Ancient Clam Species Named for Emeritus Geology Professor

Dr. Paul Aharon
Dr. Paul Aharon

From the July 2017 Desktop News | A newly discovered species of an ancient chemosynthetic clam was named after Dr. Paul Aharon, professor emeritus of geological sciences at UA.

Two European scientists classified the fossil clam as Archivesica aharoni in a scientific article recently published in the Journal of Paleontology.

The paper was written by Dr. Steffen Kiel, senior curator at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, and Dr. Marco Taviani, research director at the Institute of Marine Sciences in Bologna, Italy.

“The species honors Paul Aharon, long-lasting friend and colleague, because of his many achievements in the field of hydrocarbon-seepage recent and past,” said Taviani.

The fossil named after Aharon is a giant type of vesicomyid clam found in the Apennine Mountains in Italy where ancient deep-sea sediments were uplifted by tectonic forces.

Aharon was the Ray E. Loper Endowed Chair in Geological Sciences before retiring in 2016. He came to UA in 2001 after spending 19 years at Louisiana State University. He established the first Stable Isotope Laboratory in Alabama that continues to be state-of-the-art for acquisition of stable isotopes.