Masters Candidate, Museum & Field Studies

Photo of Melissa Barton

My primary interests are in museum collections management and informatics, particularly innovative new media outreach to diverse museum audiences. Following graduation, I will be seeking a job in nonprofit web management or museum collections management.

During my time at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History I designed more than 10 websites, including

I worked with fellow MFS student Jeff McClenahan to collect additional oral history and video (not yet online) for the Gordon Alexander Grasshopper Project history. I also have skills and experience in new media, writing, editing, image editing, and photography.

My thesis work focuses on late Eocene to late Oligocene fossil plants from localities in the Northern Rocky Mountains. The Eocene-Oligocene climate transition was a time of great ecological change as global climate cooled. Altered temperatures and weather patterns strongly affected both plant and animal communities. I hope to learn more about the local timing and terrestrial effects of the Eocene-Oligocene cooling in the Rocky Mountain region.

I completed an internship in paleoecology and evolution at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, where I participated in fieldwork in the Bridger and Wind River Basins, Wyoming, and worked with high school students in the field and at the museum to catalog new specimens. Prior to entering the MFS program, I worked at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. I currently volunteer for the Friends of the Florissant Fossil Beds, a nonprofit supporting the park, and the Association for Women Geoscientists Laramide Chapter.

Melissa's CV

Research Photos

Photo of Triceratops statue in front of Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

Photo of outside of Peabody Museum
Photos of the outside of Yale University's Peabody Museum of Natural History, from my research trip to their collections in 2008.

Field Photos

Photo of Antero Formation fieldworkDr. Herb Meyer and Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument summer interns Kathy Salas and Eva Lyon helping me with Antero Formation (Eocene) fieldwork in 2007.

Photo of Cockerell Site 14Historical paleontological site "Cockerell 14" at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Many of the specimens for my thesis work were collected here in 1906-1908 by one of the founders of the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, T.D.A. Cockerell.

Photo of Wind River Formation, WyomingThe Eocene Wind River Formation in Wyoming, where I did part of my summer internship with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, is an exceptionally rich fossil mammal site. DMNS scientists are now starting to describe the fossil flora.

Photo of rattlesnakeMy first rattlesnake sighting! Also in Wind River (where I saw my second, and third...).

Photo of fossil lizard jawOne of my favorite finds of the summer, a fossil lizard jaw from the Eocene Bridger Formation, Wyoming.

Photo of field methods class at Niwot RidgeMuseum Field Methods class at Niwot Ridge. Left to right: (back) John Hankla, Adam, Christy McCain, Billy Goldrick, Blake Stepan, Cat, Heather Hamilton, (front) Melissa Barton, Chrissy Spence.

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