombard. 2018. Determining taphonomic controls and rates of decay in cave environments using microcosms. PALAIOS 33(4):141-153.

Wagner, P., R. E. Plotnick, and S. K. Lyons. 2018. Evidence for trait-based dominance in occupancy among fossil taxa and the decoupling of macroecological and macroevolutionary success. The American Naturalist 192(3): E120-E138. .

Hsieh, S., Schassburger, A., and Plotnick, R. E. 2019. The modern and fossil record of farming behavior. Paleobiology. 45(3):395-404.

Plotnick, R. E., and P. Wagner. 2018. The greatest hits of all time: the histories of dominant genera in the fossil record. Paleobiology:

Plotnick, R. E., and K. A. Koy. 2020. The Anthropocene fossil record of terrestrial mammals. Anthropocene 29:100233.

Pasterski, M. J., A. Bellagamba, S. Chancellor, A. Cunje, E. Dodd , K. Gefeke, S. Hsieh, A. Schassburger, A. Smith, W. Tucker, and R. E. Plotnick. 2020. Aquatic landscape change, extirpations, and introductions in the Chicago Region. Urban Ecosystems.

Professional Leadership

Co-chair, Development Committee, Paleontological Society

Notable Honors

2005-2008, Distinguished Lecturer, Paleontological Society

2012, Fellow, Paleontological Society

2013, Fellow, Geological Society of America

2017, Edward P Bass Distinguished Environmental Visiting Scholar, Yale Department of Geology and Geophysics


AB, 1976, Columbia University

MS, 1978, University of Rochester

PhD., 1983, University of Chicago