Research Overview

My research interests centre around exploring patterns in macroevolution and macroecology through a phylogenetic framework. My work specifically focuses on Palaeozoic arthropods, with a particular focus on aquatic chelicerates (eurypterids and xiphosurans). I have a specific interest in applying phylogenetic methodologies to fossil groups, both in regard to resolving issues of arthropod systematics and in regard to tackling broader macroevolutionary questions, especially surrounding mass extinction events. My work combines phylogenetic and morphometric analyses to quantify patterns of morphological change in response to extinction events and subsequent recoveries, and compares changes in evolutionary rates and ecological preferences to search for selective patterns across these events and subsequent recoveries. With these data I am able to explore how different evolutionary lineages respond to different extinction forcing mechanisms. 

Aside from my work on eurypterids and macroevolutionary research, other research interests include: the importance of lagerstätten for informing on arthropod evolution; studying evidence for arthropod development in the fossil record and the role of heterochrony in arthropod evolution, including the importance of ontogenetic data for phylogenetic analyses and calculations of morphospace; the relationship between diversity, morphological disparity, and ecological variety; and the generality of ecological preferences across and within clades.

 

I am always interested in pursuing new collaborations. If you want to talk to me about a new avenue of research or have fossil material, feel free to contact me.

Mesolimulus  from Solnhofen in Germany.

Mesolimulus from Solnhofen in Germany.

Arthropod paleobiology

Bringing extinct organisms to life through specimen study, high detail imaging, and comparative zoology.

Diversity trends in eurypterids.

Diversity trends in eurypterids.

Macroevolution

Exploring the competing roles of evolutionary history and ecology in shaping the response of species to environmental changes.

Phylogeny of pterygotoid eurypterids.

Phylogeny of pterygotoid eurypterids.

Phylogenetics

Placing fossils on the tree of life through phylogenetic analysis, combining high resolution morphological data with parsimony and bayesian methods.