Jason E. Osborne, Director of Field Research, Co-founder
Jason grew up on a small farm in south central Pennsylvania. He always liked to work with his hands but found time to explore, whether it was playing in a creek bank or cracking open a piece of slate to discover earth's past. He never grew out of these traits. Jason has made fossil discoveries that are sure to lead to the identification of new species and regularly donates his finds to the Calvert Marine Museum and other museum collections. Jason spent the early part of his career as a Tool and Die maker, fabricating sophisticated tooling for the conductor and medical world then migrated into the Aerospace field. Currently, he works in the Medical Research community designing laboratory devices that will promote breakthroughs in the medical and basic sciences. His passion for paleontology and discovery continues to grow while he enjoys passing his knowledge on to today’s youth.
Aaron Alford, PhD, Director of Science and Education, Co-founder
Aaron is a Kentucky native that never got over his love of finding critters in the woods. While finishing his PhD at Johns Hopkins, he began to explore the fossil exposures of the Central Atlantic Coastal Plain and develop his unique "finding" skill set. He has found, recovered, prepared and donated thousands of fossil specimens to museum collections for research purposes and to elementary schools as teaching aids.
Along with Jason Osborne, he has crafted a unique finding style that incorporates research, stratigraphy, field craft and methodological innovation to maximize the information and specimens recovered from available exposures of a given formation.
Aaron is a research scientist with a non-profit contract research organization and focuses on evaluation and research methods.
Robert E. Weems, PhD, Director of Stratigraphy and Paleontology
Upon completing his doctoral dissertation at the George Washington University, Rob joined the USGS in 1978. During his thirty-two years with the USGS, Rob has worked primarily on the stratigraphy of the Atlantic Coastal Plain in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland, on the stratigraphy of the Newark Supergroup basins from South Carolina through Connecticut, and on the Salem Plateau in the Ozarks of southern Missouri. In the course of his stratigraphic work, he has been able to apply his vertebrate paleontological background toward refining the dating and correlation of numerous stratigraphic units in the eastern and central United States, and he also has helped to develop a better understanding of the depositional environments of many of the stratigraphic units that he has studied. The results of his work have been documented in more than 60 scientific papers, 15 geologic maps, and 29 abstracts.
Barry Albright, PhD, Director of Mammalian Vertebrate Paleontology
Dr. Barry Albright is currently a professor of Earth Science in the Department of Physics at the University of North Florida. He received his BS in oceanography from Florida Institute of Technology, a Masters in geology/paleontology from Louisiana State University, and the PhD in geology/paleontology from the University of California, Riverside.
Prior to his employment at UNF, Dr. Albright was Curator of Geology and Paleontology at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. It was over those years that he began research in southern Utah where he returns each summer to continue his field work and studies on large marine reptiles, dinosaurs, and other aspects of paleontology and geology. His research has also taken him to Antarctica, Patagonia, and Mongolia and he also has projects in California, Oregon, and South Carolina. Prior to Dr. Albright’s academic life, he worked in the Caribbean as a yacht captain and in Alaska as a King Crab fisherman.
Jeff Jordan, Technical Gear Advisor and Innovator
Jeff Jordan is always seeking the opportunity for a new adventure. A mechanical engineer by profession, he stays abreast of the latest technology with one eye on the adventure sports industry and the other on developing new products. Jeff’s unique skill set and knowledge of extreme sports helps Paleo Quest develop new techniques and cutting-edge equipment for fossil recovery and underwater stratigraphy. To this thrill-seeker, the combination of high-energy black water scuba diving and uncovering the earth’s history is the perfect storm for innovation.
Jim Murray, Science Diving Consultant
James Murray is currently employed as a research marine ecologist and science diver for the USGS. His research includes ecosystem history and restoration issues in South Florida and coral reef research in Everglades National Park and surrounding areas of southern Florida. Jim is a Scuba Diving Instructor Trainer and co/owner of Coral Edge Adventures Diving Services. He is a Dive Safety Officer for both the USGS and the American Academy of Underwater Scientists (AAUS) and is a certified Scientific Diver with both agencies. Jim is an avid rebreather diver and is an instructor for multiple CCR platforms and ESCR rebreathers.
