Earth and Ocean Sciences

Dr. Patricia Kelley

Professor Emerita of Geology

Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences
University of North Carolina Wilmington
601 South College Road
Wilmington, NC 28403-5944
email:,Personal Webpage


Invertebrate Paleontology


A.M. Harvard University,1977
Ph.D. Harvard University, 1979

Teaching History:

GLY 132 The Earth Through Time, GLY 135 Prehistoric Life, GLY 337 Invertebrate Paleontology, GLY 502 Technical Communication in Geology, GLY 533 Paleoecology, GLY 535 Stratigraphic Paleontology, and various DIS/special topics courses including GLY 592 Special Topics: Evolution and Creationism

Research Interests:

Evolution and paleoecology of Coastal Plain molluscs are the focus of Patricia Kelley's research. Ongoing studies include conservation paleobiology; tempo and mode of evolution; role of biological factors such as predation in evolution; predator-prey coevolution and escalation; mass extinction and recovery of mollusc faunas.

Professional recognition:

  • Daniel W. Martin Science as Christian Vocation Award from the Presbyterian Association for Science, Technology, and the Christian Faith (2021)
  • Paleontological Society Pojeta Award (2020)
  • Association for Women Geoscientists Encourage Award (2018)
  • CASE/Carnegie United States Outstanding Master's Universities and Colleges Professor of the Year, 2014
  • Association for Women Geoscientists Professional Excellence Award (inaugural award, 2011)
  • Association for Women Geoscientists Outstanding Educator Award (2003)
  • UNCW awards include: Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award, 2005; Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award, 2012; Discere Aude Award, 2008, 2013; Distinguished Teaching Professorship Award, 2013; Board of Trustees Teaching Excellence Award, 2013; UNC Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence, 2014; J. Marshall Crews Distinguished Faculty Award, 2014

Professional leadership:

  • President, Paleontological Society, 2000-2002
  • President, Board of Trustees, Paleontological Research Institution, 2004-2006
  • Advisory Board, National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, 2012-2015
  • Board of Directors, Association for Women Geoscientists, 2017-
  • Distinguished Lecturer for NAGT 2006-2009, Paleontological Society 1994-1996, 2006-
  • Paleontological Society Council, 1984‑1985, 1995-1996, 1998-2004, 2020-2023

Recent publications:

Ottens, K.J., G.P. Dietl*, P.H. Kelley*, and S.D. Stanford. 2012. A comparison of analyses of drilling predation on fossil bivalves: bulk- vs. taxon-specific sampling and the role of collector experience.  Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 319-320:84-92. * contributed equally.

Harper, E.M., and P.H. Kelley.  2012.  Predation of bivalves.  Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology. Part N, Revised, Bivalvia, Volume 1, Chapter 22, p. 1-21. Treatise Online 44:1-21. 

Carter, J.G., P.J. Harries, N. Malchus, A.F. Sartori, L.C. Anderson, R. Bieler, A.E. Bogan, E.V. Coan, J.C.W. Cope, S. Cragg, J.R. García-March, J. Hylleberg, P. Kelley, K. Kleemann, J. Kříž, C. McRoberts, P.M. Mikkelsen, J. Pojeta, Jr., I. Tëmkin, T. Yancey, and A. Zieritz. 2012. Illustrated Glossary of the Bivalvia. Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology.  Part N, Revised, Bivalvia, Volume 1, Chapter 31. Treatise Online 48:1–209. 

Kelley, P.H. 2012. Strategies for teaching evolution in a high-enrollment introductory paleontology course for non-science majors, p. 77-92. In Yacobucci, M.M., and R. Lockwood, Teaching Paleontology in the 21st Century. Paleontological Society.

Kelley, P.H., and C.C. Visaggi. 2012. Learning paleontology through doing: Integrating an authentic research project into an invertebrate paleontology course, p. 181-197. In Yacobucci, M.M., and R. Lockwood, Teaching Paleontology in the 21st Century. Paleontological Society.

Visaggi, C.V., G.P. Dietl, and P.H. Kelley. 2013. Influence of sediment depth and prey health on drilling behaviour of Neverita duplicata (Gastropoda: Naticidae) with a review of alternative modes of predation. Journal of Molluscan Studies 79:310-322.

