Dr. Jim W. Westgate

Jim Westgate

Jim Westgate with alligator in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

General Information

  • Position: University Professor
  • E-mail: james.westgate@lamar.edu
  • Phone: 409-880-7970, 409-880-8236 Dept. office
  • Office: Geology 113

Education

  • Ph.D, Geology; 1988, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712
  • M.S., Biology; 1983, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, MO
  • M.S., Geology; 1978, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588
  • B.S., Geology; 1975, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23185

University, Professional, and Community Service

  • JASON Alliance for Southeast Texas, Project Scientist, 2001-present.
  • Dinosaur Day (a hands-on community science education event), Co-organizer with the Texas Energy Museum, Beaumont, TX; attended by 1000-2000 children and parents each October, 1992-present.
  • Board of Directors, Clean Air and Water, Inc., Member, 1990-present.
  • Board of Directors, Big Thicket Association, Member, 2008-present.
  • Board of Directors, Texas Energy Museum, Member, 1999- 2007.

AWARDS: Minnie Stevens Piper Professor Award for superior teaching at the college level (2011, $5000).

Skoog Cup Award for significant contributions and leadership in the development of high quality Texas science education at the university level, Science Teachers Association of Texas & the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education Program at Texas Tech University (2009, $500).

Lamar University- University Professor Award (2008, $2500) Lamar University- University Scholar Award (2003, $5000) Lamar University- Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award (1999, $1000) Lamar University, School of Arts and Science- Research Excellence Award (1998) Lamar University- Teaching Excellence Awards (1994, 1996,1998, $2000/yr) Lamar University- Faculty Development Leaves (1992,1997, 2011)

GRANTS: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Grants (2004-11, $700,000): Westgate, James, with Dorothy Sisk, Project Earth Science, Teacher Quality grants program (2009-12, $284,272).

J. Westgate, with Dorothy Sisk, Project Get Real in Biology, Teacher Quality Grants Program (2008-09, $86,840)

J. Westgate, with Dorothy Sisk, Project Rigor & Relevance in Biology, Teacher Quality Grants Program, (2007-08, $86,604).

J. Westgate, with Dorothy Sisk, Project BEST, Improving 8th grade-level science content knowledge of in-service teachers (2005-06, $81,977).

J. Westgate, with Dorothy Sisk, Project ABLE, Improving 8th grade-level science content knowledge of in-service teachers (2004-05, $80,000).

J. Westgate, with Paula Nichols, Project Scientist, Improving 8th grade-level science content knowledge of in-service teachers (2004-05, $80,000).

Teaching Environmental Science in the Three Rivers Watershed’s & Wetlands K-12 Teacher Institute (1996-2011, $380,000): This is an all tuition & fees paid graduate field institute (GEOL 5301) for K-12 in-service and pre-service teachers, now in its 16th year. Entergy Corp. (2001-10, $55,000), ExxonMobil (1998-2011, $95,000), MeadWestvaco (2002-11, $34,000), ChevronPhillips Chemical Corp. (1999-11, $22,000); Sempra Energy (2003-11, $24,000), Valero (2006-11, $6500), The Magnolia Garden Club, (2010/11, $1500); Huntsman Oil Corp. (2000-02, $6000); ATOFina Oil & Chemical Co. (2000-03, $4000); Texas Charitable Fund (2000-03, $5000), Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (1996-97, 1999, 2001, 2003-07; $125,000); Texas General Land Office (1998, $2000).

Lamar University Development Leave Program (2011, $5000): Research on Eocene communities and climate change.

Lamar University-Research Enhancement Grants (1989-2010, $70,000):

New evidence from North American micro-mammals and primates for middle Eocene climate change (2009-10, $5000) Uinta C micro-mammals and the extinction of North American primates (2008-09, $5000) Climate change and the extinction of North American primates (2006-07, $5000) Assembling the Isthmus of Panama (2004-05, $5000) Stalking the giant great white shark, Carcharodon megalodon, in Panama’s Darien rain forest (2003-04, $5000) Excavation and analysis of the second dinosaur community discovered in Chihuahua, MX (2001-02, $5000) Preliminary excavation of a newly discovered dinosaur community from Chihuahua, MX (1999-00, $5000) Reconnaissance and analysis of Permian vertebrate trackways in north-central Texas (1998-99, $5000) Fossil sharks: Thermometers of ancient global climates (1996-97, $5000) Collection and analysis of an Eocene forest-mangrove coastal community (1995-96, $5000) Salvage and paleoecologic reconstruction of a 40 million-year-old coastal community from a Georgia kaolin mine (1993-94, $5000) Taphonomy of a modern and fossil vertebrate assemblage from an estuarine deposit on Baffin Bay, TX (1992-93, $5000) Salvage of Ice Age (Pleistocene) giant tortoise remains from Willacy County, Texas (1990-91, $5000) Collection and analysis of 42 million-year-old primate and micro-rodent remains from Webb County, TX (1989-90, $5000)

