Hello, I am Dr. Carol Colaninno, research assistant professor at the STEM Center. I grew up in sunny Florida, spending as much time as humanly possible in the outdoors exploring the world around me, whether that was the longleaf pine forests or the bays of the Gulf of Mexico. This fostered my love for the environment and ecology. In 2003, I recognized that my love of ecology could be uniquely realized through archaeological research, and switched my major from engineering (I love math, too) to archaeology. In 2004, I graduate from the University of Florida with a B.A. in anthropology. After working for a cultural resource management firm for a year, I started my doctoral studies at the University of Georgia researching how people of the past used fish communities. To this day, I enjoy learning about the environment and ecology through archaeology, but now I am exploring the banks and backwaters of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers.
I have two main research foci: human-environmental interactions and archaeological education. As a zooarchaeologist, I am interested in understanding the ways people in the past used fish populations and communities. Further, I work with fish ecologists to understand how this human-fish interaction has changed through millennia. My work generally involves identifying osteological remains recovered from archaeological sites and comparing them with modern comparative skeletons of known taxonomic identification. My work has also led me to investigate the stable isotopic composition of bone collagen to understand how biochemistry of collagen in fishes and other organisms has changed over time. My other line of research is understanding how people teach and learn archaeological and other STEM topics. Much of this work has focused on building more student-focused, field-based research programs that incorporate a strong undergraduate research component. With archaeology so focused on field-based learning, I hope to best understand how to build field-based learning models that are safe, inclusive, and follow best practices in teaching and learning.
For more information about my research and publications, download my CV.