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Palaeobiology and Palaeoecology

Academic Staff involved in this discipline:
Professor Nicholas Butterfield, Professor Simon Conway Morris, Dr Ken McNamara and Dr David Norman.

Research Staff involved in this discipline:
Dr Romain Guilbaud, Dr Liz Harper, Dr Jen F. Hoyal Cuthill, Dr Javier Ortega-Hernández, Dr Ben J. Slater and Dr Martin R. Smith.

Research Students involved in this discipline:
Mr Peter W. Adamson, Mr Matthew Baron, Miss Charlotte Kenchington, Luca Telesca, Mr Nickolas Wiggan and Miss Megan Williams and Mr Collin van Buren.

Deinonychus
Deinonychus
A focus of our research is the Cambrian "explosion," arguably the greatest transition in the history of life, a better appreciation of which will improve our understanding of the broader aspects of the evolutionary process. Our approach involves novel interrogation of the early fossil record combined with leading-edge phylogenetic and morphometric techniques, and recognition of the powerful interplay between biological and planetary evolution. We are also a major centre for vertebrate palaeontology, again integrating biology (e.g. functional biology) and geology (e.g. plate tectonics and palaeobiogeography).

Community Structure, Evolution and Organismal Interaction

  • The early evolution of eukaryotes, multicellularity and heterotrophy, particularly as they relate to ecological expansion through the Proterozoic and early Cambrian.
  • ‘Ecosystem engineering' feedback effects of biological evolution.
  • Ediacaran and Cambrian (especially Burgess Shale-type) faunas.
  • The evolution and palaeobiology of archosaurian reptiles.
  • Predator-prey interactions in marine communities.
  • Systematics and phylogeny of trilobites, early arthropods and ecdysozoans.
  • Recent and fossil bivalves with an eye to reconstructing their evolutionary history.
  • The mechanisms and palaeobiological implications of exceptional fossil preservation.
  • The development of combined phylogenetic and palaeobiogeographic techniques.
  • Convergence and contingency in biological evolution.

We welcome applications from students with backgrounds in geology, zoology, biology and, when appropriate, physics or biomathematics.

Recent publications in this area.

 

Page updated: 17 Feb 2016

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An international team of scientists is traveling to the islands of Papua New Guinea this September to study degassing from active volcanoes in remote jungles there. Some of these volcanoes are among the most active on Earth, ejecting a significant proportion of global volcanic gases into the atmosphere.

Mistaken Point - Canada's 10th geological World Heritage Site

Aug 02, 2016

The ancient rugged coastline of Mistaken Point on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula face the winds and waves of the Atlantic Ocean. It can be a difficult place to work, but nevertheless it has been a mecca for geologists for over several decades now.

An underestimated Kevan

Jul 21, 2016

Douglas Palmer on the Sedgwick Museum’s giant Pliosaurus cf. kevani in the latest edition of Geoscientist

Oesia – a new tube worm from deep Cambrian times

Jul 21, 2016

Collections up close, Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences

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