Academic Research

Manuels River has been an outdoor laboratory for academic research for many decades. The bedrock and fossils draw researchers here from around the world. Interested in researching the geology, biology, or paleontology of Manuels River? Please contact for more information about how we may be able to provide advice and support for your project.


Dr. Riccardo Levi-Setti

Dr. Riccardo Levi-Setti, Ph.D. is a world-renowned physicist and fossil expert from the University of Chicago who began his research on the Manuels River fossil bed in 1973. He found many Paradoxides trilobite fossils in the shale cliffs near Martha’s Place. In 1974, he co-discovered a giant trilobite subspecies Paradoxides davidis trapezopyge with his Swedish colleague Jan Bergström.


Dr. Levi-Setti has written two beautiful books about trilobites:

Trilobites” (1st and 2nd editions). The University of Chicago Press, 1975 and 1993 (currently out of print, but you may consult our copy in the Centre).

The Trilobite Book: A Visual Journey“. The University of Chicago Press, 2014. (Hardcover and full colour). Currently for sale in our boutique.

and written many interesting papers about trilobites including this excellent (and award-winning) review about the eyes and visual systems of different trilobite groups:

Clarkson, Levi-Setti, and Horvath (2006) ASD


The majority of trilobite fossils in our exhibits were kindly donated by Dr. Levi-Setti and his contribution to our centre is recognized throughout our exhibits with not only a video of him digging for trilobites, but three photos plus a painting of him! He still lives in Chicago but returns to the Centre some summers and will sign copies of his books at the Centre. Sign up for our newsletter or like us on Facebook to stay informed of his next visit.

For more information on Dr. Riccardo Levi-Setti check out the articles below and come visit our exhibits to see his fossils!

Dr. Levi-Setti wins award for trilobite paper

History of Dr. Levi-Setti at Manuels River 

Dr. Levi-Setti won the 2008 Sternberg Medal

Reviews for “The Trilobite Book”


Current scientific research

Scientific researchers (graduate students currently completing their PhDs) from the Institute of Earth Sciences at the Heidelberg University in Germany are researching the fossils of Manuels River. We have also hosted Master’s and Bachelor’s theses students as well. You can read more about this research here.

Anne Hildenbrand researched the small shelly fossils of the Middle Cambrian Manuels River Formation (see her poster here) and Gregor Austermann worked on growth-line analysis of the Middle Cambrian brachiopod Vandalotreta djagoran from the Manuels River Formation (see his poster here). Anne and Gregor’s PhD theses will soon be available as well.

Manuels River is also host to a portion of the Heidelberg University graduate field course in paleontology and paleoecology and welcomes these students to learn more about our trilobites and other fossils each summer in August.


Future scientific research

Dr. Rod Taylor, one of our Lead Science Interpreters, has recently been appointed as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Memorial University of Newfoundland.  He is planning to work in collaboration with researchers from the Institute of Earth Sciences at the Heidelberg University on the taxonomy of the Middle Cambrian trilobites found on the River.


Past research in the area

We are building our collection of historic Manuels River publications and will be putting more online as we discover them. Manuels River was formerly known as Manuels Brook, and thus many of the older papers are more easily found using this search term. At least 50 papers just concerning paleontology have been published about Manuels River!


Larval Black Flies of the Avalon Peninsula – McCreadie et al., Annals of the Entomological Society of America 1995

Mosquitos of Newfoundland – Pickavance et al., Canadian Journal of Zoology 1970




Correlating the zones of Paradoxides trilobites – Fletcher, M.A.A.P., 2007

Middle Cambrian trilobites from the Upper Chamberlain’s Brook Formation – Kim et al. Journal of Paleontology 2002

Upper Cambrian Cyclotron ostracod fossils – Williams et al., TRSE: Earth Sciences, 1994

Middle-Upper Cambrian trilobite species in Newfoundland – Poulson and Anderson, Can J. Earth Sci., 1975