Lawrence Tanner

Lawrence Tanner

Professor, Environmental Science Systems

Science Center Addition 210
Le Moyne College
1419 Salt Springs Road
Syracuse, NY 13214


(315) 445-4537


Director, Center for the Study of Environmental Change


Rev. Richard M. McKeon, S.J., Scholar of the Year 2012
Louis D. De Gennaro, Ph.D., Undergraduate Mentor Award 2013
Joseph C. Georg Endowed Professorship 2018-2021


  • Ph.D. (1990) University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  • M.S. (1980) University of Tulsa
  • B.A. (1978) Williams College

Courses Taught

  • BSC 110: Paleobiology of Dinosaurs
  • ESS 121: Global Resources
  • ESS 128: Global Ecosystems - Costa Rica
  • ESS 129: Global Ecosystems - North America
  • ESS 205: Physical Geology
  • ESS 238: Earth-History and Inhabitants
  • BIO 237: Ecology of the Galapagos
  • ESS 320: Earth’s Surface
  • BIO/ESS 348: Environmental Research - Iceland
  • BIO/ESS 458: Global Climate Systems
  • BIO/ESS 470: Environmental Topics Seminar

Research Interests

Most importantly, I have a passionate concern for the rapidly changing environment of our Earth. Anthropogenic forcing of climate change, habitat loss and pollution threaten the Earth with a mass extinction event of a magnitude not seen since the end of the Mesozoic Era. I encourage solidarity between scientists, environmental action groups and faith traditions in addressing these concerns.

The realization that modern climate change and habitat loss are already having a significant impact on ecology drives my research with Le Moyne students investigating changes in soil and plant communities and carbon cycle dynamics in both laboratory experiments and field research in such diverse locations as Iceland and Costa Rica. Currently, I am using my endowed professorship to investigate ecological trends (mainly primary succession) on the forelands of the retreating glaciers of Iceland (see recent publications below).

My lab includes analytical equipment for studying rock and soil compositions (Bruker D2 Phaser X-ray diffractometer and a JEOL JSM-6510LV scanning electron microscope). For studies of soil carbon flux we have a Li-Cor 8100 soil CO2 chamber system.

Much of my professional work focuses on the paleogeography and paleoclimate of the Late Paleozoic and Mesozoic world. This research examines the environmental conditions (climatic, atmospheric, etc.) as dinosaurs rose to ascendancy in the Late Triassic, the record and causes of extinctions for the early Mesozoic, and the global environmental processes responsible for mass extinctions in general. Primarily, this research is conducted through field studies (sedimentology and stratigraphy) of early Mesozoic formations in the Four Corners area.       


Please see my CV for a complete listing of 100+ publications, some of which are available on ResearchGate.

Latest Book: The Late Triassic World: Earth in a Time of Transition, Springer International Topics in Geobiology Series 46 (2018).

Latest Articles: * denotes Le Moyne student (or former student) co-author 

Tanner, L.H., Lucas, S.G., 2023. Record of palaeoclimate across the Cretaceous–Palaeogene boundary from palaeosols in the west-central San Juan Basin, New Mexico, USA. The Depositional Record, DOI: 10.1002/dep2.251. 

Lawa, F.A., Mohammed, I., Farouk, S., Ahmad, F., Faris, M., Tanner, L., Al-Kahtany, K., 2023. Stratigraphic architecture of the Tethyan Cenomanian-Turonian succession and OAE2 in the Dokan Area, Kurdistan Region, northeast Iraq. Journal of African Earth Sciences 207:

Wanas, H.A., Tanner, L.H., Khalifa, M.M., Mousa, F.A., Plio-Pleistocene continental carbonates and silcretes in Wadi El-Natrun, NW Egypt: Their morphology and paleoenvironmental significance. Journal of African Earth Sciences, 198:

Synan, H.E.*, Melfi, M.A.*, Tanner, L.H., 2021. Spatial and temporal dynamics of growth of woody plant species (birch and willows) on the foreland of a retreating glacier in southern Iceland. Ecological Processes. https://

Tanner, L.H., Kyte, F.T., Puffer, John, H., 2020. Widespread elevated iridium in Upper Triassic–Lower Jurassic strata of the Newark Supergroup:      implications for use as an extinction marker. Scientific Reports,

Tanner, L.H., Lucas, 2020. The isotopic composition of pedogenic carbonate as a record of pCO2: Insights from the Late Paleozoic of tropical        western Pangea, Ch. 10. In: Monenari, M. (ed.) Carbon Isotope Stratigraphy, Elsevier Time and Stratigraphy, Vol. 5, p. 529-565.

Rigo, M., Onoue, T., Tanner, L.H., Lucas, S.G., Godfrey, L., Katz, M.E., Zaffania, M., Grice, 
K., Cesar, J., Yamashita, D., Marona, M., Tackett, L.S., Campbell, H., Tateo, F., Concheri, F.,   
Agnini, C., Chiari, M., Bertinelli, A., 2020. The Late Triassic Extinction at the 
Norian/Rhaetian boundary: Biotic evidence and geochemical signature. Earth-Science 
240, 103180.

Tanner, L.H., Vandewarker, M.M.*, 2019. Significance of vegetation cover differences on

albedo and soil carbon on a basaltic sandplain in southern Iceland. AIMS Environmental
6(6): 435–444. DOI: 10.3934/environsci.2019.6.435

Palmer, C.A.*, Markstein, K.P.*, Tanner, L.H., 2019. Experimental test of temperature and
moisture controls on the rate of microbial decomposition of soil organic matter: 
preliminary results. AIMS Geoscience 5(4): 886–898. DOI: 10.3934/geosci.2019.4.886

Glausen, T.G.*, Tanner, L.H., 2019.  Successional trends and processes on a glacial foreland in Southern
Iceland studied by repeated species counts. Ecological Processes 8:11.

Tanner, L.H., Lucas, S.G., 2018. Pedogenic record of climate change across the Pennsylvanian-
Permian boundary in red-bed strata of the Cutler Group, northern New Mexico, USA.    
Sedimentary Geology 373: 98-110.  

Tanner, L.H., 2018. Climates of the Late Triassic: perspectives, proxies and problems. In: 
Tanner, L.H. (ed.), The Late Triassic World: Earth in a Time of Transition. Springer, 
Topics in Geobiology 46: 59-90.

Lucas, S.G., Tanner, L.H., 2018. The missing mass extinction at the Triassic-Jurassic 
boundary. In: Tanner, L.H. (ed.), The Late Triassic World: Earth in a Time of 
. Springer, Topics in Geobiology 46: 721-785.

Clutson, M.J., Brown, D.E., Tanner, L.H., 2018. Distal processes and effects of multiple 
Late Triassic terrestrial bolide impacts: Insights from the Norian Manicouagan event, 
northeastern Quebec, Canada  Tanner, L.H. (ed.), The Late Triassic World: Earth in 
a Time of Transition
. Springer, Topics in Geobiology 46: 127-187.

Lucas, S.G., Tanner, L.H., 2018. Record of the Carnian wet episode in strata of the Chinle 
Group, western USA. Journal of the Geological Society

Galli, G.K., Buchwaldt, R., Lucas, S.G., Tanner, L.H., 2018. New chemical abrasion thermal 
ionization mass spectrometry dates from the Brushy Basin Member, Morrison Formation,
Western Colorado: Implications for dinosaur evolution. Journal of Geology 126, DOI: 


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