J Bret Bennington
J Bret Bennington is a professor of geology at Hofstra University. Although born in Dayton, Ohio, Dr. Bennington spent most of his formative years on the north shore of Long Island, New York, where he learned to appreciate bagels and a good slice of pizza. He is a graduate of Northport High School (Class of 1981) and attended the University of Rochester, graduating with a B.S. in biology-geology in 1985. Heading south for graduate studies, Dr. Bennington joined up with Richard Bambach's paleontology group at Virginia Tech. He was hired at Hofstra University in 1993 and earned a Ph.D. in 1995. At Hofstra Dr. B (as his students call him) teaches courses in physical geology, historical geology, geomorphology, hydrology, dinosaurs, evolution and Charles Darwin, and paleontology. His main research focus is paleoecology and the statistical analysis of fossil assemblages. Dr. Bennington also has ongoing projects looking into Cretaceous marine communities and environments on the Atlantic Coastal Plain; the analysis of predation on fossil oysters, tetrapod and dinosaur trackways; and the glacial geomorphology and geological history of Long Island.
For the past seven years Dr. Bennington has co-directed a study abroad program in Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands with Hofstra biology professor Dr. Russell Burke. In that time he has had the good fortune to escort groups of students to the islands in the footsteps of Charles Darwin on five separate occasions. With Dr. Burke and Hofstra's Dean of Library and Information Services Daniel Rubey, he is a co-founder and organizer of Hofstra's annual Darwin Day celebration and was a co-director of the Darwin's Reach conference at Hofstra University in spring 2009, commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. During these events, "Mr. Darwin" has been known to appear, with Dr. Bennington nowhere to be found.
In his free time, Dr. Bennington likes to garden, bike, hike, kayak, read, eat, and drink as much craft beer and single malt scotch as is prudent.
Hofstra Horizons Articles
- Fall 2011: Confessions of a Statistical Paleontologist