Westgate, James. Reduced teaching load grants for serving as Asst. Director & Science Advisor, for the JASON Alliance for Southeast Texas, funding from JASET to Lamar U. Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences (2001-2011, $100,240)

Texas Joint Application Medical Program grants ($16,500, 2004-05; $15,000, 2005-06). Funds for directing and recruiting pre-medical students for the Lamar U. JAMP program.

National Geographic Society- Committee for Research & Exploration: Collection and analysis- Eocene forest-mangrove coastal community (1995-97, $14,600) Collection and analysis of Texas Eocene primate and micro-rodent remains (1990-91, $4860)

Petroleum Research Fund, American Chemical Society Grant: A stratigraphic and paleoecologic analysis of land-mammal bearing strata on the Gulf Coastal plain (1991-93, $18,000).

Research Interests

  • Paleontology
  • Paleocology
  • Biostratigraphy
  • Environmental Science
  • Science Education

Research Description

Paleontology

My primary research focus has been on the paleoecology of coastal communities from the Permian to the present, with emphasis on Tertiary and Cretaceous age sites. This includes Eocene localities across the U.S. Gulf Coast & Utah, Cretaceous localities in Chihuahua, Mexico, and Miocene sites in Panama.

Science Education

My focus in the area of Science Education includes working with K-12 in-service teachers.

Selected Publications

VIDEOS: Westgate, James, Executive Producer: 2001. Teaching Environmental Science in the Neches River Valley. LU Department of Communication Productions, L. Elliot and O. Stanley, Producers, 1 hr. 10 min.

J. Westgate, and P. Nichols, Executive Producers: 2002. JASON Project: Science for Life. LU Department of Communication Productions, L. Elliot and O. Stanley, Producers, 10 min.

J. Westgate, & D. Douglas, Executive Producers. 2007. Texas wetlands. Lamar University, Department of Communication Productions, L. Elliot and O. Stanley, Producers, 40 min.

J. Westgate, & D. Douglas, Executive Producers. 2008. Monster storms. Lamar University, Departments of Communication and Earth & Space Sciences Productions, L. Elliot and O. Stanley, Producers, 50 min.

J. Westgate, Script writer; James Westgate & D. Douglas, Executive Producers. 2009. Operation Resilient Planet. Lamar University, Departments of Communication and Earth & Space Sciences Productions, L. Elliot and O. Stanley, Producers, 35 min.

J. Westgate, Script writer; James Westgate & D. Douglas, Executive Producers. 2010. Operation Infinite Potential. Lamar University, Departments of Communication and Earth & Space Sciences Productions, L. Elliot and O. Stanley, Producers, 45 min.

BOOKS: Westgate, James W. 1999. After the dinosaurs: A Texas tropical paradise found at Lake Casa Blanca. Texas Parks & Wildlife Press, 69 p.

J. Westgate, (Editor). 1999. Program and abstracts of papers.102nd annual meeting, Texas Academy of Sciences, Seguin, Texas, 96 p.

J. Westgate, with K. Woods and others. 1994. Physical geology lab manual. Kendall/Hunt Pub. Co., Dubuque, Iowa, 129 p. [2nd ed., 1997].

BOOK CHAPTERS: Westgate, James W. 2001. Paleoecology and biostratigraphy of marginal marine Gulf Coast Eocene vertebrate localities, pp. 263-297; In G. Gunnel, ed.; Eocene biodiversity: Unusual occurrences and rarely sampled habitats. Kluwer Academic/ Plenum Publishers, New York, 442 p.

