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Staff Page
PaleoServices Staff in the Lab The staff of PaleoServices consist of individuals with a range of backgrounds and experiences that have come together to create a dedicated and professional team including qualified paleontologists and paleontological monitors, skilled fossil preparators, and expert curatorial personnel. With virtually no staff turnover, we are able to provide a consistently high level of service and are committed to the recovery and preservation of the rich paleontological heritage of this region.

With over 200 cumulative years of experience, our staff has never caused any extended delays on grading projects and has never had any notable injuries of field personnel.


Our Staff
  Thomas A. Deméré, Director, PaleoServices
  Shayne A. Boney, Paleontological Specialist II
  Gino Calvano, Paleontological Monitor
  Richard A. Cerutti, Paleontological Specialist III
  Eric G. Ekdale, Staff Paleontologist
  Joseph J. El Adli,Paleontological Specialist I
  John L. Pfanner, Paleontological Specialist III
  Christopher S. Plouffe, Paleontological Specialist I
  Kesler A. Randall, Collections Manager - Fossil Vertebrates
  Bradford O. Riney, Paleontological Specialist III
  Patrick J. Sena, Paleontological Specialist III
  Sarah A. Siren, Paleontological Field Manager
  Melissa K. Soetaert,Office/Curatorial Manager
  Donald R. Swanson, Paleontological Specialist II

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Thomas A. Deméré,
Director, PaleoServices
Education: Ph.D. Biology (University of California, Los Angeles),
M.S. Geology (University of Southern California), B.S. Geology (San Diego State University).
Project Responsibilities: Project management.
Title: Director of PaleoServices; Curator, Department of Paleontology
Certification: Qualified Paleontologist, City of San Diego
Email: tdemere@sdnhm.org

Dr. Deméré has worked as a professional paleontologist since 1974, first as a micropaleontologist in the petroleum industry and then as a paleontologist with the San Diego Natural History Museum involved with collecting, curating, and interpreting fossils. Since 1994, Tom has served as Curator of Paleontology and Director of PaleoServices at the Museum. Dr. Deméré is the author of numerous scientific and popular articles dealing with the paleontological history of southern California and the evolutionary history of marine mammals. Since 1981 he has also worked as an environmental consultant to various planning firms, municipalities, and land development companies. In this last capacity, Dr. Deméré’s work has ranged from initial resource assessments, through impact evaluation, to actual impact mitigation. Although the majority of this work has been with residential and commercial developments within San Diego County, it has also involved a number of water, sewer, and natural gas pipeline and utility transmission line projects in southern California.

Shayne A. Boney, SDNHM, (619) 255-0230
Education: B.S. Geological Sciences (San Diego State University, San Diego, CA).
Project Responsibilities: Field monitoring, fossil preparation.
Title: Paleontological Specialist II
Certification: Qualified Paleontological Monitor, City of San Diego; Certified Paleontologist, 40-Hour Hazwoper Certification.

Ms. Boney has worked as a staff geologist from 2007-2009 and a paleontological monitor in 2010 in San Diego County. Shayne has extensive experience conducting studies on active construction project sites where multiple pieces of equipment are working.

Gino Calvano, SDNHM (619) 255-0230
Education: B.A. Anthropology (University of California, Irvine), M.S. Geological Sciences (California State University, Long Beach)
Project Responsibilities: Field monitoring, processing microfossils, fossil preparation.
Title: Paleontological Monitor
Certification: Qualified Paleontological Monitor, City of San Diego; Certified Paleontologist, County of Orange, California

Mr. Calvano has over 16 years experience in recovering fossils from mass excavation projects in San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles counties. He is especially familiar with working around heavy earth-moving equipment. Mr. Calvano has over ten years experience in field mapping of paleontological sites and interpretation of site stratigraphy. Gino also has extensive experience in screenwashing bulk sedimentary matrix samples for the recovery of micromammal remains (e.g., teeth and bones) and has developed new methods for concentrating microfossils using heavy separation liquids.

Richard A. Cerutti
Education: Sweetwater High School, San Diego, CA
Project Responsibilities: Field monitoring, specimen preparation
Title: Paleontological Specialist III
Certification: Qualified Paleontological Monitor, City of San Diego
Email: rcerutti@sdnhm.org

Mr. Cerutti has worked as a professional paleontological monitor and fossil preparator since 1981. He has over 20 years of experience in recovering fossils from mass-excavation projects in San Diego County and has developed special procedures to effectively communicate with heavy equipment operators concerning fossil salvage activities. Mr. Cerutti has attended several technical courses on preparing fossil vertebrates and has 10 years of experience in supervising fossil preparators. Richard also teaches courses on local paleontology at the Museum and leads geologic and paleontologic field trips for the general public.

