R. Mark Leckie, mleckie@geo.umass.edu
B.S., Northern Illinois, 1978; M.S., 1980; Ph.D., Colorado, 1984.


Micropaleontology, Biostratigraphy, Paleoceanography


Mark Leckie's research centers on questions of Earth system history and paleoceanography, with a particular emphasis on biosphere response to changes in the ocean-climate system through time. He studies planktic and benthic foraminifera of Cretaceous and Cenozoic age. His research has included modern and ancient marginal marine depositional environments, late Paleogene-early Neogene neritic glacial marine deposits of the Ross Sea region of Antarctica, Late Cretaceous epicontinental sea depositional systems of the U.S. Western Interior Sea, and a variety of low latitude deep sea settings of Jurassic, Cretaceous and Cenozoic age. Professor Leckie has sailed with 6 legs of scientific ocean drilling (Deep Sea Drilling Project Leg 79, and Ocean Drilling Program Legs 101, 130, 165, 198, 210), as well as 2 Integrated Ocean Drilling Program expeditions associated with the ‘School of Rock’ education and outreach (IODP 312T) and the readiness assessment cruise of the rebuilt and refurbished JOIDES Resolution drill ship (IODP 320T). He has also spent numerous summers conducting fieldwork in the western United States with students and colleagues. Micropaleontological studies by his students include taxonomy, biostratigraphy, lithostratigraphy, and population analyses. In addition, isotope paleoecology of ancient planktic foraminifera and time-series isotopic analyses of multi-species planktic and benthic foraminifera are important components of their deep-sea research as independent and complementary proxies of upper water column hydrography and productivity.

Current research projects focus on the following: 1) mid-Cretaceous Oceanic Anoxic Events and plankton community evolution, 2) Late Cretaceous paleoceanography and sequence stratigraphy of the Western Interior Sea, 3) Campanian-Maastrichtian paleoceanography of the tropical Pacific, and 4) Miocene sea level, constriction of the Indonesian Seaway, and paleoceanography of the western tropical Pacific. 

Professor Leckie and his students have also been actively involved with projects to standardize planktic foram taxonomy and create online taxonomic atlases and databases as part of the Mesozoic Planktic Foram Working Group and the Oligocene Planktic Foram Working Group. These and other planktic foram atlases are hosted on the CHRONOS website.   Utility of Foraminifera in Paleoenvironmental and Paleoceanographic Research

Educational Research and Pedagogy

Professor Leckie is very active in projects related to educational research and pedagogy, including efforts to bring innovative student-active learning techniques into large enrollment introductory science courses at UMass with colleague Richard Yuretich. They wrote a book for the UMass Geo 103-Introductory Oceanography course: Investigating the Ocean, an Interactive Guide to the Science of Oceanography (Leckie and Yuretich, 2003; McGraw-Hill, 3rd edition).  He co-led the scientific instruction of the JOI/IODP (now Ocean Leadership) School of Rock expedition in 2005 aboard the JOIDES Resolution drill ship for Earth science teachers and informal educators. Since 2006, he has taught or co-taught numerous workshops about teaching with authentic scientific ocean drilling data for both educators and students, including shore-based School of Rock programs and graduate teaching at the international Urbino (Italy) Summer School for Paleoclimatology.

More recently, Leckie has teamed up with Kristen St. John (James Madison University), Megan Jones (North Hennepin Community College), Kate Pound (St. Cloud State University), and Larry Krissek (Ohio State University) on an NSF Education (CCLI) grant to develop teaching materials focused on climate change and Earth history using ocean drilling data in introductory geoscience courses. These materials are for faculty teaching undergraduate introductory and upper division geoscience courses in climate change, oceanography, historical geology, or Earth science in which data and content on climate change, geologic time, age determination, and Earth history are important. Learning materials are anchored in fundamental practices and discoveries of scientific ocean drilling research programs (IODP, legacy DSDP and ODP, and ANDRILL), and infuse essential scientific observational, analytical, and synthesis skills, and critical thinking into inquiry-based classroom exercises for group work in both small and large classes. See the Table of Contents in this PDF.