J. Westgate, and F. C. Whitmore, Jr. 2002. Balaena ricei, a new species of bowhead whale from the Yorktown Formation (Pliocene) of Hampton, Virginia, 295-312. In : R. J. Emry, Ed., Cenozoic mammals of land and sea: Tributes to the career of Clayton E. Ray, Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology, n. 93, 295-312.

J. Westgate, 2011. One hundred years of science and engineering in the Texas State University System. In: Gomez, F. (Ed.) One hundred years of the Texas State University System, Texas Review Press, 348 p.

RESEARCH ARTICLES: Westgate, James W. and J.F. Ward. 1981. The giant aquatic snake Pterosphenus schucherti (Palaeophidae) in Arkansas and Mississippi. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 1(2):161-164.

J. Westgate, 1982. Hemisinus jacksonius (Gastropoda) as an aid in determining potential of marine deposits for yielding remains of terrestrial mammals. Missouri Academy of Science Transactions 16:49-53.

J. Westgate, 1983. Beachfront roulette. Sea Frontiers, International Oceanographic Foundation, Miami, 29(2):104-109.

J. Westgate, 1984. Lower vertebrates from the late Eocene Crow Creek local fauna, St. Francis County, Arkansas. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 4(4):536-546.

J. Westgate, 1985. Shark hunting on the Arkansas ocean deep. Sea Frontiers (International Oceanographic Foundation) 31(4):241-246.

J. Westgate, and R. J. Emry. 1985. Land mammals of the Crow Creek local fauna, late Eocene, Jackson Group, St. Francis County, Arkansas. Journal of Paleontology 59(1):242-248.

J. Westgate, and K. Messick. 1985. The Pleistocene peccary Mylohyus fossilis from Plummer Cave, Douglas County, Missouri. Missouri Academy of Science Transactions19:99-108.

J. Westgate, 1986. Late Eocene land mammals from the Gulf Coastal Plain: in Schiebout, J. A. and van den Bold, W., eds., Montgomery Landing Site, Marine Eocene (Jacksonian) of central Louisiana, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Symposium Proceedings, October,1986, 223-229.

J. Westgate, 1987. A preliminary report on a large concentration of the remains of the giant gopher tortoise, Gopherus hexagonatus, in the late Pleistocene Beaumont Formation of Willacy County, Texas. in : Hall, G. D., M. B. Collins and E. R. Prewitt, Cultural resources investigations along drainage improvements, Hidalgo and Willacy Counties, Texas: 1986 investigations. Prewitt & Asso., Inc., Consulting Archeologists Rprts. of Invest. 59:199-219.

J. Westgate, 1987. Identification of vertebrate faunal remains. in: Hall, G. D. , M. B. Collins and E. R. Prewitt, Cultural resources investigations along drainage improvements, Hidalgo and Willacy Counties, Texas: 1986 investigations. Prewitt & Associates Inc., Consulting Archeologists Reports of Investigations 59:221-224.

J. Westgate, 1988. Biostratigraphic implications of the first Eocene land-mammal fauna from the North American coastal plain. Geology,16:995-998.

J. Westgate, 1988. Biostratigraphic and paleoecologic implications of the first Eocene land mammal fauna from the North American Coastal Plain. University of Texas-Austin, Geology Doctoral Dissertation, 181 p.

J. Westgate, 1989. Lower vertebrates from an estuarine facies of the the middle Eocene Laredo Formation (Claiborne Group) of Webb County, Texas. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 9:282-294.

J. Westgate, 1989. Analysis of vertebrate remains. in : Boyd, D. K. and others, Phase I Cultural Resources Investigations at Justiceburg Reservoir on the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River, Garza and Kent Counties, Texas. Prewitt & Associates, Consulting Archeologists Reports of Investigations 66:383-388.

J. Westgate, 1989. Analysis of vertebrate remains. in : Bailey, G.L., and others, Cultural Resources Survey, testing, and assessments in the dam construction zone at Stacey Reservoir, Coleman and Concho Counties, Texas. Prewitt & Associates, Inc. Consulting Archeologists Reports of Investigations 65:E1-4.

J. Westgate, 1990. Uintan land mammals (excluding rodents) from an estuarine facies of the Laredo Formation (middle Eocene, Claiborne Group) of Webb County, Texas. Journal of Paleontology 64:454-468.