Eric G. Ekdale, SDNHM, (619) 255-0301
Education: Ph.D. Geological Sciences with emphasis in Vertebrate Paleontology (The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX), M.S. Biology with emphasis in Systematic, Evolutionary, and Organismal Biology (San Diego State University, San Diego, CA), B.A. Biology (Augustana College, Rock Island, IL), B. A. Scandinavian Studies (Augustana College, Rock Island, IL).
Project Responsibilities: Report preparation, assist with curation of fossil specimens
Title: Staff Paleontologist

Dr. Ekdale was hired as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Paleontology in the San Diego Natural History Museum in 2010 to conduct scientific research on extinct and extant baleen whales. In 2011, he was hired to assist with report preparation and fossil curation in the Department of PaleoServices at the San Diego Natural History Museum. In addition, he holds an adjunct research faculty position in the Biology Department at San Diego State University, and he is an adjunct instructor at San Diego Mesa College. Eric conducted vertebrate paleontology research for both his M.S. thesis at San Diego State University (2002) and Ph.D. dissertation at The University of Texas at Austin (2009). He has extensive knowledge of vertebrate evolution and anatomy, and he specializes in the paleobiology of fossil and recent mammals. He has conducted paleontological field work in the White River Badlands of Nebraska (Oligocene) and the Chinle Formation of Arizona (Triassic) among other areas, and he has published professional scientific papers on fossil and recent mammals from North America, South America, and Asia spanning over 100 million years of mammalian evolution. Eric’s responsibilities include assessments of impact upon paleontological resources, curation of fossil specimens into the invertebrate and vertebrate paleontology collections at the San Diego Natural History Museum, and preparation of final paleontological mitigation reports.

Joseph J. El Adli, SDNHM, (619) 255-0230
Education: B.S. Geological Sciences with emphasis in Paleontology (San Diego State University, San Diego, CA).
Project Responsibilities: Fossil preparation, assist with report preparation.
Title: Paleontological Specialist I

Mr. El Adli worked as a Research Assistant in the Department of Paleontology in the San Diego Natural History Museum in 2009. In 2010 he began full time work as a fossil preparator in the fossil preparation laboratory in the Museum. He has extensive experience in modern fossil preparation techniques of invertebrate, vertebrate, and plant fossils. Joe also prepares institutional records searches for upcoming projects.

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John L. Pfanner
Education: B.S. Geology (San Diego State University)
Project Responsibilities: Field monitoring, final report preparation
Title: Paleontological Specialist III
Certification: Qualified Paleontological Monitor, City of San Diego
Email: jpfanner@sdnhm.org

Mr. Pfanner brings with him seven years of experience as a paleontological monitor. He has developed special skills in the recording of stratigraphic and geologic contextual data for fossil salvage operations. Also John is experienced in preparation of geologic and paleontological graphics for final project reports.

Christopher S. Plouffe
Education: : B.S. Geology (University of California, San Barbara)
Project Responsibilities: Field monitoring, fossil preparation
Title: Paleontological Specialist I
Certification: Qualified Paleontological Monitor, City of San Diego; HAZWOPER Certified
Email: cplouffe@sdnhm.org

Mr. Plouffe has worked as a field paleontologist since 2002. He is a graduate of the Paleontology Certification Program at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and has worked as a volunteer with the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. In this last capacity Mr. Plouffe participated in excavation of a Tyrannosaurus rex specimen from the Hell Creek Formation in Montana and served as a preparator in the LACM fossil vertebrate laboratory.

Kesler A. Randall
Education: M.S. Geology (San Diego State University), B.S. Geoenvironmental Studies Biology (Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania)
Project Responsibilities: Fossil preparation and curation
Title: Collections Manager - Fossil Vertebrates
Certification: Qualified Paleontological Monitor, City of San Diego
Email: krandall@sdnhm.org

Mr. Randall has worked as a professional paleontologist since 1994 and has considerable experience in preparation, curation and collections management of vertebrate fossil collections. He began his paleontological work as a collections manager in the Department of Paleontology and Geology, State Museum of Pennsylvania in 1994 and then in 1998, became employed at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Mr. Randall has developed collection management databases and reorganized museum collections. Mr. Randall has been studying vertebrate paleontology for 10 years and has published and presented a number of papers, including those on Pleistocene mammals.

