Ph.D. students

Andrei Ichaso Demianiuk

ProfilePics_AIchaso.pngI completed my undergrad studies in Geological Engineering at the “Universidad Central de Venezuela” in Caracas, Venezuela. Then I worked for almost 2 years at the Venezuelan Foundation of Seismological Research (FUNVISIS) assessing urban geological hazards, vulnerability and risks using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). I also participated as an assistant in paleoseismic trench investigation and regional geological mapping projects. In January 2014 I began an M.Sc. in Geological Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan focusing on establishing a depositional and sequence stratigraphy model for the Cambrian-Ordovician Deadwood Formation in Saskatchewan´s subsurface using stratigraphy, sedimentology and ichnology. In late 2015 the project was upgraded into a Ph.D. and the study area was expanded into Alberta, North Dakota and South Dakota. I started to become fond of ichnology when I learned of its importance in paleoenvironmental reconstruction and stratigraphic analysis and its applications in the oil industry.

Thesis: Stratigraphy, sedimentology and ichnology of the middle Cambrian to Early Ordovician Deadwood Formation in western Canada and the midwestern United States

Supervisors: Dr. Luis Buatois & Gabriela Mángano


Ichaso, A., Buatois, L., and Mángano, M. 2016. Transition from tide- to wave-dominated regimes in a middle Cambrian to Lower Ordovician seaway in southern Saskatchewan: Integrating ichnologic and sedimentologic datasets. Abstract submitted to Ichnia 2016: abstract book (2016): 260-261. UNESCO Geopark Naturtejo/International Ichnological Association, Castelo Branco.

Ichaso, A. 2011. Caracterización geológico-estratigráfica de la Formación Matatere en la región de Siquisique-Santa Inés-Santa Cruz de Bucaral, estados Lara y Falcón, Venezuela. Geos, UCV, 43(2012): 16 + 190 p. in DVD, folder 08.

Urbani, F., Grande, W., Reategui, W., Muñoz, P., Rodríguez, H., Ichaso, A., Mendi, D., and Baquero, M. 2012. Geología de la Ofiolita de Siquisique y unidades sedimentarias asociadas. Región de Siquisique-Mapararí, edos. Lara y Falcón, Venezuela. Boletin Geos 42 (2012):114-117.


Romain Gougeon

Ph.D. candidate


At the University of Rennes 1 (France), I completed a Bachelor in Biology and a Master in Palaeontology. During this latest, my research project on ichnology of the Precambrian-Cambrian limit of Brittany (France) led me to publish my first scientific papers. Following this growing interest, I contacted Drs. Gabriela Mángano and Luis Buatois from University of Saskatchewan (Canada) and presently work on trace fossils from the Cambrian GSSP in Newfoundland (Canada) as a Ph.D. student.

Thesis: Environmental controls on trace fossil distribution from the Ediacaran-Cambrian GSSP of Burin Peninsula, Newfoundland, Canada: integrating ichnologic and sedimentologic datasets to unravel early metazoan evolution.

Supervisors: Dr. M. Gabriela Mángano and Dr. Luis A. Buatois


Gougeon R.C., Mángano G.M., Buatois L.A., Narbonne G.M., Laing B.A. 2018. Early Cambrian origin of the shelf sediment mixed layer. Nature communications 9, 1-7.

Gougeon R., Néraudeau D., Dabard M.P., Pierson-Wieckmann A.C., Polette F., Poujol M., Saint-Martin J.P. 2018. Trace fossils from the Brioverian (Ediacaran-Fortunian) in Brittany (NW France). Ichnos 25, 14-24.

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Brittany Laing

Ph.D. candidate


During my time at Queen’s University (Kingston, Canada), I was introduced to ichnology by my undergraduate supervisor, Dr. Guy Narbonne. Increasingly, I was curious about the insights trace fossils can provide into evolution, be it of behaviour, environments, or body plans. This prompted me to pursue an M.Sc. at the University of Saskatchewan with Dr.’s Mángano, Buatois, and Narbonne (Queen’s) studying the ichnology at the Ediacaran and Cambrian GSSP in Newfoundland, which I completed in May 2018. Currently, I am pursuing a Ph.D. jointly supervised by Dr.’s Mángano and Buatois, as well as Dr. Brock from Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia).