J. Westgate, 1992. Dinohyus aff. D. hollandi (Mammalia, Entelodontidae) in Alabama. Journal of Paleontology 66:685-687.

J. Westgate, 1993. Tooth detectives: Determining the diet of extinct animals, 94-98. In: Stover, S. and Macdonald, H. (eds.); On the rocks: Earth science activities for grades 1-8. SEPM, Society for Sedimentary Geology, 204 p.

J. Westgate, 1994. Eocene forest-swamp. National Geographic Research & Exploration, 10:78-89.

J. Westgate, 1994. A new leptochoerid from middle Eocene (Uintan) deposits of the Gulf Coastal Plain. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 14:296-299.

J. Westgate, 1994. Analysis of vertebrate remains from 41WY50 and 41WY60. pp. 97-103. In : K. Kibler, ed.; Archeological and geomorphological investigations at prehistoric sites 41WY50 and 41WY60, Willacy County, Texas. Prewitt and Associates, Inc., Reports of Archeological Investigations 95: 111 p.

J. Westgate, 1999. After the dinosaurs: A Texas tropical paradise found. Lamar University Distinguished Lecture Series, 9 p.

J. Westgate, 2007. Teaching environmental science Texas-style. Eingana, Journal of the Victoria (Australia) Association for Environmental Education, v. 30, n. 1:17-18.

J. Westgate, (in press). The rise and fall of Caplen, Texas: 20,000 BP to 2011 A.D. Gulf Coast Historical Society.

Westgate, James W. and J.F. Ward.* 1981. The giant aquatic snake Pterosphenus schucherti (Palaeophidae) in Arkansas and Mississippi. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 1(2):161-164.

J. Westgate, and R. J. Emry. 1985. Land mammals of the Crow Creek local fauna, late Eocene, Jackson Group, St. Francis County, Arkansas. Journal of Paleontology 59(1):242-248.

J. Westgate, and K. Messick.* 1985. The Pleistocene peccary Mylohyus fossils from Plummer Cave, Douglas County, Missouri. Missouri Academy of Science Transactions19:99-108.

J. Westgate, and E. R. Prewitt. 1987. Analysis of other faunal remains [vertebrates]. in : Prewitt and others, National register assessments of the Swan Lake site, 41AS16, on Copano Bay, Aransas County, Texas. Prewitt & Associates, Inc., Consulting Archeologists Report of Investigations 56:173-231.

J. Westgate, and C. Gee. 1990. Paleoecology of a middle Eocene mangrove biota (vertebrates, plants, and invertebrates) from southwest Texas. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 78:163-177.

Wilson, J. A. and James W. Westgate. 1991. A lophodont rodent from the middle Eocene of the Gulf Coastal Plain, Texas. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 11(2):257-260.

Recent Abstracts: Westgate, James W., R. B. Brown, D. Cope and G. Stringer. 2005. Preliminary survey for Carcharodon megalodon, and other fishes from the Miocene of Panama. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, v. 25, n. 3 sup.:129A.

J. Westgate, with G. Stringer, R. B. Brown, and D. Cope. 2006. Significance of fish otoliths from the Cervesa local fauna from the Gatun Formation (Miocene) of Panama. Texas Academy of Science, Beaumont, TX, Program & Abs., p. 74.

J. Westgate, 2006. Teaching Environmental Science Texas-style. Australian Association of Environmental Education, bi-annual national meeting, Bunbury, AU., Program & Abstracts, p. 124.

J. Westgate, J. Pittman, D. Cope, R. B. Brown, and J. Kalb. 2006. First occurrences of Deinosuchus in Mexico. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, v. 26, n. 3 sup., p. 138A.

J. Westgate, 2007. Mangrove-dwelling vertebrates from Deep Time: an example of a diverse middle Eocene community from Laredo, Texas, USA. XVII INQUA Congress, The Tropics: Heat engine of the Quaternary, Quaternary International, v. 167-168 supp., pp. 446-447.

J. Westgate, D.A. Cope, and K.C. Beard. 2007. A new Uintan genus of omomyine primate from the Casa Blanca community, Laredo Texas. American Association of Physical Anthropology, Program & Abs. 76th ann. Meeting, p. 247.

J. Westgate, D. Owen and R. Ashmore. 2007. Reviving the tradition of the Southern Association of Student Geological Societies (SASGS) field trips. Texas Academy of Science 110th Annual Meeting, Waco, TX, Program & Abs., p. 91.

