- Dr. Chin's research investigates the structure and dynamics of ancient ecosystems--particularly those of the Mesozoic Era (the time period from around 66 to 250 million years ago). She is interested in how ancient communities of organisms differed from modern ecosystems in composition and organization. Much of her work focuses on tapping information available in mineralized coprolites (fossil feces), but she also examines other trace and body fossils. Dr. Chin studies these fossils to shed light on interactions among ancient organisms, and to decipher the environmental conditions in which the organisms lived and were fossilized. She uses a multidisciplinary approach by examining geological, biological, morphological and chemical characteristics of fossils, and compares the fossil evidence with modern ecosystems to derive paleoecological interpretations.