Mikayla Walker, “Flora and Fauna of the Pleistocene Oak Creek Formation Peat Deposits”
Mentor: Scott Schaefer, Geosciences
Pleistocene Oak Creek Formation deposits dated to 45,000 to 35,000 years old are exposed at Sheridan Park in Cudahy, Wisconsin. Sediments from this formation include strata of ancient bog material known as peat which contains potentially identifiable flora and fauna that predate the last glacial advance. Leaves, twigs, seeds, and insect fragments recovered from the peat will help characterize the lesser-known paleoecology of this ecosystem essential to Wisconsin’s geological history. Samples of peat were processed by disaggregation to recover previously unaccounted for flora and fauna. Because this bog represents one of the earliest phases of the Oak Creek Formation, understanding its biota enhances the narrative and continuity of this fossil deposit for geoscience students. This field locality is frequented by regional underrepresented minority students; therefore, this research will provide a more complete and captivating narrative to further inspire future generations of scientists.