Educational research publications include the following:

Building Core Knowledge teaching materials, including teacher guides, are available at the following site from James Madison University: http://csmres.jmu.edu/geollab/stjohn/buildingcoreknowledge/

School of Rock teaching materials are available at the following Ocean Leadership site: http://www.oceanleadership.org/education/deep-earth-academy/educators/classroom-activities/

St. John, Leckie, R.M., Slough, S., Peart, L., Niemitz, M., and Klaus, A., in press 2009. The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program “School of Rock” program: Lessons learned from an ocean-going research expedition for earth and ocean science educators. In, Whitmeyer, S., Mogk, D., and Pyle, E.J., editors, Field Geology Education: Historical Perspectives and Modern Approaches: Geological Society of America Special Paper 461:X-Y.

St. John, K., and Leckie, R.M., (2009), Making the Case for Tenure, On the Cutting Edge (Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty), Early Career Geoscience Faculty, http://serc.carleton.edu/dev/NAGTWorkshops/earlycareer/tenure/planning.html

Niemitz, M., Slough, S., Peart, L., Klaus, A., Leckie, R.M., St. John, K., (2008). Interactive Virtual Expeditions as a Learning Tool: The School of Rock Expedition Case Study, Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia 17(4), 561-580.

Leckie, R.M., (2008), Teaching Large Lectures, On the Cutting Edge/Starting Point (Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty), Pedagogy in Action (SERC portal for educators), http://serc.carleton.edu/dev/sp/library/largeclasses/index.html

Leckie, R.M., St. John, K., Peart, L., Klaus, A., Slough, S., and Niemitz, M., 2006. Education and science connect at sea. EOS, 87(24): 240-241.

Leckie, R.M., and Yuretich, R., 2003. Investigating the Ocean: An Interactive Guide to the Science of Oceanography, third edition. McGraw-Hill/Primis Custom Publishing, 200 pages (ISBN ).

Yuretich, R., Khan, S.A., Leckie, R.M., and Clement, J.J., 2001. Active-learning methods improve student performance and scientific interest in a large introductory oceanography course. Journal of Geoscience Education, 49: 111-119.

Courses Taught at UMass:

  • GEO 103: Introductory Oceanography
  • GEO 201: History of the Earth
  • GEO  231 - Introductory Field Methods
  • GEO 591P - Paleoceanography (with Rob DeConto)
  • Graduate courses in Micropaleontology
  • GEO xxx: Paleoceanography, Micropaleontology, and Paleoclimatology

Representative Research Publications:

John, C.M., Karner, G.D., Browning, E.*, Leckie, R.M., Mateo, Z., Carson, B.*, and Lowery, C.*, 2011. Timing and magnitude of Miocene eustasy derived from the mixed siliciclastic-carbonate stratigraphic record of the northeastern Australian margin. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 304: 455-467.

Huber, B.T., and Leckie, R.M., 2011. Planktic foraminiferal species turnover across deep-sea Aptian/Albian boundary sections. Journal of Foraminiferal Research, 41(1): 53-95.

Leckie, R.M.
, 2009. Seeking a better life in the plankton. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(34): 14183-14184.

Tibert, N.E., Colin, J.-P., and Leckie, R.M., 2009. Taxonomy, biostratigraphy and paleoecology of Cenomanian and Turonian ostracodes from the Western Interior Basin, southwest Utah, USA. Revue de Micropaléontologie, 52: 85-105.

Premoli Silva, I., Caron, M., Leckie, R.M., Petrizzo, M.R., Soldan, D., and Verga, D., 2009. Paraticinella n.gen. and taxonomic revision of Ticinella bejaouaensis Sigal, 1966. Journal of Foraminiferal Research, 39: 126-137.

Liu, Z., Pagani, M. Zinniker, D., DeConto, R., Huber, M., Brinkhuis, H., Shah, S.R., Leckie, R.M., and Pearson, A., 2009. Global cooling during the Eocene-Oligocene climate transition. Science, 323: 1187-1190.

Nathan, S.A., and Leckie, R.M., 2009. Early history of the Western Pacific Warm Pool during the middle to late Miocene (~13.2-5.8 Ma): Role of sea-level and implications for equatorial circulation. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 274: 140-159.

Carson, B.E., Francis, J.M., Leckie, R.M., Droxler, A.W., Dickens, G.R., Jorry, S.J., Bentley, S.J., Peterson, L.C., and Opdyke, B.N., 2008. Benthic foraminiferal response to sea level in the mixed siliciclastic-carbonate system of southern Ashmore Trough (Gulf of Papua). Journal of Geophysical Research, 113, F01S20, doi:10.1029/2006JF000629, 18 p.