Surge, D., Ting Wang, I. Gutiérrez-Zugasti, and P.H. Kelley. 2013. Isotope sclerochronology and season of annual growth line formation in limpet shells (Patella vulgata) from warm- and cold-temperate zones in the eastern north Atlantic. Palaios 28:386-393.

Kelley, P.H., D.E. Fastovsky, M.A. Wilson, R.A. Laws, and A. Raymond. 2013. From paleontology to paleobiology: A half-century of progress in understanding life history, p. 191-232. In Bickford, M.E., ed., The Web of Geological Sciences: Advances, Impacts, and Interactions: Geological Society of America Special Paper 500.

Korpanty, C.A., and P.H. Kelley. 2014. Live-Dead Molluscan Fidelity in Anthropogenically Impacted Seagrass Habitats: Siliciclastic versus Carbonate Environments. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 410:113-125.

Kelley, P.H. 2014. Controversial topics in the classroom: (how) do we dare discuss them?, p. 133-143. In Ashe, D., and C. Clements, Best Practices in University Teaching (2d ed). University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Hattori, K.E., P.H. Kelley, G.P. Dietl, N.O. Moore, S.L. Simpson, A.M. Zappulla, K.J. Ottens, C.C. Visaggi. 2014. Validation of taxon-specific sampling by novice collectors for studying drilling predation in fossil bivalves. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 412:199-207.

Klompmaker, A., and P.H. Kelley. 2015.  Shell ornamentation as an exaptation: evidence from predatory drilling on Cenozoic bivalves. Paleobiology 41(1):187-201.

Visaggi, C.C., and P.H. Kelley. 2015. Equatorward increase in naticid gastropod drilling predation on infaunal bivalves from Brazil with paleontological implications. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 438:285-299.

Kerr, J.P., and P.H. Kelley. 2015. Assessing the influence of escalation during the Mesozoic Marine Revolution: shell breakage and adaptation against enemies in Mesozoic ammonites. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 440:632-646.

Sime, J.A., and P.H. Kelley. 2016. Common mollusk genera indicate interactions with their predators were ecologically stable across the Plio-Pleistocene extinction. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 463:216-229.

Kelley, P.H., G.P. Dietl, and C.C. Visaggi. 2018. Training tomorrow’s conservation paleobiologists, p. 209-225. In C.L. Tyler and C.L. Schneider, eds., Marine Conservation Paleobiology. Topics in Geobiology 47. Springer International Publishing.

Cronin, K.E., G.P. Dietl, P.H. Kelley, and S.M. Edie. 2018. Lifespan bias explains live-dead discordance in abundance of two common bivalves. Paleobiology 44:783-797.

Kelley, P.H. 2018. Incorporating Research into Undergraduate Paleontology Courses: Or a Tale of 23,276 Mulinia. Cambridge University Press Elements of Paleontology. doi:10.1017/9781108681643

Kelley, P.H., G.P. Dietl, and C.C. Visaggi. 2019. Model for Improved Undergraduate Training in Translational Conservation Science. Conservation Science and Practice 2019;e5.

Klompmaker, A., P.H. Kelley, D. Chattopadhyay, J. Clements, J. Huntley, and M. Kowalewski. 2019. Predation in the marine fossil record: studies, data, recognition, environmental factors, and behavior. Earth Science Reviews, 48 p. .

Martin, A.J., and Kelley, P.H. 2019. Neoichnology of Edisto Island, South Carolina: Eat, prey, love, burrow, in Chadwick, J., and Jaume’, S., eds., Field Excursions in the Carolinas: Guides to the 2019 GSA Southeastern Section Meeting: Geological Society of America Field Guide 53, p. 19-32.

Kelley, P.H. 2020. The Balancing Act, p. 101-104. In L. J. Marsh and E. Currano. The Bearded Lady Project: Challenging the Face of Science. Columbia University Press.

Neely, S.H., P.H. Kelley, and M.M. Friedman. 2021. Predator-prey interactions among Pliocene molluscs from the Tjörnes Peninsula, Iceland, across the trans-Arctic invasion. Lethaia,

Kelley, P.H. 2021. Response by Patricia H. Kelley for the presentation of the 2020 Paleontological Society Pojeta Award. Journal of Paleontology 95(5):1103 – 1104,

Kelley, P.H., and G.P. Dietl. 2022. Core Competencies for Training Conservation Paleobiology Students in a Wicked World. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, Paleoecology section, v. 10, Article 851014,