Dr. Thomas Hegna, Ph.D

Dr. Thomas Hegna, Ph.D

Dr. Thomas Hegna, Ph.D

Associate Professor (Department Coordinator)

118 Houghton Hall

(716) 673-3840

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Ph.D., Yale University

The Hegna Lab

Dr. Thomas Hegna grew up in western Iowa and attended the University of Iowa where he fell in love with invertebrate paleontology. He graduated in the spring of 2004 with honors and high distinction in Geoscience (B.S.) with minors in English and Philosophy.
Dr. Hegna stayed at the University of Iowa for his M.S., graduating in the fall of 2006 after completing a project on the systematics and phylogeny of a fauna of upper Cambrian trilobites. He then moved on to Yale University where he completed his thesis on branchiopod crustacean phylogeny and their fossil record in the spring of 2012. He taught at Western Illinois University from the fall of 2011 to the spring of 2019. In 2016, he was awarded the WIU Provost’s Excellence Award for Teaching with Technology.
During the summer of 2019, he moved to Fredonia to teach in the Geology & Environmental Sciences Department at SUNY Fredonia. He continues to study both the fossil record of trilobites and early crustaceans.
In the spring of 2022, he was awarded the William T. and Charlotte N. Hagen Young Scholar/Artist award at SUNY Fredonia for his outstanding record of scholarship. He has led two separate teams (one at WIU and another at SUNY Fredonia) that have received National Science Foundation grants for scanning electron microscopes. He has 40 published peer-reviewed papers and book chapters and nearly 90 conference presentations.

Office Hours

Tuesday: 9:00am-noon
Thursday: 9:00am-noon

Teaching Interests

The history of life
Invertebrate paleontology
Sedimentary geology
Critical thinking

Research Interests

Arthropod evolution and fossilization

Awards and Honors

  • William T. and Charlotte N. Hagan Young Scholar/Artist Award, SUNY Fredonia (2022).

Professional Membership

  • The Crustacean Society
  • Palaeontological Association
  • Paleontological Society

Intellectual Contributions

  • "A new genus and species of ?parthenogenic anostracan (Crustacea, Branchiopoda, ?Thamnocephalidae) from the Cretaceous Koonwarra Fossil Beds in Australia," Alchergina (2022).
  • "Amphipoda from the Late Neogene of Shanxi, China," Palaeoentomology (2021).
  • "A redescription of the clam shrimp, Orthestheria shupei (Stephenson, in Stephenson & Stenzel, 1952) comb. nov., from the Cenomanian (Cretaceous) of Texas," Cretaceous Research (2021).
  • "Raman spectroscopic analysis of clam shrimp carapace composition (Laevicaudata, Spinicaudata, Cyclestherida): A dual calcium phosphate-calcium carbonate composition," Journal of Crustacean Biology (2020).
  • ""Branchiopoda" Pages 587-593. In K. de Queiroz, P. D. Cantino, and J. Gauthier (eds.) Phylonyms: a Companion to the PhyloCode," Routledge Taylor and Francis Group (2020).
  • ""The Fossil Record of the Pancrustacea." Pages 21-52. In G. Poore and M. Thiel (eds.): Evolution and Biogeography, volume VIII of the series The Natural History of the Crustacea. ," Oxford University Press (2020).
  • "Raman spectroscopic analysis of the composition of clam shrimp (Laevicaudata, Spinicaudata, Cyclestherida) carapaces: A dual calcium phosphate-calcium carbonate composition," Journal of Crustacean Biology (2020).
  • "The Fossil Record of Clam Shrimp (Crustacea; Branchiopoda)," Zoological Studies (2020).
  • "A new fossil talitrid amphipod from the Lower Early Miocene Chiapas amber documented with microCT scanning," Journal of South American Earth Sciences (2020).

Media Contributions

  • "100 million-year-old fairy shrimp reproduced without sex (rare fossils reveal" LiveScience (2022).


  • "A fossil and phylogenetic perspective on marine-freshwater and freshwater-marine transitions in branchiopod crustaceans," Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (2022).
  • "Species, Vague Boundaries, and Biodiversity: Reframing Woodger’s Paradox," William T. and Charlotte N. Hagan Young Scholar/Artist Award Ceremony (2022).
  • "Species, Vague Boundaries, and Reframing Woodger's Paradox," The Future of the Past: Philosophical Issues in the "Historical Sciences" (2022).
  • "The taxonomy of Orthestheria shupei (Stephenson, in Stephenson & Stenzel, 1952) from the Cenomanian (Cretaceous) of Texas," 64th Annual Meeting of the Palaeontological Association, Oxford, UK, Dec. 16-18 (2020).
  • "Lineage-thinking, or the conceptual non-necessity of species and its implications," Paleontological Research Institution’s Summer Symposium, August 2019. (2019).