Urquhart, E., Gardin, S., Leckie, R.M., Wood, A., Pross, J., Georgescu, M.D., Ladner, B., and Takata, H., 2007. A paleontological synthesis of ODP Leg 210, Newfoundland Basin. Scientific Results of the Ocean Drilling Program, Vol. 210., p. 1-53. Online: http://www-odp.tamu.edu/publications/210_SR/115/115.htm

Takashima, R., Nishi, H., Huber, B.T., and Leckie, R.M., 2006. Greenhouse world and the Mesozoic ocean. Oceanography, 19(4): 64-74.

Brown, E.H., Lapen, T.J., Leckie, R.M., Premoli Silva, I., Verga, D., and Singer, B.S., 2005. Revised ages of blueschist metamorphism and the youngest pre-thursting rocks in the San Juan Islands, WashingtonCanadian Journal of Earth Science, 42: 1389-1400.

Dutton, A., Lohmann, K.C., Leckie, R.M., 2005. Insights from the Paleogene tropical Pacific: Foraminiferal stable isotope and elemental results from Site 1209, Shatsky Rise. Paleoceanography, 20, PA3004, doi:1029/2004PA001098. 16 pages. Dutton et al PaleoO 2005.pdf

Frank, T.D., Thomas, D.J., Leckie, R.M., Arthur, M.A., Bown, P.R., Jones, K., Lees, J.A., 2005. The Maastrichtian record from Shatsky Rise (northwest Pacific): A tropical perspective on global ecological and oceanographic changesPaleoceanography, 20(1): 10.1029/2004PA001046, 14 pages.

Tibert, N.E., and Leckie, R.M., 2004. High-resolution estuarine sea level cycles from the Late Cretaceous: Amplitude constraints using agglutinated foraminifera. Journal of Foraminiferal Research, 34(2): 130-143.

Tibert, N.E., Colin, J.-P., Leckie, R.M., and Babinot, J.-F., 2003. Revision of the ostracode genus Fossocytheridea Swain and Brown 1964: Mesozoic ancestral root for the modern eurytopic Cyrideis Jones. Micropaleontology, 49(3): 205-230.

Nathan, S.A., and Leckie, R.M., 2003. Miocene planktonic foraminiferal biostratigraphy of Sites 1143 and 1146, ODP Leg 184, South China Sea. In Prell, W.L., Wang, P., Blum, P., Rea, D.K., and Clemens, S.C. (Eds.), Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, Volume 184: College Station, TX (Ocean Drilling Program), 1-43.  Online version: http://www-odp.tamu.edu/publications/184_SR/219/219.htm.

Leckie, R.M., and Olson, H., 2003. Foraminifera as proxies of sea-level change on siliciclastic margins. In, Olson, H.C., and Leckie, R.M., editors, Micropaleontologic Proxies of Sea-Level Change and Stratigraphic Discontinuities: Tulsa, SEPM (Society of Sedimentary Geology), Special Publication 75: 5-19.

Tibert, N.E., Leckie, R.M., Eaton, J.G., Kirkland, J.I., Colin, J.-P., Leithold, E.L., and McCormick, M., 2003. Recognition of relative sea-level change in Upper Cretaceous coal-bearing strata: a paleoecological approach using agglutinated foraminifera and ostracodes to detect key stratigraphic surfaces. In, Olson, H.C., and Leckie, R.M., editors, Micropaleontologic Proxies of Sea-Level Change and Stratigraphic Discontinuities: Tulsa, SEPM (Society of Sedimentary Geology), Special Publication 75: 263-299.

Leckie, R.M., Bralower, T., and Cashman, R., 2002. Oceanic Anoxic Events and plankton evolution: Biotic response to tectonic forcing during the mid-Cretaceous. Paleoceanography, 17(3): 10.1029/2001PA000623.

Sigurdsson, H., Kelley, S., Leckie, R.M., Carey, S., Bralower, T., and King, J., 2000. History of circum-Caribbean explosive volcanism: 40Ar/39Ar dating of ODP Leg 165 tephra layers. In, Leckie, R.M., Sigurdsson, H., Acton, G., and Draper, G., Editors, 2000. In Leckie, R.M, Sigurdsson, H., Acton, G., and Draper, G., eds., Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, Volume 165: College Station, TX (Ocean Drilling Program), p. 299-314. Online: http://www-odp.tamu.edu/publications/165_SR/chap_20/chap_20.htm

Huber, B.T., Leckie, R.M., Norris, R.D., Bralower, T.J., and CoBabe, E., 1999. Foraminiferal assemblage and stable isotopic change across the Cenomanian-Turonian boundary in the subtropical North Atlantic. Journal of Foraminiferal Research (special memorial issue in honor of William V. Sliter), 29(4): 392-417.