Thesis: Earliest Cambrian bioturbation, ichnodiversity, and behaviour in Earth’s oldest animal ecosystem engineers from Australia.

Supervisors: Dr. M. Gabriela Mángano, Dr. Luis Buatois, and Dr. Glenn Brock (Macquarie University)


Laing, B.A., Mángano, M.G., Buatois, L.A., Narbonne, G.M., & Gougeon, R.C. (2019). A protracted Ediacaran-Cambrian transition: an ichnologic ecospace analysis of the Fortunian in Newfoundland, Canada. Geological Magazine. 156(9), 1623-1630. 10.1017/S0016756819000141

Laing, B.A., Buatois, L.A., Mángano, M.G., Narbonne, G.M., & Gougeon, R.C. (2018). Gyrolithes from the Ediacaran-Cambrian boundary section in Fortune Head, Newfoundland, Canada: Exploring the onset of complex burrowing. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 495, 171-185. 10.1016/j.palaeo.2018.01.010

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Fernando Valencia

Ph.d. candidate


I hold a B.Sc. in Geochemistry and a B.Sc. in Geological Engineering, both from the Central University of Venezuela (UCV). After my undergraduate studies, I worked as reservoir geologist in the oil and gas industry for more than 7 years, mostly in the world-class carbonate reservoir Perla field (the largest offshore-gas field in the Western Hemisphere). Recently, I earned an M.Sc. in Petroleum Geosciences at the Simon Bolivar University (USB), where I did an interesting research on carbonate diagenesis. My professional and academical experience working with carbonate systems increased my interest in trace fossils and their influence on the dynamic petrophysical behavior (porosity and permeability) in carbonate rocks and sediments, which is now the subject of my current Ph.D. project at the University of Saskatchewan.

Thesis: Bioturbation and its effects on porosity and permeability in carbonate rocks and sediments.

Supervisors: Dr. Luis Buatois and Dr. Juan C. Laya (Texas A&M University)


Valencia, F. & Laya, J.C. (2020) Deep-burial dissolution in an Oligocene-Miocene giant carbonate reservoir (Perla Limestone), Gulf of Venesuela Basin: Implications on microporosity development. Marine and Petroleum Geology113 (104144): 1-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2019.104144.

Valencia, F. and D’Alterio, F. (2014). Application of Isotope Geochemistry for the determination of Non-hydrocarbon gases origin in the Perla field, Sub-Block Cardon IV West, Gulf of Venezuela. Memories of the I Natural Gas Venezuelan Conference (ICVGAS). EX-14.

D’Alterio, F; Reveron, M.; Bertolo, F.; Maffioletti, F.; Sanseviero, R. and Valencia, F. (2013). Workflow for the construction of the static and dynamic model of the carbonate reservoir MIO-Perla-1, Perla field (Block Cardon IV West). SPE WVPS Second South American Oil and Gas Conference. SPE-WS-172.

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Kai Zhou

Ph.D. candidate

ProfilePics_KZhou.pngI did my master of geology and bachelor of geological engineering at the University of Saskatchewan and China University of Petroleum (Beijing) respectively. I am a carbonate sedimentologist, interested in mud-mound reefs particularly. I found ichnology a very powerful tool in the study of both sedimentology and evolutional geology after help Luis and Gabriela with tons of drawings and data organization in their ichnological papers. I would like to provide a detailed documentation and further understanding of trace fossils in the essentially underexplored carbonate systems from an ichnological perspective.

Thesis: Trace fossil distribution in shallow-marine carbonate sedimentary rocks, Miocene example in Las Negras area, southeastern Spain and a review of their Phanerozoic evolution in carbonate systems

Supervisors: Dr. Luis Buatois and Dr. M. Gabriela Mángano

Zhou, K. & Pratt, B. (in revision) Composition and origin of stromatactis-bearing mud-mounds (Upper Devonian, Frasnian), southern Rocky Mountains, western Canada. Sedimentology

Zhou, K. & Pratt, B. (in revision) Upper Devonian (Frasnian) stromatactis-bearing mud-mounds, western Alberta, Canada: Reef framework dominated by peloidal microcrystalline calcite. Journal of Sedimentary Research