Dr. Killam’s PhD in Paleobiology, which he received at the University of California, Santa Cruz, involved collaborating with paleobiologists, modern-day conservation biologists and climate researchers in the United States, Israel, Italy and Jordan. His interdisciplinary approach is well-suited to his research in sclerochronology (the study of the growth bands of seashells, similar to growth rings in trees), an area which is of interest to researchers of both modern and paleontological biology.
In the Department of Marine Geosciences at the University of Haifa, Dr. Killam will be investigating seashells from the bittersweet clam (G. nummaria), which are abundant along the Northern Mediterranean coast of Israel. Radiocarbon dating indicates that most are between 2000-5,500 years old. Yet living representatives of this species are rare and not known from the beach or shallow zone. Dr. Killam will investigate their growth bands to try to understand where they originated—one theory is that they were transported by a tsunami from another Mediterranean region. Ramifications of his study include a better understanding of Mediterranean tsunamis, ecological change, climate conditions, and unraveling the natural history of this delicate coastline. Dr. Killam is a Certified Scientific Scuba Diver.