Leckie, R. M., Yuretich, R.F., West, O.L.O., Finkelstein, D., and Schmidt, M., 1998. Paleoceanography of the southwestern Greenhorn Sea during the time of the Cenomanian/Turonian boundary (Late Cretaceous). In, Dean, W., and Arthur, M.A. (eds.), Stratigraphy and Paleoenvironments of the Western Interior Seaway, USA, SEPM Concepts in Sedimentology and Paleontology No. 6:  Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM), Tulsa, OK, 101-126.

West, O.L.O., Leckie, R.M., and M. Schmidt, M, 1998. Foraminiferal paleoecology and paleoceanography of the Greenhorn Cycle along the southwestern margin of the U.S. Western Interior Seaway. In, Dean, W., and Arthur, M.A. (eds.), Stratigraphy and Paleoenvironments of the Western Interior Seaway, USA, SEPM Concepts in Sedimentology and Paleontology No. 6: Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM), Tulsa, OK, 79-99.

Bralower, T.J., Paull, C.K., and Leckie, R.M., 1998. The Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary cocktail: Chicxulub impact triggers margin collapse and extensive sediment gravity flows. Geology, 26: 331-334.

Leckie, R.M., Kirkland, J.I., and Elder, W.P., 1997. Stratigraphic framework and correlation of a Principal Reference Section of the Mancos Shale (Upper Cretaceous), Mesa Verde, Colorado. In, Anderson, O.J., Kues, B.S., and S.G. Lucas (eds.), Mesozoic Geology and Paleontology of the Four Corners Region, 48th annual field conference of the New Mexico Geological Society: Albuquerque, NM (NMGS), p. 163-216.

Bralower, T.J., Fullagar, P.D., Paull, C.K., Dwyer, G.S., and Leckie, R.M., 1997. Mid-Cretaceous strontium-isotope stratigraphy of deep-sea sections. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 109:1421-1442.

Bralower, T.J., Leckie, R.M., Sliter, W.V., and Thierstein, H.R., 1995. An integrated Cretaceous microfossil stratigraphyIn, Berggren, W.A., Kent, D.V., Aubry, M.-P., and Hardenbol, J., (Eds.), Geochronology, Time Scales, and Global Stratigraphic Correlation: SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Spec. Publ., 54:65-79.

Bralower, T., Arthur, M., Leckie, M., Sliter, W., Allard, D., and Schlanger, S., 1994. Timing and paleoceanography of oceanic dysoxia/anoxia in the late Barremian to early Aptian (Early Cretaceous). Palaios, 9: 335-369.

Leckie, M., Farnham, C., and Schmidt, M., 1993. Oligocene planktonic foraminiferal biostratigraphy of Hole 803D (Ontong Java Plateau) and Hole 628A (Little Bahama Bank), and comparison with the southern high latitudes. In Berger W., Kroenke, Mayer, L.A., et al., Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, Vol. 130: College Station, TX (Ocean Drilling Program), 113-136. Online: http://www-odp.tamu.edu/publications/130_SR/VOLUME/CHAPTERS/sr130_09.pdf

Chaisson, W., and Leckie, M., 1993. High-resolution Neogene planktonic foraminiferal biostratigraphy of Site 806, Ontong Java Plateau (western equatorial Pacific). In Berger, W., Kroenke, Mayer, L.A., et al., Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, Vol. 130: College Station, TX (Ocean Drilling Program), 137-178. Online: http://www-odp.tamu.edu/publications/130_SR/VOLUME/CHAPTERS/sr130_10.pdf

Berger, W., Leckie, M., Janecek, T., Stax, R., and Takayama, T., 1993. Neogene carbonate sedimentation on Ontong Java Plateau - highlights and open questions. In Berger, W., Kroenke, Mayer, L.A., et al., Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, Vol. 130: College Station, TX (Ocean Drilling Program), 711-744. Online: http://www-odp.tamu.edu/publications/130_SR/VOLUME/CHAPTERS/sr130_44.pdf

Bralower, T., Sliter, W., Arthur, M., Leckie, M., Allard, D., and Schlanger, S., 1993. Dysoxic/anoxic episodes in the Aptian-Albian (Early Cretaceous). In Pringle, M., Sager, W.W., Sliter, W., and Stein, S., eds., Mesozoic of the Pacific: American Geophysical Union, Geophysical Monograph 77, 5-37.

