Meet our Faculty: Karl Flessa

Karl Flessa stands at the Colorado River pulse flowI am interested in using fossils in conservation biology. My students, colleagues and I have documented environmental conditions, species populations, and species interactions in the Colorado River Delta before upstream dams and diversions. We work on very young, “predambrian” fossils. I am now working with partners in U.S. and Mexican conservation groups, agencies and universities to monitor restoration efforts in the delta’s riparian zone and estuary. We use ecological and paleoecological techniques, including stable isotope analyses of carbonates and water, to “put the dead to work” in assessing environmental impact and guiding restoration.

More photos


   I enjoy standing in the middle of the Colorado River.
   (photo credit: Pete McBride)

I also enjoy

Karl Flessa in the Canadian Rockies







looking at fossils in the 505 million year-old
Burgess Shale in the Canadian Rockies
(photo credit: Mari Jensen),



Karl Flessa in a white helmet driving a blue race car

having fun with a dinosaur in Ithaca, NY
(photo credit: Mari Jensen),



and racing my car with the Sports Car Club of America (photo credit: SCCA).