Palaeobiology and Palaeoecology
A focus of our research in this area is the Cambrian "explosion", arguably the greatest transition in the history of life, a better appreciation of this event will improve our understanding of the broader aspects of evolution. We aim to achieve this via provocative analyses of the origin of phyla and also of the wider context of earth history from one billion years ago on-wards. We are a major focus for the topical area of vertebrate palaeontology, again integrating biology (e.g. functional biology) and geology (e.g. plate tectonics and palaeobiogeography). Embedded in an Earth Sciences Department we straddle earth sciences and biology. In particular, we aim to investigate whether, evolution is open-ended and indeterminate, or as we argue highly constrained by physico-chemical factors.
Community Structure, Evolution and Organismal Interaction
- The early evolution of sex, multicellularity and heterotrophy, particularly as they relate to ecological expansion through the Proterozoic and early Cambrian.
- Ediacaran faunas.
- Predator: prey interactions in marine communities.
- The evolution and palaeobiology of archosaurian reptiles.
- Morphometric analysis of evolution and development in mammals.
Taxon-Based Investigation - Hetrochrony and its Evolutionary Implications
- Proterozoic & Cambrian (Burgess Shale-like) organisms.
- Recent and fossil bivalves in an attempt to unravel evolutionary history of the group in particular to understand their adaptive radiations.
- Dinosaur anatomy, evolution and functional morphology.
- Trilobite evolution and mass extinctions.
- Sequence heterochrony and the marsupial-placental dichotomy.
Systematics and Evolution
- Anatomical novelty in the Neoproterozoic and early Cambrian and their connections to molecular biology
- Marine mass-extinctions (especially Devonian).
- Systematics and phylogeny of trilobites.
- Systematics and phylogeny of dinosaurs.
- The use of evolutionary trees to detect macroevolutionary patterns.
- The development of combined phylogenetic and palaeobiogeographic techniques.
- Mesozoic vertebrate palaeontology of India.
Engineering Design in Fossil Form
- Computer-driven engineering design (Finite Elements) is being used to model and investigate form-function relationships in carnivorous synapsids and dinosaur.
We welcome applications from students with backgrounds in geology, zoology, biology and, when appropriate, physics or biomathematics.
Last updated on 28-Oct-11 09:56