Sliter, W., and Leckie, M., 1993. Cretaceous planktonic foraminifers and depositional environments from the Ontong Java Plateau with emphasis on Sites 803 and 807. In Berger, W., Kroenke, Mayer, L.A., et al., Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, Vol. 130: College Station, TX (Ocean Drilling Program), 63-84. Online: http://www-odp.tamu.edu/publications/130_SR/VOLUME/CHAPTERS/sr130_05.pdf

Jansen, E., Mayer, L., Backman, J., Leckie, M., and Takayama, T., 1993. Evolution of Pliocene climate cyclicity at Site 806 (5-2 Ma) - oxygen isotope record. In Berger, W., Kroenke, Mayer, L.A., et al., Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, Vol. 130: College Station, TX (Ocean Drilling Program), 349-362. Online: http://www-odp.tamu.edu/publications/130_SR/VOLUME/CHAPTERS/sr130_20.pdf

Tarduno, J., Sliter, W., Kroenke, L., Leckie, M., Mayer, H., Mahoney, J., Musgrave, R., Storey, M., and Winterer, E., 1991. Rapid Formation of Ontong Java Plateau by Aptian Mantle Plume Volcanism. Science, 254: 399-403. Online: http://www-odp.tamu.edu/publications/130_SR/VOLUME/CHAPTERS/sr130_reprint01.pdf

Leckie, R.M., Schmidt, M., Finkelstein, D., and Yuretich, R., 1991. Paleoceaographic and paleoclimatic interpretations of the Mancos Shale (Upper Cretaceous), Black Mesa Basin, Arizona. In Nations, D., and Eaton, J., eds., Stratigraphy, Depositional Environments and Sedimentary Tectonics of the Southwestern Margin, Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway: Geological Society of America, Special Paper 260, 139-152.

Leckie, R.M., 1990. Mid-Cretaceous planktonic foraminifera of the Antarctic margin: Hole 693A, ODP Leg 113. In Barker, P.F., Kennett, J.P., et al., Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, Vol. 113: College Station, TX (Ocean Drilling Program), 319-324. Online: http://www-odp.tamu.edu/publications/113_SR/VOLUME/CHAPTERS/sr113_22.pdf

Scott, D.K., and Leckie, R.M., 1990. Foraminiferal zonation of Great Sippewissett salt marsh (Falmouth, MA). Journal of Foraminiferal Research, 20(3): 248-266.

Leckie, R.M., 1989. An oceanographic model for the early evolutionary history of planktonic foraminifera. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 73(1/2): 107-138.

Leckie, R.M., 1987. Paleoecology of mid-Cretaceous planktonic foraminifera: a comparison of open ocean and epicontinental sea assemblages. Micropaleontology, 33(2): 164-176.

Leckie, R.M., and Webb, P.N., 1985b. Late Paleogene and early Neogene foraminifers of DSDP Site 270, Ross Sea, Antarctica. In Kennett, J.P., von der Borch, C.C., et al., Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, Volume 90: Washington (U.S. Govt. Printing Office), 1093-1142.7. Online: http://www.deepseadrilling.org/90/volume/dsdp90pt2_24.pdf

Leckie, R.M., and Webb, P.N., 1985a. Candeina antarctica n.sp. and the phylogenetic history and distribution of Candeina spp. in the Paleogene-early Neogene of the Southern Ocean. Journal of Foraminiferal Research, 15(2): 65-78.

Leckie, R.M., 1985. Foraminifera of the Cenomanian-Turonian boundary interval, Greenhorn Formation, Rock Canyon Anticline, Pueblo, Colorado. In Pratt, L.M., Kauffman, E.G., and Zelt, F., eds., Fine-Grained Deposits and Biofacies of the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway Evidence of Cyclic Sedimentary Processes: Soc. Econ Min. & Paleontol. Field Trip Guidebook No. 4, 139-149.

Leckie, R. M., 1984. Mid-Cretaceous planktonic foraminiferal biostratigraphy off central Morocco, DSDP Leg 79, Sites 545 and 547. In Hinz, K., Winterer, E.L., et al., Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, Volume 79: Washington (U.S. Govt. Printing Office), 579-620. Online: http://www.deepseadrilling.org/79/volume/dsdp79_22.pdf

Leckie, R.M., and Webb, P.N., 1983. Late Oligocene-early Miocene glacial record of the Ross Sea, Antarctica: evidence from DSDP Site 270. Geology, 11(10): 578-582.


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