Jim has been a paleontologist at heart since he was a small boy and brings this interest to his science diving, exploration and to Paleo Quest and Coral Edge Adventures. He is currently coordinating efforts to help with reef clean-up, water quality improvements and ongoing restoration efforts in the marine systems of South Florida and Chesapeake Bay areas. His background in the sciences provides the knowledge and expertise to assist in fossil specimen collection, processing, identification and curation.
When not diving, training or managing the shop you can find Jim keeping his submerged aquatic plant taxonomy skills fresh, exploring, and coming up with new contraptions to make diving more fun, safe and productive. He also enjoys metal work and gardening.
Robert Cantrell, Cinematographer
Robert Cantrell is a native of Detroit who grew to love the ocean when his family moved to San Diego. He fell in love with sharks after seeing the classic shark documentary Blue Water, White Death,and his interest in living sharks lead to curiosity about their ancient past.
Robert joined the Paleo Quest team in 2013 as the principle cinematographer and producer for planned documentaries on black water diving. He has developed skills in low-light cinematography shooting sharks such as the bull and oceanic whitetip at night. These skills translate well into filming black water scenes on river bottoms where natural light does not reach.
When not working on films or training videos, Robert works as an innovation and intellectual property consultant for his strategy tools company, Center For Advantage. Robert’s film company is All Fins On.
Reed George, Photographer
Reed George was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1964. He first studied photography in the 1970s, as a middle school student in Norman, Oklahoma. Soon after completing his degree in Mechanical Engineering and graduate studies in Technology Management, some twenty years later, he rediscovered his passion for photography. Now photography is a true focus of his energy, along with his career, working for a biomedical research institute. Reed lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and nine year old daughter.
Monica C. Boland , Editor
Monica Boland was born and raised in suburban Falls Church and now lives in the City of Falls Church. She received her BS in Print & Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College in Boston, MA. Monica has worked as a reporter for The Boston Globe and Market News International. She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of a weekly events calendar and monthly newsletter based in the Washington metropolitan area and a freelance writer for various local publications. Monica considers herself to be a versatile journalist with a penchant for arts & culture writing. When she's not writing or editing, she's exploring nearby artistic pockets and immersing herself in local subcultures.
Anja Spruston, Graphic Designer
Anja Spruston was born in Germany and grew up in Evanston, Illinois. She is currently an undergraduate student at Northwestern University. Although she is majoring in Economics, she has a strong passion for graphic design and photography, and she frequently accepts all types of projects for those seeking graphic artwork. Some of her previous works include a graphic design photo portfolio, album artwork, and logos for non-profit organizations.
John Nance, Undergraduate Fellow
John Nance is a Maryland native that has been searching for fossils since childhood. At the age of ten he began accompanying his grandfather on beach collecting trips and credits his grandfather for his passion for paleontology. In 2003, he began to invest seriously in his interest in fossils and started volunteering at the Calvert Marine Museum as a prep lab technician in the paleontology department. In 2007, John became the Paleontology Collections Manager, overseeing the 40,000+ fossil specimens and hundreds of recent specimens. His work as collections manager also includes scouting and recovering reported specimens. Under his direction, the collection has expanded considerably. John is currently pursuing a B.S. in geology at the University of Maryland with the intent of pursuing a graduate career in paleontology.
Katya Derzon, Intern
Katya Derzon is a senior at the Howard Gardner School. She began her work with Paleo Quest in late 2009 as part of her school's internship program, and has since made significant contributions to the local paleontological community. She has donated many of her finds to the Calvert Marine Museum (CMM) and published in CMM's monthly newsletter, The Ecphora. Katya is currently focusing on fossil otoliths (a bony growth in the inner ear of fish that is unique to each species) in order to expand the known fauna of the Central Coastal plain.