Bradford O. Riney
Education: Clairemont High School, San Diego, CA
Project Responsibilities: Field monitoring, field mapping, specimen preparation
Title: Paleontological Specialist III
Certification: Qualified Paleontological Monitor, City of San Diego
Email: briney@sdnhm.org

Mr. Riney has worked as a professional paleontological monitor and fossil preparator since 1981. He has over 23 years of experience in recovering fossils and stratigraphic contextual data from mass-excavation projects in San Diego County. Mr. Riney has developed special techniques for the preparation of large fossil vertebrates (e.g., dinosaurs and whales) and is responsible for pioneering the use of video for recording paleontological field data. He has co-authored several scientific articles describing the geologic context of important paleontological discoveries in San Diego County.

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Patrick J. Sena
Education: U.S. Navy attached to USMC as Corpsman; served in Desert Storm; honorable discharge 1992; Geological coursework Foothill Community College
Project Responsibilities: Field monitoring, fossil preparation
Title: Paleontological Specialist III
Certification: Qualified Paleontological Monitor, City of San Diego; Paleontological Certification, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park; HAZWOPER Certified
Email: psena@sdnhm.org

Mr. Sena has worked as a field paleontologist for PaleoServices since 1995. Pat is very experienced in recovering fossils from mass excavation projects in San Diego County; especially familiar with working around heavy earth-moving equipment. Personally responsible for discovering and preparing hundreds of significant vertebrate fossil remains. Completed paleontological certification course requirements at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Sarah A. Siren
Education: M.S. Paleontology (South Dakota School of Mines and Technology), B.S. Geology (The George Washington University), B.A. French Language & Literature (The George Washington University)
Project Responsibilities: Recovery of stratigraphic and taphonomic data, collection of geographic and topographic information, final report preparation
Title: Paleontological Field Manager
Certification: Qualified Paleontologist, City of San Diego; Orange County Certified Paleontologist; Geologist-in-Training, California, No. 167; 40-hour HAZWOPER Training
Email: ssiren@sdnhm.org

Ms. Siren received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology (1999) from The George Washington University and was awarded a Master's Degree in Paleontology (2002) from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. She is an associate geology professor at Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo, California and a curatorial assistant with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Sarah has conducted studies at both the Smithsonian Institution and Badlands National Park, and has supervised as lead research scientist for various field activities, curation projects, and laboratory preparations. Her diverse experience includes monitoring, identifying, mapping, and preparing fossils. She has served as Project Manager and Paleontologist for numerous projects in southern California involving multiple agencies, public and private sector clients, a variety of resources, and multidisciplinary staff supervision. Sarah is a Geologist-in-Training (no.167) with the State of California, an Orange County Certified Paleontologist, and a Qualified Paleontologist with the City of San Diego.

Melissa K. Soetaert, SDNHM, (619) 255-0230
Education: B.A. Biological Anthropology (University of California, San Diego), B.A. Theatre Arts (University of California, San Diego)
Project Responsibilities:Contract management, office management, human resources.
Title: Office/Curatorial Manager


Melissa has worked for the Department of PaleoServices since 2001 and has greatly streamlined the management of contracts and improved communication with clients and planning professionals. Her responsibilities include contract negotiation, contract management, insurance coordination, field and laboratory labor reconciliation, and client liaison. Melissa also has a strong working knowledge of paleontological mitigation from her years working in the laboratory and field.

Donald R. Swanson
Education: Undergraduate work (University of Denver)
Project Responsibilities: Field monitoring, specimen preparation
Title: Paleontological Specialist II
Certification: Qualified Paleontological Monitor, City of San Diego
Email: dswanson@sdnhm.org

Mr. Swanson has worked as a professional paleontological monitor and fossil preparator since 1984. Before that he worked as a professional archaeological excavator. He has extensive experience in monitoring pipeline excavation operations and has developed special procedures for effectively communicating with trench and tunnel excavation crews. Mr. Swanson has served as a board member of the Fort Guijarros Museum Foundation and is currently a member of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. Don completed OSHA training in the identification of hazardous materials in construction settings and serves as the department’s Safety Officer.

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