J. Westgate, with, D. Cope, C. Beard and L. Humphreys.* 2007. Primate diversity in the Uintan Casa Blanca community, Laredo Formation, Texas. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, v. 27, n. 3 sup., p. 61A.

J. Westgate, 2008. Eocene (Jacksonian) vertebrates from Crowley’s Ridge, Arkansas. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, South-Central Section, 43rd annual meeting, 40(3):3.

J. Westgate, 2008. Vertebrates from a middle Eocene estuarine mangrove community in the Rio Grande Embayment. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, South-Central Section, 43rd annual meeting, 40(3):3.

J. Westgate, B. Townsend, D. Cope, and A. Friscia. 2008. Snapshot from the past: A Uintan vertebrate assemblage preserving community structure. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, v. 28, n. 3 sup., p. 159A.

J. Westgate, D. Douglas, L. Elliott, D. McLemore* and O. Stanley. 2008. Using Texas wetlands, video technology, students and JASON wetlands curricula to create a hybrid vehicle for wetland environmental education. Texas Academy of Science 111th Annual Meeting, Corpus Christi, TX, Program & Abs., p. 128.

J. Westgate, 2009. First records of two large land mammals from middle Eocene Coastal Plain strata of Texas. Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, Annual Meeting & Exposition, 41(7):106.

J. Westgate, 2009. Paleoecology of a Gulf Coast Uintan-age tropical rain forest/ mangrove swamp community from Laredo, Texas. 9th North American Paleontologic Convention, Cincinnati Museum Center Scientific Contribs., 3:55.

J. Westgate, with James Burnes and J. Mika. 2009. The stratigraphic position of the first Uinta C micro-mammal community from the Uinta Formation, Uintah County, Utah. Sigma Xi International Research Conference, Programs and Abstracts, p. 127.

J. Westgate, 2009. Hurricane Ike and the rise and fall of Caplen, Texas. Texas Academy of Science, 112th Annual Meeting, Program & Abstracts, p. 109.

J. Westgate, with S. Harsh, J. Mika, J. Burnes, & J. Knapp. 2009. Techniques for recovering micro-mammal remains from low yielding Uinta C facies Texas Academy of Science, 112th Annual Meeting, Program & Abstracts, p. 110.

J. Westgate, D. Cope, and C. Beard. 2010. First occurrence and significance of Mahgarita stevensi in a late middle Eocene (late Uintan) Tethyan-influenced Gulf coast community. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, SVP Program & Abstracts Book, p. 186A.

J. Westgate, D. Douglas, L. Elliott and O. Stanley. 2010. Using the JASON Project’s “Operation Infinite Potential” to energize science students. Texas Academy of Science, 113th Annual Meeting, Program & Abstracts, p. 170.

J. Westgate, with James Burnes and J. Mika. 2010. The stratigraphic position of the first Uinta C micro-mammal community in the Uinta Formation, Uinta Basin, northeastern Utah. Texas Academy of Science, 113th Annual Meeting, Program & Abstracts. p. 159-160.

J. Westgate, with James Burnes and J. Mika. 2010. The stratigraphic position of the first Uinta C micro-mammal community from the Uinta Formation, Uintah County, Utah. 24th National Conference on Undergraduate Research annual meeting proceedings, p. 79.

J. Westgate, (in press). Paleoecology of a primate-friendly, late middle Eocene (late Uintan), tropical rain forest/ mangrove swamp community from Laredo, Texas, USA. The World at the Time of Messel: Puzzles in palaeobiology, palaeoenvironment, and the history of early primates. 22nd International Senckenberg Conference. Conference Volume. Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

J. Westgate, with McGrath, Kathryn,* & Cope, Dana. 2011. Intra- and interspecific variation in middle Eocene mytoniinans with a further assessment of the validity of the genus Mytonius. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, supplement 52:211-212.

J. Westgate, D. Cope and J. C. Westgate.* 2011. Bulking-up the sample size of the first Uinta C micro-mammal fauna from the Uinta Basin. Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, Rocky Mountain/Cordilleran Section Annual Meeting, 43(4):78.

J. Westgate, D. Cope, and C. Beard. 2011. Mahgarita cf. M. stevensi in the middle Eocene Laredo formation: Oldest record of a cercomoniine primate in North America. Texas Academy of Science, 114th Annual Meeting, Program & Abstracts, p. 90.