The National Science Foundation has awarded an $82,000 grant to University of Utah geologist Dr. A.A. Ekdale to study chalk and mudstone deposits on New Zealand's South Island.

Dr. Ekdale's research will focus on the preserved record of extinct sea-floor-dwelling animals that inhabited the sediment before its change into rock."These kinds of studies are valuable because the fossil record of animal activity provides geologists with a significant new dimension in understanding the history of life in ancient oceans," Ekdale said.

Dr. Ekdale has studied rocks in Utah, northern Europe and northern Africa, as well as the modern deep sea.